What Is A NICS Appeal and How Does It Differ From A NICS Voluntary Appeal File?

What Is A NICS Appeal and How Does It Differ From A NICS Voluntary Appeal File?

NICS Appeal


The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) mains a system, National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), that examines whether an individual is eligible to purchase or possess a firearm. The system will include items such as your identification, address, past criminal convictions that may disqualify you, any information related to whether you have been involuntarily committed into a psychiatric facility, or whether you may have a protection order against you. When an individual tries to purchase a firearm, the Federal Firearm Licensed (FFL) Dealer will send your information to the NICS database. When this happens, if you have any number of various disqualifying items in your record, your purchase will be flagged and subsequently died, preventing you from completing the transaction.

When you are denied your right to purchase the firearm, we are able to help you appeal that decision, and look into your records to determine what the issue may be so that we can address those issues so prevent you from being denied in the future. That is simply referred to as a NICS appeal – an appeal of the initial decision denying your request to purchase a firearm.

A NICS voluntary appeals file is a bit different. The FBI does not keep permanent records of everything and so even if you successfully appeal their decision and are able to purchase a firearm, the evidence you provided to prove your right to possession firearms is not maintained by the FBI and it is subsequently purged from their system, creating the future possibility of have the same issue next time you want to purchase a firearm. Even if you are initially approved to purchase a firearm, over the next month or so, the ATF will be looking into your background to determine whether you actually were eligible. If they find you are not, they may show up to your house and demand you to surrender that firearm to them. This is not only potentially embarrassing, but can be very unsettling as well. To prevent these issues from occurring, you can have them maintain these documents that you used as evidence to prove your eligibility to possess firearms, i.e. a NICS voluntary appeals file, or VAF.

The attorneys at the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer and RestoreMyRecord strongly support everyone’s Constitutional rights to keep and bear arms. Unfortunately, when the government decides to infringe upon that which “Shall not be infringed,” navigating the system can be cumbersome and confusing. Luckily our attorneys have helped clients resolve over 1000 Second-Amendment-related issues, including: petitions to restore a person’s firearm possession rights, NICS appeals, NICS voluntary appeal files, clearing up issues with their NICS record, and filing for a concealed carry license. Additionally, we have also helped clients get rid of non-conviction data, protection orders, and vacated past convictions, and other items related to potential disqualification through NICS.