The holiday shopping season is almost upon us, and Black Friday, the biggest and most-hyped shopping day of the year, is just around the corner. In response to this and to help nudge gun sellers onto the latest electronic versions of the National Criminal Background Check System, the E-Check Users and state Point-of-Contact programs will become available at 4:30 a.m. EST on November 28 in order to help sellers accommodate the expected large numbers of buyers shopping the deals early and often on the day after Thanksgiving.

The NICS Contracted Call Centers will open as normal at 8 a.m. EST.

The release announcing the special Black Friday hours states, “In case you haven’t enrolled to use the NICS E-Check, please consider taking this important step to register. The NICS E-Check allows you to conduct firearm background checks over the internet and provides many benefits you don’t receive from the NICS Contracted Call Centers.

“Please understand that we try to handle all incoming transactions as efficiently as possible; however, it is not always possible to avoid hold times on the telephone. Even during times of unprecedented transaction volume, the NICS E-Check runs efficiently with an average wait time of less than two minutes once the transaction is initiated.”

The latest version of NICS E-Check, deployed first in the summer of 2013, allows access from any browser on any computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone, or other internet-connected device. Not only does this version remove many of the obstacles faced by users of the old version due to browser incompatibility and digital security certificate issues, it makes it easy for more check stations to be set up wherever they’re needed. The FFL or manager sets up employee accounts and users log in from whatever device they’re using, whether it’s a standard desktop computer, an iPad or other tablet, or even a phone. Retailers can skip the wait on the telephone and have as many employees conducting speedy checks as they need.

For more information about the NICS E-Check, see www.nicsezcheckfbi.gov.