Senators promote law to standardize gun denial notifications |
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Deb Erdley

Three days after a pair of mass shootings rocked the nation, a bipartisan coalition of U.S. senators is promoting legislation that would standardize procedures for gun license denials across the country.

Pennsylvania is among 13 states that operate their own background checks on individuals attempting to purchase firearms using the FBI’s instant check system (NICS). Authorities in those states know when individuals fail background checks and can have state law enforcement investigate these cases. But in 37 other states, that’s not necessarily the case.

U.S. Senators Pat Toomey, R-Lehigh Valley, Pa., and Chris Coons, D-Del. said the proposed measure could improve gun safety laws and alert authorities in those 37 states when an individual who is prohibited from owning firearms files false statements to gain one.

“The NICS Denial Notification Act provides states with critical information to help them enforce existing laws against individuals who attempt to purchase firearms but have no legal right to do so,” Toomey and Coons said in a joint statement Tuesday. “Under this measure, federal authorities would now be required to alert state law enforcement within 24 hours when individuals ‘lie and try’ to purchase firearms, which can be a warning sign of additional criminal behavior.”

Organizations endorsing the proposal include: the Fraternal Order of Police, Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, National District Attorneys Association, Firearms Owners Against Crime, National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety and the Giffords Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

NICS Denial Notification Act co-sponsors include: Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

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