The NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007, Pub.
110-180 (NIAA or the Act), was signed into law on January 8, 2008, in the wake of the April 2007 shooting tragedy at Virginia Tech.
The Virginia Tech shooter was able to purchase firearms from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL)
because information about his prohibiting mental health history was not available to the NICS, and the system was therefore unable to deny the transfer of the firearms used in the shootings.
The NIAA seeks to address the gap in information available to NICS about such prohibiting mental health adjudications and commitments, and other prohibiting factors.
Filling these information gaps will better enable the system to operate as intended to keep guns out of the hands of persons prohibited by federal or state law from receiving or possessing firearms.
The automation of records will also reduce delays for law-abiding persons to purchase firearms.
The NIAA authorized a grant program to assist states in providing certain information to the NICS and prescribes grant penalties for noncompliance with the NIAA’s record completeness goals.
Additionally, pursuant to the Act, there are certain conditions, described under “Eligibility,” that a state must satisfy in advance of receiving grants under the Act.