March 5, 2018 — Today, Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, applauded Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Bill Nelson (D-FL) for introducing a bipartisan bill that will notify local law enforcement when a prohibited person attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Checks System (NICS). The bill, the “NICS Denials Notification Act of 2018,” will alert state and local law enforcement when an individual is denied a firearms purchase during their background check and enable authorities to use this critical information to pursue criminal charges or initiate a larger investigation.
“Ensuring that state and local law enforcement have all of the necessary information about who in their communities is attempting to purchase firearms unlawfully is critical for public safety,” said Robin Lloyd, Director of Government Affairs at Giffords. “The attempted purchase of firearms by a prohibited person is a potential violation of federal and state laws, and this bill will provide the information necessary for the enforcement of these laws. I applaud Senators Toomey and Coons for coming together in a bipartisan manner to sponsor legislation that will give law enforcement the tools they need to keep our communities safer from gun violence.”
Since the implementation of NICS, over 3 million people have been denied a firearm transfer. Of those, over 40% were due to an individual’s status as a convicted felon. Each of these attempted purchases is a potential violation of state and federal laws, but these crimes are rarely prosecuted. By informing state and local police and prosecutors of these attempted purchases, local authorities will have the ability to ensure these individuals face the appropriate charges and ensure they cannot obtain a firearm through other unregulated channels.