July 16, 2021

Rep. Neguse Gets Answers from the FBI on April 2019 Sol Pais Incident in Colorado

Neguse-requested FBI report finds holes in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System that may have led to the oversight

Washington D.C.— A report requested by Congressman Joe Neguse to investigate the National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) point of contact system and answer questions surrounding an April 2019 incident in Colorado was released this week. Congressman Neguse sent a bipartisan letter  to the DOJ Inspector General in July 2019, shortly after a Floridian woman traveled to Colorado and was able topurchase a gun she would not have been eligible to purchase in her home state. The report finds that the NICS background check system doesn’t automatically verify whether out-of-state gun buyers also meet the age eligibility in their home state. The report also states that the FBI will begin considering possible changes in the NICS system to catch age disparities.

“The April 2019 incident that led schools across the Front Range to be shut down was deeply frightening for our communities. We’ve been working to find answers as to how this incident was able to happen and to fix holes in the background check system to ensure nothing like this can happen again,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “I am incredibly grateful to the FBI for heeding our request and completing this audit into Colorado’s point of contact system. The report’s findings give us insight into how these failures can be addressed so we can implement regulatory and legislative changes to better protect our communities in the future.”  

Colorado, like several other states, serves as a state POC and conducts background checks using state and federal records and databases. While use of state records in addition to federal records should, in theory, make a state POC check more thorough than a federal FBI check, studies have shown that a larger number of individuals failed a federal background check than state POC background checks. A 2018 Government Accountability Office report found there were approximately 112,000 denials on approximately 8.6 million FBI background checks in fiscal year 2017, but only approximately 69,000 denials on approximately 17 million POC background checks.