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National Fraternal Order of Police Endorses Bipartisan NICS Denial Notification Act

Feb 12, 2016
Press Release

Reps. Quigley and Meehan introduced bill to better enforce current gun laws

WASHINGTON – Today, the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) announced their support of the bipartisan NICS Denial Notification Act, H.R. 4320. U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley (IL-05) and Patrick Meehan (PA-07) introduced the bill in January. To see the full letter of support, click here
“I am honored and thankful for the endorsement of the NICS Denial Notification Act by the Fraternal Order of Police,” said Rep. Quigley. “It demonstrates the desire our state and local law enforcement officers have for additional resources that will help them thwart gun violence across the country. While no one grand solution exists to end all gun violence, we know that a combination of small but practical policy solutions can severely reduce it. I look forward to continuing efforts along with the Fraternal Order of Police to see this bill passed through Congress.”

“Our law enforcement personnel are on the front lines of the effort to combat gun violence, and I’m grateful for their support of this common-sense measure,” said Rep. Meehan. “It will help them get criminal offenders off the street and help them prevent felons who shouldn’t have guns from obtaining them.”

“On behalf of more than 330,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I thank you for your continued leadership and support of law enforcement,” said Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police in his letter of support to Rep. Quigley. “I look forward to working with you and your staff to get this bill through Congress and give State and local authorities additional tools to combat gun crime.” 

The NICS Denial Notification Act will help law enforcement better enforce current gun laws by establishing an alert system to notify state and local law enforcement when criminals break the law attempting to acquire a gun. The bill also calls for a federal study of background check denials, which will help develop a risk-assessment tool for law enforcement to use in identifying denied gun purchasers who pose a higher risk for future violence. 

The bill is also endorsed by Everytown for Gun Safety, Americans for Responsible Solutions, and the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association.

The Brady Act prohibits felons, domestic abusers, and the mentally ill from buying a gun by mandating background checks for all gun sales at licensed firearm dealers through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Since the NICS background check system became operational in 1998, 58 percent of denials were due to the applicant having been convicted of a felony, and an additional 14 percent were due to the applicant having a domestic-violence misdemeanor conviction or a domestic-violence restraining order. Each of these attempted purchases is a violation of federal and state laws, but these so-called “lie and try” crimes are rarely prosecuted. 

While these crimes are often considered low priority to federal prosecutors, the acquisition of firearms by prohibited individuals poses a significant risk to public safety in many communities. State and local police and prosecutors have a greater interest in learning when prohibited individuals in their communities are attempting to buy guns, particularly felons and domestic abusers. By informing state and local police and prosecutors when such individuals have attempted to buy guns, which the NICS Denial Notification Act will do, they can decide whether to pursue criminal charges, initiate investigations, or keep an eye on these individuals for signs of future criminal activity.

This is important because evidence shows that lie-and-try criminals are at elevated risk of committing subsequent violent crime. In 2008, the U.S. Department of Justice found that people who fail background checks were 28 percent more likely to be arrested in the five years after denial than in the five years before it.

Evidence also shows that when a prohibited individual fails a background check and is denied a gun, they then might attempt to acquire a firearm at a gun show, over the internet or through classified ads where background checks are not required. Automatically notifying state and local law enforcement when a prohibited individual attempts to acquire a gun would help law enforcement intercept a dangerous person before they acquire a weapon and commit a violent crime. Current efforts in some states to investigate denied firearm background checks demonstrate how such arrests can save lives. In 2014, Virginia arrested more than 500 criminals who attempted to purchase weapons illegally. In 2013, failed background checks in Pennsylvania led to 620 investigations, 346 arrests and more than 200 convictions.

As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Quigley has called on Congress to stand up to the gun lobby in America. Most recently, he co-authored a bipartisan background check bill that expands the existing background check system to cover all commercial firearm sales. He also introduced the Good Neighbor Gun Act, which would require the Department of Justice (DOJ) to establish a voluntary code of conduct for licensed gun dealers and create a national “Good Neighbor” certification for gun dealers who abide by a certain set of requirements. His signature legislation, the TRACE Act, cracks down on the illegal gun market by improving gun tracking data and provides law enforcement the tools it needs to enforce current gun laws. Rep Quigley believes Chicago’s gun violence epidemic demands a federal response. He has led bills to increase funding to public safety and combat gun violence in the Chicago area, and is an original sponsor of the Buyback our Safety Act to bolster gun buyback initiatives.

Rep. Meehan has a long record of supporting bipartisan efforts that reduce gun violence while protecting the rights of law-abiding Americans. He was a co-sponsor of bipartisan legislation authored by Sens. Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin that expanded background check requirements and included common-sense exemptions for transfers between friends and family members. Rep. Meehan worked with lawmakers of both parties to author legislation that stiffens penalties for so-called straw purchasers and takes on gun traffickers