Maloney: Strengthen Background Checks for Gun Buyers
Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens) joined Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Sen. Charles Schumer, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy and other House members at a press conference on Capitol Hill in support of the “Fix Gun Checks Act of 2011,” legislation that will be introduced in the House by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-LI) and cosponsored by Maloney. Among other provisions, the bill would require background checks for every gun sale and require states to send all necessary records on felons, drug abusers, the mentally ill, and other dangerous people to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Sen. Schumer introduced the companion bill in the Senate.
“In just the nine weeks since my friend Gabby Giffords and 19 others were shot, and six of those died, some 2000 more Americans have died from gun violence,” Maloney said. “The legislation we're announcing today is clear, simple, and focused: enable swift and effective background checks on all gun purchasers. The background check system is broken, and dangerous people keep slipping through. If this bill had been law, it’s possible—just possible—that Jared Lee Loughner would not have been able to obtain a weapon, and we could have avoided the tragic events in Tucson.
“I’m grateful that Mayor Bloomberg made the trip to Washington on behalf of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns to highlight the importance of this issue. And I’m grateful, too, for the leadership of my friends Carolyn McCarthy and Chuck Schumer on this vital topic,” Maloney added.
More information on the Senate version of the “Fix Gun Checks Act of 2011” from Senator Schumer’s office:
The “Fix Gun Checks Act of 2011” (S.436) would:
- Ensure that all of the names of prohibited gun purchasers are in the background check system by
- Toughening penalties for states that do not provide data to NICS: The bill would require states to send all necessary records on felons, drug abusers, the mentally ill and other dangerous people to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). States that do not submit their target number of records will face larger reductions in federal Justice Assistance Grant funding.
- Requiring reporting to ensure federal agencies provide data to NICS: Heads of federal agencies would have to confirm in writing twice a year that they have provided all necessary records to NICS.
- Clarifying the definitions of “mentally ill” and “drug abuse”: The bill would clarify that people who are ordered by a court to get outpatient treatment for mental illness are prohibited from having guns. The bill would also modify the definition of a drug abuser so that individuals who are found to be abusing drugs can be included in NICS for 5 years—currently drug abusers are only in NICS for 1 year.
- Establishing Mental Health Reporting by Colleges and Universities: Federally funded colleges and universities would be required to report to a state mental health agency when a student is involuntarily referred for observation due to mental health concerns. The state agency would then determine whether the person needs to be reported to NICS.
- Require Background Checks for Every Gun Sale: Every gun buyer would have to pass a background check - no matter where they buy the gun and no matter who they buy it from.
- Methods: Unlicensed sellers can check buyers by going to a federally licensed dealer who would run the check; by contacting or going to a law enforcement agency that would run the check; or by inspecting a gun permit that confirms the buyer has already passed a background check.
- Exceptions: The bill allows some transfers of guns without background checks, including gifts of guns from one family member to another, loans of guns among people at a hunting or shooting range, and inheritance of guns.