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NSSF praises Fix NICS impact at state level

On Sept. 25, NSSF reported a 241 percent increase in state submissions of adjudicated mental health records to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System database — an effort launched by the firearms industry in 2013, through the Fix NICS campaign. Just 1.7 million such records existed in the FBI’s database when NSSF began the campaign in 2013, to fix the background check system. Today, there are more than 5.6 million records.

“This achievement demonstrates the firearms industry’s commitment to real solutions for safer communities,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF general counsel and SVP of government relations and public affairs. “The firearms industry conceived of the point of purchase instant background check system that exists today. We’ve spent years working to successfully fix the system so it works as intended.”

NSSF has spearheaded an effort to improve the quality and accuracy of background checks by changing the law in 16 states (state participation in the NICS system is voluntary under the Constitution; the Tenth Ammendment prohibits the U.S. government to mandate the states to submit records) at the federal level, NSSF worked with U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) on the bipartisan Fix NICS Legislation signed into law by President Trump in 2017, to require federal agencies to submit all disqualifying records. The bill also incentivizes states to improve their overall reporting and directs more federal funding to the accurate reporting of domestic violence records.

According to NSSF, “a background check is only as good as the records in the database.” Including these missing records will ensure more accurate and complete background checks — helping to prevent illegal firearms transfers. Several states still do not fully submit their disqualifying records to help keep firearms from falling into the hands of those prohibited by law from purchasing them.

“The NSSF is committed to making sure the background check system works as intended,” said Joe Bartozzi, NSSF president, “as such, we’re proud to have been the driving force behind getting the information into the NICS database so firearm retailers can be confident the background checks they run are complete, correct and up to date. This is just one example of how the industry is doing its part to keep guns out of the wrong hands.

ALFRED B. PETTIT JR.

Gloversville