The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said it is working to keep up with firearm background check requests and eliminate delays as demand nearly doubled amid COVID-19 concerns.
Between March 12 and March 16, the TBI said it processed more than 14,600 background check requests. For comparison, the TBI said it processed close to 7,900 requests in a five-day period just a month ago.
The TBI said it experienced an uncharacteristic delay in processing transactions on Thursday because of an unplanned outage to its online Instant Check System on top limited access to its own facilities.
To complicate matters, the TBI said one of its employees at its Nashville Headquarters tested positive Wednesday for COVID-19. They said the employee is in good spirits and is recovering from home, but in response they had to limit access to headquarters on Thursday to clean the facility.
Employees assigned to the headquarters who were already not working remotely were told to do so on Thursday, which included employees responsible for processing background checks through the TCIS.
"The TBI acknowledges customers and firearms dealers expect background checks and appeals to happen as promptly as they reasonably can, and the agency does, too. However, some circumstances impacting this week’s TICS response times were outside of the Bureau’s control," the TBI said.
The TBI said it is working now to adjust employee schedules in hopes of improving wait times.