U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
05/14/18 11:59 PM ET
Grants to USA and territories state and tribal government agencies to enhance the automation, transmittal, and completeness of records for the purposes of criminal background checks. Applicants are advised to create or verify the required registrations prior to applying.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) is publishing this notice to announce the continuation of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Act Record Improvement Program (NARIP) in fiscal year (FY) 2018, identify the program priorities, and provide information on application requirements.
The NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (Pub. L. 110-180), codified at 34 U.S.C. §40912 (NIAA), was signed into law on January 8, 2008, in the wake of the April 2007 shooting tragedy at Virginia Tech. The Virginia Tech shooter was able to purchase firearms from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) because information about his prohibiting mental health history was not available to the NICS, and the system was therefore unable to deny the transfer of the firearms used in the shootings. The NIAA seeks to address the gap in information available to NICS about such prohibiting mental health adjudications and commitments, and other prohibiting factors. Filling these information gaps will better enable the system to operate as intended to keep guns out of the hands of persons prohibited by federal or state law from receiving or possessing firearms. The automation of records also reduces delays for law-abiding persons to purchase firearms.
The NIAA authorized a grant program to assist states in providing certain information to the NICS and prescribes grant penalties for noncompliance with the NIAA’s record completeness goals. Additionally, pursuant to the Act, there are certain conditions, described under Section C. Eligibility Information, that a state must satisfy in advance of receiving grants under the Act.
Pursuant to 34 U.S.C. §10132(c)(19), BJS is authorized to “provide for improvements in the accuracy, quality, timeliness, immediate accessibility, and integration of state and tribal criminal history and related records, support the development and enhancement of national systems of criminal history and related records including the [NICS], the National Incident-Based Reporting System [(NIBRS)], and the records of the National Crime Information Center [(NCIC)], facilitate state and tribal participation in national records and information systems, and support statistical research for critical analysis of the improvement and utilization of criminal history records.” The National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP) and the NARIP are two means by which BJS provides for such improvements.
The NARIP is authorized by the NIAA. Among other things, the NIAA provides that grants are to be made in a manner consistent with NCHIP. Therefore, NARIP application procedures parallel the provisions of the Crime Identification Technology Act of 1998 (CITA) (34 U.S.C. § 40301), which guide the NCHIP.
Goals, Objectives, and Deliverables:
The NIAA has provisions that require states to meet specific goals for completeness of the records submitted to the Attorney General identifying individuals prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms. The records include automated information needed by the NICS to identify felony convictions, felony indictments, fugitives from justice, drug arrests and convictions, prohibiting mental health adjudications and commitments, domestic violence protection orders, and misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence.
The NARIP was developed to improve the completeness, automation, and transmittal of records to state and federal systems used by the NICS. Such records include criminal history records, records of felony convictions, warrants, records of protective orders, convictions for misdemeanors involving domestic violence and stalking, drug arrests and convictions, records of mental health adjudications, and other information that may disqualify an individual from possessing or receiving a firearm under federal law. Helping states, state court systems, and tribes to automate these records will also reduce delays for law-abiding gun purchasers.
FY 2018 Priority Area—Improve Identification and Reporting of Convictions of Domestic Violence to the NICS:
This year, BJS emphasizes the need for applicants to focus efforts on identifying, flagging, and making immediately accessible to NICS records of persons prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms for domestic violence convictions. Therefore, recipients must agree to use a portion of awarded funds to make such records accessible to NICS, unless the state certifies in the application that it—
1) already makes available to NICS information on all persons prohibited from possessing firearms due to a domestic violence conviction; or
2) will focus funds on another category of qualifying NICS records that the state reasonably argues represents a greater information gap.
Section 103 of the NIAA provides that the grants “shall be used by the States and Indian tribal governments, in conjunction with units of local government and State and local courts, to establish or upgrade information and identification technologies for firearms eligibility determinations.” In accordance with the NIAA, a grant to a state, territory, or Indian tribe may only be used to—
-Supply accurate and timely information to the Attorney General concerning the identity of persons who have a federally prohibiting mental health adjudication or commitment
-Create electronic systems that provide accurate and up-to-date information directly related to checks under the NICS, including court disposition and corrections records
-Assist states in establishing or enhancing their own capacities to perform NICS background checks
-Supply accurate and timely information to the Attorney General concerning final dispositions of criminal records to databases accessed by NICS
-Supply accurate and timely court orders and records of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence for inclusion in federal and state law enforcement databases used to conduct NICS background checks
-Collect and analyze data needed to demonstrate levels of state compliance with the NIAA
-Maintain the required relief from disabilities program in accordance with the NIAA (however, by statute, not less than 3% and no more than 10% of each grant shall be used for this purpose).
State Court Grants:
Section 301 of the NIAA provides that grants shall be made to each state or tribal government, consistent with plans for the integration, automation, and accessibility of criminal history records, for use by the court systems to improve automation and transmittal to federal and state repositories of: (1) criminal history dispositions; (2) records relevant to determining whether a person has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence or whether a person is a subject of a prohibiting domestic violence protection order; and (3) prohibiting mental health adjudications and commitments.
Further, the law provides that the amounts granted shall be used by the court system only to implement—
-Assessments, as necessary, of the capabilities of state courts to automate and transmit arrest and conviction records, court orders, and mental health adjudications or commitments to federal and state record repositories
-Policies, systems, and procedures to automate and transmit arrest and conviction records, court orders, and mental health adjudications or commitments to federal and state record repositories.
Information Regarding Potential Evaluation of Programs and Activities:
The Department of Justice has prioritized the use of evidence-based programming and deems it critical to continue to build and expand the evidence informing criminal and juvenile justice programs to reach the highest level of rigor possible. Therefore, applicants should note that the Office of Justice Programs may conduct or support an evaluation of the programs and activities funded under this solicitation. Recipients and sub-recipients will be expected to cooperate with program-related assessments or evaluation efforts, including through the collection and provision of information or data requested by OJP (or its designee) for the assessment or evaluation of any activities and/or outcomes of those activities funded under this solicitation. The information or data requested may be in addition to any other financial or performance data already required under this program.
GrantWatch ID#: 152695
Expected Number of Awards: 28
FY 2018 NARIP awards will be new awards, rather than supplemental awards, and will be made for a performance period from 12 to 24 months. Funded activities may begin on or after October 1, 2017. All activities must be scheduled to be completed by December 31, 2020.
Eligible applicants are limited to (a) the agency designated by the Governor to administer the National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP), (b) the state or territory central administrative office or similar entity designated by statute or regulation to administer federal grant funds on behalf of the jurisdiction’s court system, or (c) federally recognized Indian tribal governments as determined by the Secretary of the Interior.
BJS welcomes applications under which two or more entities would carry out the federal award; however, only one entity may be the applicant. Any others must be proposed as subrecipients (subgrantees). The applicant must be the entity that would have primary responsibility for carrying out the award, including administering the funding and managing the entire project. Under this solicitation, only one application by any particular applicant entity will be considered. An entity may, however, be proposed as a subrecipient (subgrantee) in more than one application.
Note: In accordance with the NIAA, there are two specific conditions that each state must satisfy before being eligible to receive grants:
1. First, “each State shall provide the Attorney General with a reasonable estimate, as calculated by a method determined by the Attorney General...of the number of the records” subject to the NIAA completeness requirements. The last round of estimates was collected in 2011. Applicants under this solicitation should confirm with BJS whether this eligibility criteria has been met.
2. Second, “to be eligible for a grant under this [program], a State shall certify, to the satisfaction of the Attorney General, that the State has implemented a relief from disabilities program.” For the purpose of this solicitation, a “relief from disabilities program” is a program that permits persons who have been adjudicated a mental defective or committed to a mental institution to obtain relief from the firearms disabilities imposed by law as a result of such adjudication or commitment. This relief must be based on a finding, in accordance with principles of due process, by a state court, board, commission, or other lawful authority, that the circumstances of the disability and the person’s record and reputation are such that the person will not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to the public safety and that the granting of relief would not be contrary to the public interest. The certification form is available on the Bureau Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) website.
Further, applications submitted on behalf of state court systems must specifically assure that (1) the court system has the capability to contribute and will transmit pertinent information to the NICS established under section 103(b) of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (34 U.S.C. §40901), and (2) it will coordinate the programs proposed for NARIP funding with other federally funded information technology programs, including directly funded local programs.
Applicants must acquire a unique entity identifier (currently, a DUNS number). Obtaining a DUNS number is a free, one-time activity. A DUNS number is usually received within 1-2 business days.
Applicants must acquire or maintain registration with SAM. Each applicant must update or renew its SAM registration at least annually to maintain an active status. SAM registration and renewal can take as long as 10 business days to complete (2 more weeks to acquire an EIN).
Applicants must register with Grants.gov prior to submitting an application.
An application cannot be successfully submitted in Grants.gov until Grants.gov receives the SAM registration information. Once the SAM registration/renewal is complete, the information transfer from SAM to Grants.gov can take as long as 48 hours. OJP recommends that the applicant register or renew registration with SAM as early as possible.
All applications are due by 11:59 PM eastern time on May 14, 2018.
To be considered timely, an application must be submitted by the application deadline using Grants.gov, and the applicant must have received a validation message from Grants.gov that indicates successful and timely submission.
OJP urges applicants to submit applications at least 72 hours prior to the application due date to allow time for the applicant to receive validation messages or rejection notifications from Grants.gov and to correct in a timely fashion any problems that may have caused a rejection notification.
View this opportunity on Grants.gov:
Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.
Grants.gov Customer Support Hotline:
Phone: 800-518-4726 / 606-545-5035
National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) Response Center:
TTY: 301-240-6310 (hearing impaired only)
Web Chat: https://webcontact.ncjrs.gov/ncjchat/chat.jsp
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