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Review Of NICS Record Keeping "Tremendous Step In The Right Direction"

Thursday, June 28, 2001

(WASHINGTON, DC) -- Today`s announcement that the U.S. Department of Justice is considering shortening the time that records of lawful firearms purchasers are kept in government files was welcomed as a "tremendous step in the right direction" by the National Rifle Association. The NRA vowed to participate fully in the 60-day comment phase of the proposed regulation to urge that personal information about lawful Americans be immediately destroyed, as intended by Congress in legislation establishing the National Instant Background Check System (NICS).

"This announcement is a tremendous step in the right direction," said James J. Baker, executive director of NRA`s Institute for Legislative Action. "The federal government has no business keeping files of personal information on lawful Americans who clear the NICS check. Congress clearly intended for those records to be destroyed to protect the privacy of law-abiding gun owners. The NRA will continue to pursue all available means to ensure that those personal records are destroyed immediately."

Baker pointed out the marked difference between the previous and current Administrations. "The Reno Department of Justice continually sought to increase government scrutiny of lawful Americans who exercised their right to own a firearm," Baker said, "while decreasing prosecutions of violent, armed criminals. It is refreshing that the new Attorney General supports the individual right of lawful Americans to own firearms and understands that the surest way to reduce violent crime is to focus efforts squarely on prosecuting violent criminals."

While pleased with today`s announcement, Baker called on NRA`s 4.3 million members and the nation`s 80 million gun owners to urge their elected officials to support immediate destruction of personal records of citizens who clear the background check. "There are still a lot of holdovers from the Reno era within the Department of Justice who think the federal government should maintain files on law-abiding Americans," Baker said. "While this Administration is clearly on the right track, NRA members will continue to work to see that those records are destroyed, as Congress intended."

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NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.