In the wake of the Louisiana shooting, background checks and gun control have come to the forefront. Under the current federal law, gun dealers are required to perform background checks through the FBI’s instant criminal background check system database, or NICS.
So what’s the issue? Why are the individuals who are committing these heinous crimes able to legally purchase a gun? The answer simply put, is that certain states have elected to not provide information related to a persons’ mental health to the federal database. When looking at the data the numbers are frightening, after a report showed Louisiana as one of the worst states to voluntarily comply with only 4 mental health records reported as of November 2013. Following the report they have stepped up efforts reporting 908 records as of December 2014. To put this in perspective for you, Delaware implemented its version of the law in 2012 and nearly 20,000 records were filed in the state, which has less than 1 million people compared to Louisiana’s 4.65 million.
Why is all of this important and how does it apply to HR, Ryan? The correlation between screening practices for gun control and employment is that database sources of information are only as good as the sources and the information provided to the database. Companies around the world advertise instant background checks, where do you think this information is coming from? If it’s instant that means it’s on hand and stored information. What happens if in the location your candidate committed a crime they don’t report to a database and the only way to gather this information is actually a hand-pulled court house record that requires a court researcher? That information isn’t going to be available in the database and you will never see it.
We aren’t looking to scare anyone, we are simply looking to educate. We partner with several suppliers that provide fantastic databases that include national coverage, are they the “silver bullet?” Absolutely not, but it’s a great supplemental search that can increase your coverage area and provide information rapidly. If you’re performing these types of searches today, we recommend you contact your provider and ask for a source list of where all the information originates and see if it’s accomplishing everything you had hoped.
For more information on database searches and other background screening topics, please contact CredentialCheck at 888-689-2000 or firstname.lastname@example.org