March 5, 2008
Re: Full Funding for the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007
Dear Chairmen Obey and Mollohan and Ranking Members Lewis and Frelinghuysen:
We write in support of full funding for the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (Public Law No. 110-180), which authorizes funds for states to update the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
Particularly in the wake of the tragic events at Virginia Tech last year, it is clear we need to strengthen the integrity of our federal background check system and enforce the laws that prevent guns from falling into the hands of prohibited buyers. Unfortunately, many states today do not have the resources to effectively update and maintain criminal history and mental health records in NICS, allowing a number of prohibited gun purchasers to slip through the cracks.
The NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007, which was passed unanimously by the House and Senate and signed into law by President Bush on January 8, 2008, is a step in the right direction. This common sense law, if fully funded, can prevent future tragedies by simply providing states with the resources to update NICS. This law deserves the funds it requires.
As mayors, public safety is our highest priority. On behalf of the over 275 mayors who are members of the bi-partisan coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, representing more than 50 million Americans, we urge the Committee to appropriate full funding to implement the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007.
Thomas M. Menino
Mayor of Boston
Michael R. Bloomberg
Mayor of New York City