JOINED BY MAYOR BLOOMBERG, UNVEILS LEGISLATION FOR TOUGHER PENALTIES FOR STATES
THAT DON’T COMPLY WITH BACKGROUND CHECKS; MEASURE MODELED AFTER MAYORS AGAINST
ILLEGAL GUNS PROPOSAL
Legislation Increases Penalties for States that Fail to
Report Drug Abusers, Domestic Violence Offenders, and Mentally Ill to National
Do-Not-Sell List; Would Also Close Loophole Allowing Private Sellers to Get
Around Background Check
Arizona and VA Tech Shooters Should Have Been
Reported to National Do-Not-Sell List for Gun Purchases; Both Shooters Slipped
Through the Cracks Because of Lax Reporting by States and Federal
As FixGunChecks.org Truck Tour Reaches Ohio’s Capitol,
More than 250,000 Americans Have Signed Petitions to Fix Gun Background Checks,
Including More than 6,000 in Ohio; New Video Available at http://bit.ly/34americans
United States Senator Charles E. Schumer, joined by New York Mayor
Michael R. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, announced today
the introduction of legislation that would provide greater reporting to the
National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for individuals with
mental illness, domestic violence records, and drug abusers, by increasing the
penalties for states that fail to adequately turn over records for those who are
prohibited from owning a gun. The legislation will also require that all gun
sales, including those by private sellers, be subject to a background check,
effectively ending the gun show loophole. The legislation, based on a proposal
put forward by the coalition of Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns is designed to help
prevent the next mass shooting. The Mayor, Senator and Police Commissioner made
the announcement one week into the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Nationwide Drive
to Fix Gun Checks, a campaign featuring a mobile billboard truck that tolls the
tragic count of Americans that have been murdered with guns since the Tucson
shooting. FixGunChecks.org today released a new video called “34” available at
the FixGunChecks.org website or http://bit.ly/34americans.
“Americans want their government to take basic, common sense steps to
keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “To do
that, and stop the murder of 34 Americans killed with guns every day, we need
leadership from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. “Senator Schumer’s
bill would save lives and protect communities all across the nation – and mayors
all across the nation will be its biggest supporters.”
“Two of the most heinous acts of gun violence in the last four years were
perpetrated by individuals, who under the law, should have absolutely no access
to a gun,” said Schumer. “Despite this fact, lax reporting by states and federal
agencies has allowed guns to get into the hands of dangerous individuals with
consequences that have been tragic and deadly. This legislation does nothing to
impinge upon gun owners’ rights, but it does provide greater incentive for
reporting individuals who should not have access to guns to a national
do-not-sell list, helping better protect innocent Americans from senseless gun
“Senator Schumer’s legislation makes eminent good sense, and one day, I
hope, we will all look back and marvel that we didn’t enact these safeguards
sooner,” said Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.
The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is designed to
conduct background checks on prospective gun owners to ensure that individuals
who pose a threat to society are unable to get legal access to deadly weapons.
Federal law requires that drug abusers, the mentally ill, domestic violence
perpetrators, and others who are prohibited by state and federal law from having
guns, be included in a national do-not-sell list, to help keep the guns out of
the hands of those who should not have them. The NICS database, however, is
missing millions of records due to lax reporting among the states and in some
instances, federal agencies.
The legislation being introduced by Senator Schumer and
backed by Mayor Bloomberg and Mayors Against Illegal Guns would establish
greater penalties for states that do not comply with reporting laws by cutting a
greater amount of their Justice Department grant funding for noncompliance.
Currently, states that fail to report to the NICS database 50 percent or more of
the records they have on individuals not be allowed to buy a gun face penalties
of up to a 3 percent cut in their Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) funding.
Schumer’s legislation would increase the reporting requirement to 75 percent by
FY2013 and 90 percent by FY2018, with JAG funding penalties increased to 15
percent and 25 percent, respectively. Under the Schumer legislation, federal
agencies, like the military, would be required to certify to the US Attorney
General, twice per year, that they have submitted all relevant records to the
NICS database. Additionally, the legislation closes the so-called gun show
loophole that exempts private sellers of guns from having to verify that the
person they are selling to is not on the NICS database. The legislation would
require private sellers to verify, either with local law enforcement, or through
certified gun dealers, that the person who they are selling a gun to is not on
the national NICS list.
Schumer and Bloomberg noted that both Tucson shooter
Jared Lee Loughner and Virginia Tech Shooter Seung Hoi-Cho were not reported to
the NICS database, despite the fact that Loughner was rejected by the Army for
drug use and Hoi-Cho was prohibited from owning a gun because of mental illness.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns today also announced the results of a new
poll conducted by Momentum Analysis. The poll reveals that Ohioans and
owners strongly support a sensible approach to gun laws that protects the Second
Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans while also keeping criminals and other
dangerous people from accessing firearms. The poll also shows 85% of Ohioans and
80% of Ohio
gun owners support background checks for all gun sales. The survey of 600
registered voters was conducted between February 11 through February 13, 2011
and the margin of error is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.
“As mayors we work every day to keep our communities safe,” said
coalition co-chair and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. “With Senator Schumer’s leadership, it’s
time for Congress to finally close the gaps and make a comprehensive, complete
background check system that works.
The families of the 34 Americans who are murdered every day with guns
deserve no less.”
FixGunChecks.org Nationwide Truck Tour
The FixGunChecks.org truck started its nationwide tour last week in
Times Square. The truck has since held events
in Newark, NJ;
Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Youngstown, OH; Euclid, OH; Columbus, OH; and Cleveland, OH.
The truck features a clock that will toll the tragic count of Americans that
have been murdered with guns since the Tucson shooting.
About Mayors Against Illegal
Since its inception in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown
from 15 mayors to over 550. Mayors Against Illegal Guns has united the nation’s
mayors around these common goals: protecting their communities by holding gun
offenders and irresponsible gun dealers accountable, demanding access to trace
data that is critical to law enforcement efforts to combat illegal gun
trafficking, and working with legislators to fix gaps, weaknesses and loopholes
in the law that make it far too easy for criminals and other prohibited
purchasers to get guns.