– Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) joined Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and a
bipartisan group of senators to introduce the NICS Denial Notification
Act, which would help states enforce existing laws against individuals
who attempt to purchase firearms but have no legal right to do so. This bill
would require federal authorities to alert state and local law enforcement
within 24 hours when an ineligible individual lies on a background check and
tries to purchase a firearm.
Federal officials are notified when individuals, including convicted felons,
fugitives, and domestic abusers, who are legally prohibited from purchasing a
firearm, try to buy a gun but fail a National Instant Criminal Background Check
System (NICS) background check. These attempted purchases often violate federal
and state laws.
Under current law, however, federal authorities are not required to notify
state law enforcement when a prohibited person attempts to buy a
gun. The NICS Denial Notification Act ensures
that state law enforcement receives notification when a prohibited person
attempts to purchase a firearm. It is critical to close this information gap
since state law enforcement investigates and prosecutes most of the firearm
denial cases in our justice system.
In the 13 states that utilize their own background check system, state
authorities are already aware when a prohibited person fails a background
check, and local law enforcement can then decide whether to investigate.
However, in the 37 states and the District of Columbia that rely on the NICS
system to determine if someone is a legally prohibited from possessing a
firearm, local authorities generally are not aware when an individual “lies and
tries” to purchase a firearm. Individuals who are willing to "lie and
try" to buy a firearm may be dangerous and more likely to obtain guns
through other means. As a result, these states and D.C. lack crucial law
enforcement intelligence that could be used to keep their communities safe.
The NICS Denial Notification Act would:
federal authorities to alert state law enforcement of background checks
denials, so that state authorities can decide whether to investigate and
prosecute these denied individuals.
- Require DOJ
to publish an annual report with statistics about its prosecution of
background check denial cases, so Congress and voters can hold federal
legislation is endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, the Major Cities
Chiefs Association, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the
National District Attorneys Association, the National Domestic Violence
Hotline, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Everytown for Gun
Safety, and Giffords.