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FBI Database Shows 14 Million Illegal Migrant Gun Buys

Holland McKinnie
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In a shocking revelation, the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) contains nearly 14 million records linked to illegal immigrants. This figure, reported this week by the Daily Caller News Foundation, speaks to the critical intersection of American firearm laws and Joe Biden’s disastrous open-border immigration policies.

The NICS database is the primary tool used by federal firearms licensees (FFLs) for running instant background checks on individuals attempting to purchase guns. The database provides information to FFLs concerning individuals deemed ineligible under state or federal law for firearm ownership. 

As of October 2023, the FBI confirmed the presence of more than 13,900,000 records in the NICS related to illegal or unlawful aliens. The records contained in the NICS represent unique disqualifying events — such as felony arrests or convictions — rather than unique individuals. The FBI clarified that multiple entries for a single person could exist if there are several prohibiting events for the person.


From November 1988 through November 2023, background checks performed using the NICS database led to almost 48,000 denied purchase attempts by illegal aliens. This data is especially significant in the context of the record numbers of illegals entering the country since Joe Biden assumed office in the White House. The U.S. Border Patrol reported over 2.2 million encounters with illegal migrants last fiscal year alone.

A significant concern arises from migrants illegally obtaining firearms from FFLs through fraud. The process for this illegal acquisition is simple. If an illegal alien is not recorded in the NICS database, they could potentially acquire a firearm by falsifying their immigration status on their application. However, that act is itself a separate felony offense. This risk of such illegal sales is exacerbated in states that permit noncitizens to obtain driver’s licenses. 

The data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other agencies also highlight the gravity of the situation. Arrests of criminal noncitizens, which include those with gun crime records, have shown concerning trends. Under the Biden administration, there has been a notable increase in the arrests of criminal aliens with weapons offenses, according to analysis of ICE reports and leaked data. 

In fiscal year 2021, there were approximately 5,700 weapons offenses on the records of aliens arrested, a decrease from 8,114 in FY 2020. This reduction in arrests and deportations of criminal aliens with gun crime records suggests potential gaps in public safety measures.