The House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science appropriated $12 million -- more than double the previous fiscal year -- for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System's (NICS) Fiscal Year 2013 budget today. The FY2012 appropriation was only $5 million.
While the figure is much less than what Democrats running the House have appropriated ($16.6 million in FY2011, for example), today's doubling of the FY2012 appropriation is a significant development by the Republican-controlled House. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY4), one of Congress's leading voices in favor of measures to reduce gun violence, offered praise for the move.
"We have a very long way to go to reduce the 30-plus Americans that die by gunfire every day," said Rep. McCarthy, who worked with the NRA and President George W. Bush to have her NICS Improvement Act signed into law in 2007. "And our criminal background check system is still woefully underfunded. But I applaud House appropriators for moving us in the right direction towards a better funded system that will help prevent crimes and save lives in the future. This appropriation is a significant move and a long-overdue signal that there are people in Congress thinking about how to reduce gun violence in our nation."
Rep. McCarthy is the House sponsor of the Fix Gun Checks Act, which would strengthen the nation's Instant Criminal Background Check System by (a) requiring a background check for every gun sale in America and (b) implementing a set of incentives and penalties for states to put the names of dangerous criminals and the dangerously mentally ill into the no-buy gun database.