Everytown for Gun Safety released the following statement from its President, John Feinblatt, in response to Congress’ funding agreement for Fiscal Year 2015.
“We applaud Congress’ decision to allocate $73 million in funding for state grants to improve record submissions to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The newly announced funding for NICS represents a $14 million increase from FY14, which will help states improve records reporting to ensure more guns remain out of dangerous hands. Our nation’s background check system is critical to keeping dangerous individuals – including felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill – from purchasing or possessing firearms. The background check system is only as good as the records it contains and hundreds of thousands of records are missing – making it all too easy for dangerously mentally ill people like the Virginia Tech shooter to slip through the cracks.”
“Since Everytown published the first report highlighting the problem, total mental health records submitted by states have tripled. But fatal gaps remain: there are still nine states that have each submitted fewer than 100 mental health records. Federal funding can help failing states get their records into the system. An Everytown analysis of the latest FBI data shows that of today’s top-performing states, 60 percent previously received NARIP funding to enhance their record reporting systems; of the poorest performing states, only 20 percent had done so.”
“Additionally, we applaud the $22 million in increased funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The additional funding for ATF will provide the agency with much needed resources to combat illegal guns and continue to work toward keeping our communities safe from gun violence.”
“The support of Ranking Member Nita Lowey, Chairman Frank Wolf, Ranking Member Chaka Fattah, Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski and Vice Chairman Richard Shelby was critical during the budget negotiations.”
“Although we are pleased with this increase of funding for the NICS grant program and for ATF, we cannot rest on this action alone – there is still much more to be done to fix our broken background check system, including closing the private sale loophole. Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action will continue to support strengthening our background check system to keep our families and communities safe. States with comprehensive background check requirements have 38 percent fewer women shot to death by intimate partners, 39 percent fewer police killed with handguns and half as many suicides with guns. Congress can and should be doing more to keep guns out of dangerous hands.”