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Representative Dingell Pushes For NICS Reform

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Last week, U.S. Representatives John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) introduced H.R. 4757. And while a bill with Carolyn McCarthy’s name on it is usually bad news for gun owners, this one would actually take positive, corrective steps to improve the ailing National Instant Check System (NICS). H.R. 4757 seeks to improve the operation of NICS by pressuring all 50 states to ensure NICS has instant access to the records of individuals who are prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Unfortunately, some within the anti-gun community, including members of the media, are misclassifying this legislation as an expansion of gun control. However, as Rep. McCarthy told the Los Angeles Times, "Basically, we’re just going to enforce the current gun laws." The agenda of those who misidentify this legislation as "something of an expansion," such as Kristen Rand of the extremist Violence Policy Center, is unclear, but some may be doing so in an attempt to harm Representative Dingell’s reelection campaign by trying to weaken support for him among gun owners. In fact, it is because of Rep. Dingell’s involvement with the shaping of this legislation that it became a positive, productive measure.

Regardless of how the anti-gun community wishes to try to spin H.R. 4757, the bill should help to improve NICS performance. By making sure the system has instant access to any relevant and legally permissible records necessary to determine if an individual is prohibited from possessing a firearm, law-abiding gun purchasers should experience fewer delays, while firearms can be successfully denied to violent criminals and those adjudicated mentally incompetent.

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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.