Pelosi: 'Strong Bipartisan Support is a Step Forward in Improving Our Nation's Background Check System'

June 13, 2007
Press Release
Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement this afternoon after the House passed on a voice vote HR 2640, the National Instant Criminal Background System (NICS) Improvement Amendments Act of 2007:

'Nearly two months ago, a great tragedy befell the community of Virginia Tech, and our nation.  Thirty-two people lost their lives at the hands of a cold-blooded killer.  The victims - of different backgrounds, and different ages - represented the best of our country.  And our country was unified in its grief and prayers for all those who lost so much that day.  The magnitude of their loss is beyond comprehension.  This much is clear:  when gun violence takes away lives, we all suffer as a nation.

'As the Virginia Tech shooting reminded us, there is an urgent national need to improve the background check system to increase the likelihood that those who are barred from guns under current law do not acquire them.  Background checks are only as good as the data in the system.  Unfortunately, serious gaps exist in the transmittal of these records, allowing thousands of people who are barred from acquiring guns, including those who have been adjudicated as mentally ill, to escape proper background checks.

'The bill the House passed today with strong bipartisan support is a step forward in improving our nation's background check system.  It authorizes funding and provides practical steps to encourage states to provide timely and accurate information on individuals who are barred under current law from acquiring guns.   It requires the Attorney General to work with law enforcement and the mental health community to establish protocols for protecting the privacy of the information sharing.

'I hope the Senate takes up the bill immediately and sends it to the President's desk.'