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NICS Legislative Efforts

Friday, April 27, 2007

The National Rifle Association has always supported including the records of individuals adjudicated mentally defective into the National Instant Background Check System. We believe that the NICS should serve the intent of Congress, which is to prohibit the sale of firearms to criminals and other prohibited persons, such as adjudicated mental defectives. However, we must not forget that the NICS also serves the purpose of clearing firearm purchases by law-abiding Americans. Too often, the system has been abused and has not delivered on the promise of a fair and instant check.

In order for NICS to be effective and efficient, it should not be bogged down with unnecessary information or duplicative records. It should not be used to charge transaction fees on background checks; as a permanent repository of gun purchase information; or to unnecessarily delay the ability of law-abiding Americans to purchase firearms.

The NRA has achieved many improvements to the NICS over the years, including the destruction of approved transaction records within 24 hours, and prohibiting the FBI on an annual basis from charging a “user fee” on background checks.

We continue to support legislative efforts that:

  • Improve the accuracy of NICS records

  • Reduce delayed approvals for firearm purchasers

  • Require federal and state governments to remove or update inaccurate records when discovered

  • Provide the NICS with information on events such as criminal expungements and removal of restraining orders, thus lifting a person’s prohibition on possessing firearms

  • Permanently prohibit the FBI from charging a “user fee” on NICS background checks

  • Ensure that mentally defective adjudications are limited to adjudications following adversarial hearings only, not a solely administrative finding or short-term diagnosis from a doctor, as often occurs in cases of depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. Remove mental disability records from the NICS if a judge determines that the person is no longer a danger to himself or others, or no longer requires involuntary treatment

  • Provide necessary funding for the NICS so that it can operate as accurately and quickly as possible, without unnecessary delays; and provide necessary funding for states to transmit records on prohibited classes of persons, so that the NICS is effective and efficient

We do not support proposals that allow for unnecessary or overly broad information to be included in the NICS; unfairly target individuals who have not been adjudicated mentally defective; seek to retain approved NICS transaction records for more than 24 hours; or anything else that would expand NICS beyond its original purpose.

The NRA will continue to work for the quickest and most accurate NICS possible on behalf of our members and law-abiding gun owners across the country.

For more information, please visit http://www.nraila.org/Legislation/Federal/Read.aspx?id=2921

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.