BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
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Home  | Data Collection Detail
Data Collection: Firearm Inquiry Statistics (FIST) program
Status: Active
Frequency: Annually since 1994
Latest data available: 2017

The Firearm Inquiry Statistics (FIST) program collects information on firearm applications and denials and combines this information with the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) transaction data to produce an estimated number of background checks for firearm transfers or permits since the effective date of the Brady Act in 1994. Findings describe trends in background check activities and report data on the number of firearm transaction applications processed by the FBI and by state and local agencies, the number of applications denied, reasons for denial, and estimates of applications by jurisdiction and by each type of approval system.

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Data Experts

  • Connor Brooks, BJS Statistician (Email this expert)
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    Collection Period

    Annual

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    Methodology

    The Firearm Inquiry Statistics (FIST) program collects data from state agencies that conduct background checks or compile data from local checking agencies, local agencies that conduct background checks or track applications but do not report to a state agency, and the FBI.

    In the 2017 data collection, more than one source was used for 32 states. FIST obtained counts of background checks for firearm transfers from the FBI and state reporters. In 2017, FIST conducted a census of local reporting agencies in ten states and collected data from a sample of local reporting agencies in three states.

    In 2017, the overall response rate was 83%, with 97% of state agency reporters and 83% of local agency reporters responding to the survey.

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    Publications & Products

    The following publications and products were generated by BJS using data from this collection.

    Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2016-2017 This report is the sixteenth in a series produced by BJS on background checks for firearm transfers and permits.
      Summary (PDF 199K) | Full report (PDF 552K) | Data tables (Zip format 22K)
    Part of the Background Checks for Firearm Transfers Series

    Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2015 - Statistical Tables Describes background checks for firearms transfers conducted in 2015 and presents estimates of firearm applications received and denied annually since the effective date of the Brady Act in 1994 through 2015.
      Full report (PDF 477K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 39K)
    Part of the Background Checks for Firearm Transfers Series

    Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2013-2014 - Statistical Tables Describes background checks for firearm transfers conducted in 2014, including partial data for 2013, and presents estimates of firearm applications received and denied annually since the effective date of the Brady Act through 2014.
      Full report (PDF 795K) | ASCII file (55K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 9K)
    Part of the Background Checks for Firearm Transfers Series

    Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2012 - Statistical Tables Describes background checks for firearm transfers conducted in 2012. These statistical tables provide the estimated number of firearm applications and denials since the inception of the Brady Act in 1994 through 2012.
      Full report (PDF 1.2M) | ASCII file (23K) | Comma-delimited format (csv) (Zip format 63K)
    Part of the Background Checks for Firearm Transfers Series

    Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2009 - Statistical Tables Describes background checks for firearm transfers conducted in 2009.
      HTML | Full report (PDF 255K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 16K)
    Part of the Background Checks for Firearm Transfers Series

    Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2008 - Statistical Tables This web page describes background checks for firearm transfers conducted in 2008.
      HTML | PDF (141K)
    Part of the Background Checks for Firearm Transfers Series

    Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2007 - Statistical Tables This web page describes background checks for firearm transfers conducted in 2007.
      HTML | PDF (341K)
    Part of the Background Checks for Firearm Transfers Series

    Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2006 - Statistical Tables This web page describes background checks for firearm transfers conducted in 2006.
      HTML | Full report (PDF 4K)
    Part of the Background Checks for Firearm Transfers Series

    Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2005 Describes background checks for firearm transfers conducted in 2005.
      Full report (PDF 701K) | ASCII file (32K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 17K) | To order paper version
    Part of the Background Checks for Firearm Transfers Series

    Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2004 Describes background checks for firearm transfers conducted in 2004.
      Full report (PDF 143K) | ASCII file (40K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 14K) | To order paper version
    Part of the Background Checks for Firearm Transfers Series

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    Related Topics

  • Criminal Justice Data Improvement Program
  • Criminal Justice Data Improvement Program | The NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007
  • Criminal Justice Data Improvement Program | National Criminal History Improvement Program | Special projects/collections
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