FBI Fixes Computer Glitch Allowing Gun Sales to Resume

July 7, 2008 - 7:02 PM

(CNSNEWS.com) - A software problem that impacted FBI computers and brought a halt to gun sales nationwide for three days has been corrected, according to a spokesman for the federal law enforcement agency on Monday.

The FBI's Interstate Identification Index, located at the agency's Criminal Information Center in Clarksburg, WVA, a database that contains the criminal records of an estimated 36 million Americans, ceased working on Thursday and brought virtually all guns sales nationwide to a halt.

The software glitch prevented the completion of background checks required under the Brady Law. The legislation was named for former Reagan Press Secretary James Brady who was shot during the assassination attempted on the former president by John Hinckley.

The software failure made it impossible for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to check for past felony convictions. Such convictions serve to bar people from buying a gun.

When the system is operational, 72 percent of the gun purchases are approved within 30 seconds, according to the FBI.

The FBI's automated fingerprint system was also out of operation as the result of the software failure.

Without the ability to carry out the checks, customers were told they must wait for their weapons until the computer system was again operational.