(CNSNews.com) – U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday that the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) performed over 23 million gun background checks in fiscal year 2015 and a 3 million requests in December alone – the highest number of monthly requests since after the Sandy Hook shooting massacre in December 2012.
“Essentially, for fiscal year 2015, NICS performed over 23 million background checks. That number is increasing. In just this December alone, they received over 3 million requests. That’s the highest number of requests on a monthly basis since the month after the Sandy Hook shooting,” said Lynch.
Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.) asked Lynch what appropriations will be necessary for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to complete its goals as it relates to NICS and the growing number of applications as well as “the increased coordination that we want to see to make sure that we have all of the records uploaded on that system.”
Lynch said the DOJ estimates it would need $121 million to run NICS for fiscal year 2016 and an additional $35 million for fiscal year 2017 “on top of that base figure.”
“For FY 2016, our estimates are that we would need $121 million to run NICS. We’re asking for an additional $35 million for the Fiscal Year 2017 on top of that base figure,” said Lynch.
“That would allow us to maintain the additional positions we hope to add this year. We may not be able to add all of them right away. As I indicated, there is time required to bring federal employees on board,” said Lynch.
“It would also help us improve the electronic platform of NICS. Our goal is to have the NICS system operational on a 24-hour, seven day a week basis by the end of this year. That will require a great deal of informational technology investment and support, but that is our goal,” she said.
“And for those whose focus is simply on enforcing law, that request is based upon your belief that you need that level of appropriations in order to enforce the law that’s on the books today?” Murphy asked.
“That is correct, senator. In order to provide for the accurate and efficient operation of the NICS within the three-day period that has been set forth by Congress, in order to allow us to process the applications in a timely fashion and provide the information that dealers request, that is the basis for this request,” said Lynch.