View Full Version : NRA Statement On Legislative Efforts On Capitol Hill

04-27-2007, 1:07 PM

Recent reports in the Washington Post, Newsweek and other media outlets are fanning Internet rumors regarding the NRA's position concerning legislation currently being discussed in Congress in the aftermath of the horrific crimes that occurred at Virginia Tech.

The NRA has a long history of supporting measures to keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals and those who have been adjudicated by a court as mentally incompetent, and we will continue to do so. We will also continue our efforts to make sure that the National Instant Background Check System (NICS) is accurate, fair, and instant by seeking changes to permanently ensure that no fee is associated with the check, that system outages are minimized, and that our men and women in uniform who have served our country honorably are not unjustly denied their constitutional rights. As always, the NRA is committed to ensuring that any proposal does not infringe upon the right of law-abiding gun owners.

It is impossible to predict right now what any final bill will look like; therefore, we will withhold judgment until we see a final product. However, the NRA will continue to work with Members of Congress throughout the process to ensure that any changes to the NICS benefit lawful gun purchasers while ensuring that those adjudicated by the courts as mentally incompetent are included in the system.

Including necessary records on prohibited persons into the NICS is a position we have long supported. However, history has shown that no law will stop a madman intent on doing evil.

The NRA believes that our schools are not adequately protected. Therefore, we believe a national conversation on school security is necessary, and we look forward to those discussions and finding meaningful solutions to keep America's children safe.

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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 legal 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 administrative findings such as depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; and that mental disability records are removed 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.