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Public Statements

Strengthening Background Checks Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. FITZPATRICK. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support the Strengthening Background Checks Act of 2013.

The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School has rightfully focused our collective attention on the question of how we can best prevent senseless gun violence. An important tool in preventing gun violence is the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, known as the NICS. We put in place this background check system to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, but our background check system is failing.

For example, the NICS database of mentally ill individuals has fewer than 20 percent of the records that it should have. This is unacceptable. If you are a violent criminal, you should fail a background check. If you've been involuntarily committed to a mental institution, you should fail a background check. If you've been convicted of domestic abuse, you should fail a background check--no one argues with that--but if the information is not in the database, then these dangerous individuals will get their hands on guns, which could lead to devastating consequences.

Mr. Speaker, my bill will improve incentives for States to partner with the Federal Government, and it will maintain an accurate, accessible, and up-to-date NICS. This is a strong step in the right direction, and it has the support of voices on both sides of the gun debate.

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