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National Instant Criminal Background Check System Housed in Harrison County

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Anytime you get pulled over or try to buy a firearm, a background check is performed.

The process is much more complicated than you would think, and a lot of that information is stored in Harrison County, at the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division.   

According to Sean Ragan, CJIS Section Chief, there are a lot of individuals who can't legally buy a firearm.

"It could be anybody that's prohibited: someone with felony convictions, a felony record, someone with mental health issues, people that had a dishonorable discharge from the military, could be people that have renounced their citizenship from the United States. There is a whole list of prohibitors that would stop somebody from legally purchasing a firearm,” Ragan said.

However, some people can go undetected, unless they are listed in one of three databases.

"There's the Interstate Information Index which is a data base containing criminal history records, the National Crime Information Center you have wanted persons, people with warrants, protection orders and things like that are housed in that particular data base, and then there is the NICS Index which is the National Instant Criminal Background Check System,” explained Ragan.

Inside the FBI CJIS building in Harrison County is the data center which houses all the information needed when performing a background check, including the NICS Index.

Anytime law enforcement is checking someone's background, it runs through the Data Center, as long as that person is listed in the national database.

"Each individual state has their own criminal justice agencies, and often times they have their own data bases. But they also are encouraged to contribute to the national data base because then anybody in the country that is doing a check will be able to access that national record,” Ragan explained.

If states don't report those individuals nationally, it's possible they could fall through the cracks.

Friday on 12 News, tune in to learn more about local agencies' efforts to contribute to the national data base, and how the FBI and local agencies work together for the best results.

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