A House judiciary committee took up a bill Wednesday that would clarify that court clerks don’t have the authority to determine what information is sent to the National Instant Criminal Background check system.
Bill sponsor Sen. Shirley Randleman, a Wilkesboro Republican, said that while there has not been any particular issue with clerks sending the wrong information to NICS, the wording of a law passed last session was not clear enough. Senate Bill 89 is meant to fix that.
State law “directs the clerk of superior court to determine which information can practicably be transmitted to the NICS every time a court orders, or a judge makes findings, that a gun permit applicant is disqualified.”
The statute outlines offenses that would disqualify someone from obtaining a gun permit and requires the clerk to send that information to NICS within 48 hours.
Randleman said the language of the law did not clarify well enough that the clerks have no discretion in the information they submit to NICS. The NICS sets the guidelines for what information it requires and in which format it should be sent.
“The way the language is worded, we are directing each one of those 100 clerks in the state to ‘determine’ what information needs to be entered into NICS, which isn’t necessary,” she said.
Senate Bill 89 also directs the Administrative Office of the Court and the State Bureau of Investigation to work with NICS to determine any additional information that could feasibly be reported by court clerks to the national background check system.
Both the AOC and SBI are instructed to report back to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee of Justice and Public Safety with their findings by March 1, 2016.
The House Judiciary I committee gave SB 89 unanimous support, and it will go before the full House next.