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Fixing the Gun Background Check Information

0 March 6, 2018

The tragic loss of life in the Parkland school shooting has once more brought U.S. gun laws into the spotlight. One of the major contributing factors to this tragedy is the failure of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The failure of the NICS to disqualify the shooter from gun ownership has left many Americans totally baffled. In retrospect it was clear this individual should have never been cleared to purchase any sort of firearm.

It has been reported in the Boston Globe that police had at least 18 calls about the shooter in recent years. Several people contacted authorities to report the threat this killer represented. His mental derangement is obvious. What went wrong with the NICS that allowed the killer to legally purchase weapons?

CNN published an informative article entitled “How gun background checks work.” In their article, CNN states: “The scope of review is narrow and would not capture all aspects of Cruz’s profile, even if it included explicit, public threats against students and school disciplinary behavior that led to his expulsion from high school.”

Is the scope of the review narrow because the proper information is not available, or because the resources needed to support integration of vast amounts of data from many sources are too restrictive?

Where the NICS Fails

The article “FBI’s gun background-check system lacking records of millions of cases” from the Washington Post describes some of the failures of the NICS. The NICS is dependent upon the source information systems supplying the data records required.

When the required data records are not provided, the NICS information system is full of holes. The results are less than impressive. While some gun sales are denied, the vast majority are accepted. How many are accepted because the proper data did not exist in the NICS?

We in the information technology industry understand how difficult it is to gather information from multiple sources to form a single consolidated information system using traditional data integration methods. The NICS faces the same challenge.

With traditional data integration methods, all data needs to be extracted, duplicated, transformed and combined into a single information system to be available for the NICS software application. This is a very expensive, resource-intensive and challenging process that requires frequent and periodic updates to ensure the data is current.

The NICS is at the mercy of the source information systems. How is the content of NICS verified for completeness and quality relative to each source information system? Without major changes to the gun background check system, more people who should not obtain guns will slip through the information holes in this system.

How Data Compatibility Can Help

Maxxphase Data Compatibility provides an innovative alternative to traditional data integration that alleviates the burden of data duplication and transformation and eliminates the data mistakes associated with traditional data integration. With data compatibility methods, data is simply made compatible in place. These data compatibility methods also makes all source data systems directly and dynamically interoperable. Each of the data sources become an integral component in a single seamless network of compatible information systems.

With data compatibility, any data recorded in any compatible information source system is available immediately. Compatible information systems would collaborate to form a complete, current and trusted profile for the NICS.

With Maxxphase, an unlimited number of source information systems may be made directly interoperable. Each compatible information system is directly “connectable” with whatever other information systems are required to dynamically share the information requested.

Therefore, data not currently included in NICS may now be made accessible if the proper data compatibility methods were to be used. Data from multiple criminal information systems, such as international, federal, state, county and local criminal justice databases, may all be shared forming a single criminal profile.

Beyond that, military records, healthcare records and terror watch list information may also be shared and utilized to form the potential weapon purchaser’s profile. Even social media information and the purchase history of restricted products may be shared to get an even more perfect picture.

We need to understand who poses a serious threat to other people or to the population at large. The more information organizations make shareable, the more complete profiles will be.


Despite clear warning signs, the gunman was able to obtain a lawful permit to own weapons. This is a failure of the technology we rely on to ensure the public’s safety.

Multiple organizations responsible for the public’s safety work with multiple sets of disparate data and are unable to seamlessly share critical information. With data compatibility, these organizations can evolve from isolated standalone organizations to a single cohesive unit—all sharing information, all collaborating for the benefit of our society.

Everyone is calling for action; we can all agree there should never be another mass school shooting, now is the time to make that change. If the proper data compatibility methods were used we could eliminate these missed warning signs, and those who keep us safe would have the information they need to make shootings like the one at Parkland a thing of the past.

For more information, reference “Industry-Wide Data Compatibility”.

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