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Amendment By Connecticut Rep Strengthens Funding For Gun Background Checks

U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty scored a legislative victory as her amendment passed to strengthen background checks on gun buyers.
U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty scored a legislative victory as her amendment passed to strengthen background checks on gun buyers. Photo Credit: File

DANBURY, Conn. - An amendment offered by U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-5th District) to strengthen funding for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System system passed with bipartisan support in the House of Representatives.

The House voted, 260-145, to pass her amendment last week.

Esty, who represents Danbury and Connecticut's Fifth District in Congress, introduced the amendment with the chairman of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.). Esty is a vice chairman .

“I’m proud that our commonsense amendment strengthening our country’s background check system received bipartisan support,” said Esty. “We’ve learned that the NICS database has incomplete data, allowing felons, people convicted of domestic abuse, and other restricted individuals to illegally buy firearms. At the very least, we need to make sure that the systems we have in place work.

"While our amendment is a good step, Congress’ inaction on other vital efforts to reduce gun violence remains inexcusable. We need to pass enhanced criminal background checks legislation, which will save lives and make our communities safer.”

NICS is the database used by states use to determine whether an individual is ineligible to purchase a firearm because they are a felon, a domestic abuser or seriously mentally ill.

According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, background checks have blocked more than 2.1 million gun purchases, including more than 291,000 by domestic abusers. Background checks prevent more than 171 convicted felons from purchasing firearms every single day.

Many states do not have adequate funding and resources to submit the most recent and comprehensive data to the NICS database. Esty’s amendment would increase funding for NICS by $19.5 million to meet the growing demand from states for financial assistance in updating the database.