On December 4, 2017, National Fraternal Order of Police President Chuck Canterbury wrote a letter to House leadership in support of H.R. 4471, the “NICS Denial Notification Act.” This bill amends the federal criminal code to require the Department of Justice (DOJ) to report certain information to state and local law enforcement authorities following a determination, by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, that a prospective firearm purchaser is a prohibited person (i.e., a person who is prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm).
Text of letter:
Dear Representative Quigley,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our support for your bill, HR 4471, the “NICS Denial Notification Act.”
Our nation’s firearms laws are designed to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and every year, thousands of firearms sales are blocked because the attempted purchaser failed a background check run by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). When a prohibited person attempts to buy a firearm, they commit a crime. However, in many cases, it makes little sense to prosecute them. People unlawfully trying to purchase firearms is an obvious public safety issue and in many instances, these individuals may be well known to State and local law enforcement agencies. Your legislation would require the U.S. Department of Justice to notify State law enforcement and, when practicable, local law enforcement agencies when these attempts to buy a firearm are denied.
This information will allow State and local agencies to develop cases against these individuals, many of whom may be dangerous felons or domestic abusers. For example, Virginia and Pennsylvania are “point of contact” States. This means the State authorities conduct background checks rather than Federal officials. Law enforcement in Virginia arrested 500 criminals, fugitives, and others who tried to buy guns illegally in 2014. Pennsylvania law enforcement in 2013 had 620 investigations due to failed background checks. Of that number, 346 were arrested and 200 were convicted. By notifying State and local law enforcement of these illegal attempts to buy firearms, we will be able to better protect our communities from gun crime.
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. 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. If I can be of any additional assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or my SeniorAdvisor, Jim Pasco, in my Washington office.
Chuck Canterbury National President
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