Senate-Requested Funding Represents Substantial Increase Over Current Program, Fulfills Request of Hundreds of Mayors Nationwide to Help Reduce Gun Violence
NEW YORK, July 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- After the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science's decision to increase funding for state improvements to the quality of criminal and mental health records submissions to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), the co-chairs of Mayors Against Illegal Guns – New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino – issued the following statements. In addition to increasing NICS funding to $50 million, the bill allows for a major increase in overall funding for federal prosecutors, for NICS operators, and for additional active shooter training for local law enforcement.
Although the coalition is pleased that legislation increases funding for the NICS grant program, there remains concern that bill maintains policy riders which greatly restrict ATF enforcement authority such as restrictions on proper oversight of gun dealers and limits to the agency effectively using crime gun data. In May, more than 950 mayors from the bipartisan national coalition signed a letter urging the Senate Appropriations Committee to make increasing resources for the NICS system a top priority.
Statement of Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
"Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski and Ranking Member Richard Shelby showed their dedication to keeping our communities safe. Thanks to their leadership, the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill includes a substantial increase in funding for programs to improve the National Instant Criminal Background Checks System (NICS) as well as increases for other programs geared towards keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people and equipping law enforcement with adequate resources and training. The $50 million allocated to help states improve their reporting of criminal and mental health records will allow for a much stronger background check system.
"The Senate CJS Committee bill provides $100 million in additional funding for ATF funding. This is a major step toward ensuring this vital agency has the necessary resources to crack down on gun trafficking and other gun-related crime."
Statement of Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino
"I want to thank Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski and Senator Richard Shelby for their leadership in increasing funding for the National Instant Criminal Background Checks System (NICS) state grant program. Research has found that states that received grants to improve NICS submissions substantially increased their rate of mental health record sharing.
"This bill also allocates increased funds for federal prosecutors, for NICS operators, and for programs to train our local law enforcement for active shooter situations. This type of funding represents an improved dedication to creating safer communities and supporting the law enforcement agencies and officers that fight gun-related crime every day."
About Mayors Against Illegal Guns
Since its creation in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from 15 members to more than 900 mayors from across the country. We have more than 1.5 million grassroots supporters, making us the largest gun violence prevention advocacy organization in the country. The bipartisan coalition, co-chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, has united the nation's mayors around these common goals: protecting communities by holding gun offenders accountable; demanding access to crime gun trace data that is critical to law enforcement efforts to combat gun trafficking; and working with legislators to fix weaknesses and loopholes in the law that make it far too easy for criminals and other dangerous people to get guns. Learn more at www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org
SOURCE Mayors Against Illegal Guns