Government Shutdown and NICS

With the looming government shutdown one interesting question that has been going around the gun community is whether or not the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) will be operational. This is an interesting question to which no answer appears to be in sight. Personally I doubt the NICS systems will be offline as even in a government shutdown law enforcement agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) will continue running (and our soldiers will be expected to continue working even though they won’t be receiving paychecks, how’s that for a stab in the back).

With that said part of me would almost welcome a shutdown of NICS. Why? Because it would open the door for questioning whether or not NICS is at all constitutional. There are two possibilities that could occur if NICS were to shut down; gun stores would be unable to sell firearms or all firearms sales would go through after three days (if NICS doesn’t get back to a dealer in three days the owner can treat it as an automatic approval). In the first case having a non-operational NICS system would effectively bar people their right to keep and bear arms by effectively creating a blanket gun ban for the time of government shutdown. In the second case ineligible people may acquire firearms placing the question as to whether or not the NICS system is worth anything on the table.

I could see grounds for a lawsuit if the NICS system was shutdown preventing somebody who needed a firearm to self-defense from obtaining it.