|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
May 10, 2012
STATEMENT OF MAYORS AGAINST ILLEGAL GUNS CO-CHAIRS ON HOUSE VOTE TO BOOST FUNDING FOR NATIONAL GUN BACKGROUND CHECK SYSTEM AND TO BLOCK FUNDING TO MONITOR BULK SALE OF ASSAULT RIFLES ALONG MEXICAN BORDER
$12 Million to Improve State Reporting of Vital Mental Health Records to National Do-Not-Sell Firearms Database
Funding Stripped for Program to Prevent Illegal Assault Rifle Trafficking to Mexico
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill, which included two significant provisions that will impact the prevalence of illegal guns. The bill included $12 million dollars for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Improvement Amendments Act grant program, which will strengthen the gun background check system. A report by Mayors Against Illegal Guns released last November (http://maig.us/KpKOnW) found massive gaps in the system because many states fail to submit records about prohibited purchasers to the database. The report also demonstrated that federal funding to states substantially improves record reporting by state agencies. The bill was also amended to include a policy rider that will prohibit the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from monitoring bulk sales of assault rifles in states along the Mexican border – a new program that has already proven effective at combating drug trade violence on both sides of the border.
Statement of Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
“Today, in one appropriations bill, we saw some of the best and worst of Washington at work.
“Chairman Wolf and Ranking Member Fattah showed us that Washington can actually work by forging bipartisan solutions to prevent guns from being sold to dangerous people who are already prohibited by federal law. We want to say it plainly: their commitment to helping states fill the gaps in the gun background check system will save American lives.
“A report our coalition issued late last year showed states that receive federal grants submit nearly twice as many records per capita about prohibited gun purchasers to the national database as those that do not. The $12 million the House approved today isn’t enough, but it’s $8 million more than the Administration requested, and it will make a serious difference.
“At the same time, the majority of the House put the interests of the gun lobby ahead of public safety by voting to block funding for a program that helps law enforcement monitor when individuals buy multiple assault rifles in a short period of time from firearms dealers in states along the Mexico border. That new program – which is modeled on a 2009 Mayors Against Illegal Guns proposal – has already helped law enforcement officials identify straw purchasers who are supplying firepower to Mexican drug cartels. This program works, it does not limit any law-abiding American’s rights, and we will work with our allies in Washington to see that the program is preserved.”
Statement of Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino
“With today’s approval of $12 million for NICS, we are well on our way to strengthening reporting and reducing the gun-related crimes that kill 34 people in our country every day. This is exactly the kind of federal support our law enforcement agencies need to keep illegal guns out of the wrong hands and keep our communities safe.
“It’s truly unfortunate that some chose to follow the instructions of the Washington gun lobby and accepted a policy rider prohibiting ATF from monitoring bulk sales of assault rifles along the border. In just eight months. the program generated more than 3,000 reports accounting for the purchase of more than 7,300 assault rifles. ATF has opened more than 120 criminal investigations and more than 25 cases representing 100 defendants have already been recommended for prosecution. “It’s clear that this program works. It’s absurd that some are trying to block it. And our 650 mayors will do everything in our power to see that law enforcement officials aren’t denied this powerful tool for fighting crime on both sides of the border.”
|Contact: ||Mayor Bloomberg's Press Office ||(212) 788-2958|
|Mayor Menino's Press Office ||(617) 635-4461|