Dear Senators Coons and Cornyn,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our support for your bill, S. 675, the “NICS Denial Notification Act.”
Our nation’s 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 Federally. 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. This 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, Pennsylvania is a “point of contact” State. This means the State authorities conduct background checks rather than Federal officials and are able to, when appropriate, take further enforcement actions against those who try to purchase a firearm unlawfully. 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 356,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I thank you both for your continued leadership and support of law enforcement. I look forward to working with you and your staffs 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 Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington office.