There are several kinds of background checks. Now there is a movement aross the United States to have a more comprehensive background check, called a Universal Background Check.

Background checks typically check for employment records, criminal records, and credit/financial records. Employers often do background checks, as part of their process to assess a candidate for a job. This is done more often when the job requires a strong degree of trust, like for a hospital employee. The military does a background check on all members. Drug tests and credit history as a pre-employment check are controversial. If someone is not hired because of information from a background check, the applicant is given a coppy of the FCRA summary of rights and other information; individuals are entitled to know the source of the information that denied him the job.

Expanded background checks, called Universal Background Checks, also include mental health issues and other attributes, with a goal to prevent gun sales to people who might not be suitable to own a gun. Universal Background Checks are typically discussed in the context of gun sales. Universal Background Checks are being proposed in many states and even on the federal level, but it is not clear if they can get past the opposition to such increased government presence. Many gun owners feel the federal government seeks to create a national registry of gun owners. The NRA officially opposes Universal Background Checks, although many of its members do not. The many tragedies when unstable individuals kill innocent civilians does seem to give a strong argument for increased oversight of gun sales.