NEW YORK, April 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In response to today's U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science appropriation of $12 million to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Improvement Amendments Act grant program, Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chairs Michael R. Bloomberg and Thomas M. Menino released the following statements.
Statement of Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
"Today's appropriation of $12 million to strengthen reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is a testament to the bipartisan efforts of Republican Chairman Frank Wolf and Ranking Member Chaka Fattah. This is the kind of bipartisan leadership that our coalition stands for and that is so urgently needed to reduce the gun-related crimes that kill 34 people in our country every day.
"We must remember that the shooters in both the Virginia Tech and Tucson mass shootings were able to pass background checks and purchase guns because their records were not in NICS. Our coalition's report, Fatal Gaps: How Missing Records in the Federal Background Check System Put Guns in the Hands of Killers, found that the NICS database of prohibited firearms purchasers is still dangerously incomplete. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have submitted fewer than 100 mental health records to the system. Our coalition's analysis also found that states that received grants to improve NICS submission increased their rate of mental health record sharing by nearly twice as many records per capita as states receiving no Federal funding.
"Today's decision by appropriators is a big step in the right direction. With stronger reporting to NICS, we can help prevent these kinds of shootings from ever happening again."
Statement of Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair Boston City Mayor Thomas M. Menino
"I would like to thank Chairman Frank Wolf and Ranking Member Chaka Fattah for today's appropriation of $12 million to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Improvement Amendments Act grant program. This funding is $8 million more than President Obama included in his FY 2013 budget and will be instrumental to improving the reporting of records to NICS.
"Today's appropriation follows on the heels of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell's letter last week on the fifth anniversary of the Virginia Tech school shooting urging other governors to improve the reporting of mental health records to the gun background check system. The letter has also been signed by more than 30,000 others urging their governors to strengthen reporting to NICS.
"These are crucial efforts to help make our communities safer and support our law enforcement agencies as they work hard to fight gun-related crimes."
SOURCE Mayors Against Illegal Guns