The government shutdown that went into effect at midnight on Saturday won’t affect gun background checks, as the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) will continue to operate.
As the New York Times reports, multiple parts of the federal government are affected by the shutdown, including the IRS, which sent home nearly 45,500 employees, and Health and Human Services Department, which furloughed half of its over 80,000 employees. But 95,000 out of nearly 115,000 staff in the Justice Department will continue to work because they deal in public safety and national security, Reuters said.
The FBI is under the umbrella of the Justice Department. Here’s the DOJ’s plan for the agency in the event of a shutdown, according to Bloomberg:
“Excepted personnel are needed because all operations of the FBI are directed toward national security and investigations of violations of law involving protection of life and property. Thus, the FBI must be able to continue existing investigations, open new investigations, and respond to all contingencies which might arise during a lapse of appropriations.”
The essential personnel, the DOJ says, includes “in the Criminal Justice Information Services Division, which provides fingerprint identification services to criminal and national security investigations, and the Records Management Division, which provides name check services to criminal and national security investigations. Excepted personnel also include nearly all federal employees supporting the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).”
Basically the NICS, and therefore gun buys, likely won’t be affected by the government shutdown, which is entering its third day and might end today if the Senate votes at noon to pass a measure that would fund the feds through early February, the New York Daily News reported.