Welcome to our site! We are here to bring you the most current and concise information on the commonly misunderstood NCIC background check.
As you may or may not know, an NCIC background check is for government use only (FBI, local law enforcement, military, Transportation Security Administration, and Department of Homeland Security). Unfortunately, they are not available to HR personnel or for public use. You should be aware of this as there are private agencies who claim they can run NCIC background checks (Gov-resources for example). Beware: they cannot, and given they are lying about this ability their legitimacy as a business should be questioned. It should be noted that some agencies can request NCIC checks for individuals working alongside children, but they still require government permission.
The NCIC, which stands for National Crime Information Center, is a national database of criminal justice records (FBI explanation here). It contains records such as a person’s criminal record, missing property, missing persons, etc. It is manned 24 hours/day 365 days/year, and is updated regularly as accuracy is critical for law enforcement purposes. The NCIC database is the first resource tapped when various law enforcement agencies (FBI all the way down to your local police station) need information on a potential criminal or crime. It is worth noting that only the FBI, courts, and government law enforcement agencies (including authorized overseas agencies) can submit information into the database.
The NCIC database is not just used by law enforcement though. NCIC background checks are also run as part of NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System). This system is used to determine if an individual qualifies to obtain ownership of a firearm or explosives. With that said, firearms vendors do not have access to NCIC background checks themselves; they are simply part of the NICS background checks.
NCIC Background Check Alternatives
For those of you interested in running NCIC background checks, you do have other options. In general, only the person who is being investigated can request a true FBI criminal history record. This creates complications as the individual would have to provide the report to the individual/agency investigating them, and there is no way to prove the information contained in the report was not tampered with/modified. Further, such a record may not contain arrest information held exclusively by state enforcement agencies.
In most situations, employers will have to settle for state and county records available at the public level. The most accurate record would be those obtained directly from the state the individual is a resident of (or was a prior resident of). More reputable background check agencies can handle these for you/assist in the process. Cheaper ‘criminal background checks’ involve cross referencing various sources of free, public information, including court records, corrections records, and law enforcement records at the city level. These are not as comprehensive as checks obtained from the state, but they are much faster.
NCIC Background Checks Are Not Public For Your Safety
Due to the sensitive nature of information contained in such checks, they are not available to the public. This is done to protect every citizen’s privacy and protect from outside threats. With that said, most corporations do not need the level of information NCIC checks provide. In most cases basic criminal background checks will suffice, and in higher risk situations, companies can always check with the state.