On January 8, 2011, a horrific act of violence committed in Tucson left Federal District Court Judge John Roll, Gabe Zimmerman, Christina-Taylor Green, Dot Morris, Phyllis Schneck, and Dorwan Stoddard without life. Another 14 were injured, including former United States Representatives Gabrielle Giffords and Ron Barber. The shooter suffering from mental health and substance abuse issues exhibited observable behaviors prior to the shooting. Since 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control, Arizona’s gun death rate has been approximately 25% above the national average. Approximately 70% are suicides and our Native American and African American communities are statistically overrepresented among homicide victims.
Arizona stakeholders, led by the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission (ACJC), had been working to address the issue of improving records submitted to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), Arizona, and Federal Criminal Justice databases. The January 2011 horrific event, and our continuing problem with gun violence, has been a catalyst for Arizona policymakers to dedicate additional attention to the improvement of mental health, criminal history, and domestic violence information reporting to NICS and other State and Federal systems.
In March 2013, the Arizona NICS Task Force published the Arizona NICS Act Reporting Improvement Plan (NARIP) with a total of 30 Recommendations. Since the release, nine additional recommendations were provided by the Commission and have been adopted by the Task Force. Action Steps and Performance Measures have been developed, implemented, and assessed, to ensure continued progress on all NICS categories specifically focused on legislation, executive policy, and court rule changes to improve criminal history and enhanced reporting to NICS. On April 22, 2020, ACJC released the Arizona NICS Task Force’s 2020- 2025 NARIP, the first updated and revised version of the original March 2013 Arizona NICS Task Force NARIP.
For more information on NICS initiatives and resources:
July 2020 NICS ACT Record Improvement Program
March 2013 NICS ACT Record Improvement Program
House Bill 2322 created to improve Arizona reporting to NICS
ACJC’s NICS Improvement Bill Signed by Governor
New Arizona law part of gun-violence solution
Link to the FBI NICS web-site for additional information about firearm background checks