Computer Glitch Halts Gun Sales Across Tennessee

By: Allison Hunt
By: Allison Hunt

Knoxville (WVLT) - It's been a slow few days for gun dealers after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's server crashed, not allowing any background checks to be cleared.

Volunteer TV's Allison Hunt talked with the TBI and has more on the story.

TBI says over the last several months the "TICS," or the TBI instant check system, has been having problems. It would heat up, so they'd turn off and when it booted back up it would be fine. However, this time it crashed, leaving gun dealers with a rude awakening Monday morning.

The week started rough for Jess Hatmaker of Guns 'N More.

"Tried to sell a gun, and I couldn't," Hatmaker said.

He hasn't been able to sell a gun for the last few days.

"That has been a major pain," Hatmaker said.

A pain because he hasn't been able to have background checks cleared.

"It does make a small business a little harder run, and obviously my main source of income here is selling firearms," Hatmaker said.

He says his customers have been understanding, but...

"I've heard of a couple guys at some of the bigger stores being irate, being upset and not understanding it's not about them, it's an electronic problem, it's about a system," Hatmaker said.

That system being the TICS system which does instant background checks. The server crashed at about 1:30 Monday morning.

"What gun dealers do is they call us or email us, and we do background checks on anyone who's coming in to buy a gun," Kristin Helm from the TBI said.

TBI says on average they get about 450 requests a day and can get information to gun dealers in about 37 seconds.

"Unfortunately, the last few days of course we've had a small pile stacked up but we should have all those completed tonight," Helm said.

A temporary system is currently in place so checks can be made. The new server will be up and running Friday. The TBI says it hasn't been a big problem until Wednesday.

"We've had a few that started to get a little anxious, worried about their customers and revenue," Helm said.

Putting Hatmaker's bottom line on the line.

"If I cannot do that, well that puts a dent in the paycheck," Hatmaker said.

The TBI says this is a very unusual problem and in the 10 years they have used TICS, the server has gone down no longer than 5 minutes. Until now.

The TBI assures us that everyone's information is safe in a backup database and was kept in house at all times. Everything is up and running under a temporary system.


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