The Obama administration ordered the removal of over 500,000 fugitives with outstanding arrest warrants from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in late 2016, according to testimony from Acting FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich.
Bowdich confirmed a November report from the Washington Post which set the figure at “tens of thousands,” after Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) asked him if more than 500,000 names were dropped from the database.
The FBI purged the names from the database after the Justice Department changed its legal interpretation of “fugitive from justice” to say it pertains only to wanted people who have crossed state lines.
What that means is that those fugitives who were previously prohibited under federal law from purchasing firearms can now buy them, unless barred for other reasons. -WaPo
“That was a decision that was made under the previous administration,” Bowdich testified.
“It was the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel that reviewed the law and believed that it needed to be interpreted so that if someone was a fugitive in a state, there had to be indications that they had crossed state lines,” said Bowdich. “Otherwise they were not known to be a fugitive under the law in the way it was interpreted.”