Dingell: NICS Improvements will Benefit Both Lawful Gun Owners and Law Enforcement
Congressman John D. Dingell (D-MI15) released the following statement this evening after the House passed Senate amendments to H.R. 2640, the National Instant Criminal Background System (NICS) Improvement Amendments Act of 2007, which will now go to the President for his signature:
"Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY04) and I first offered this legislation in 2002, when it became obvious to us that the NICS System was not working as Congress had intended it to. Those shortcomings were highlighted earlier this year when a gunman with a history of mental illness shot and killed thirty-two people and wounded many more. Cho Sun Hui had been adjudicated mentally ill by the state of Virginia, and under the law should not have been able to purchase the guns he used to kill his classmates. This legislation will ensure that individuals like Cho Sun Hui are included in the NICS database.
"This legislation will also benefit lawful gun purchasers, many of whom face unnecessary delays when waiting for their background check to be completed. For the first time since the creation of NICS, it will live up to its name and be both national and instant. It also benefits those who have been wrongfully included in the NICS database by providing a mechanism for petitioning the government for removal from the system. This is an important improvement which will strengthen the Second Amendment rights of all Americans.
"There are many people who should be thanked for their hard work on this bill, but I would like to take just a moment to recognize a few of those people. Representative McCarthy and I have worked on NICS improvement legislation for a few years now and while most would say we are an odd pair when it comes to this particular issue, I would suggest we are just two legislators trying to fix a legitimate problem. I have tremendous respect for Representative McCarthy; it has been an honor and privilege to work with her. I would also like to thank Senator Chuck Schumer for his hard work and dedication. Lastly, I would like to thank the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA's support for this legislation has been invaluable and is a testament to the NRA's commitment to passing sensible and responsible legislation to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill."