Press Release

Giffords Applauds Introduction of Bipartisan Legislation to Notify State and Local Authorities when Prohibited People Lie while Attempting to Buy a Gun

March 26, 2019Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, applauded Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) for introducing legislation to notify state and local law enforcement when a prohibited firearm purchaser fails a background check at a licensed dealer. Earlier this month, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), along with Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) filed companion legislation, H.R. 1631, the NICS Denial Notification Act.

“A person prohibited from owning a firearm bold enough to lie trying to beat a background check is a significant federal crime. It is also actionable intelligence that can help cops to prevent other crimes,” said David Chipman, senior policy advisor at Giffords and a retired ATF Special Agent of 25 years. “Right now, if someone is denied by the FBI, state and local law enforcement are left in the dark. And in the rare cases when they are alerted, it’s often too late. This is unacceptable and passing this commonsense bill is a no-brainer. We applaud Senators Toomey and Coons for having the courage to introduce this bipartisan bill that seeks to keep our communities safe from gun violence.”

Currently, federal gun laws prevent prohibited individuals, like those with violent criminal histories, from lying on Form 4473, the form ATF uses to complete background checks. While federal law enforcement is notified of these denials, current law does not ensure that state or local law enforcement is made aware of these situations. This prompt notification of local law enforcement can help ensure the prohibited purchaser does not attempt to access firearms in other ways, like through an unregulated private sale or over the internet. Increasing transparency by notifying state and local law enforcement gives them more time to help prevent prohibited buyers from getting their hands on a gun to commit violent crimes.

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