August 25, 2021

Congressman Neguse Introduces Legislation to Secure Federal Background Check Process

The bill follows an FBI report Congressman Neguse requested after a Floridian woman traveled to Colorado, purchased a firearm and threatened local schools 

Washington, DC—Today, Congressman Joe Neguse, Vice Chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, introduced legislation to secure the federal background check process and keep Colorado communities safe. Following a 2019 incident in which an 18-year-old woman from Florida flew to Colorado and purchased a firearm, causing schools across the Front Range to be closed down due to her threats, Congressman Neguse has been working to fix flaws in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) which led to this event. Shortly after the 2019 incident, he requested a report from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), which was recently completed. The bill being unveiled today, the Secure Background Checks Act, formalizes recommendations outlined in that report to address flaws in the NICS system. 

Currently, the onus is on local retailers to determine whether someone is eligible to purchase a firearm in both the state of purchase and the purchaser’s state of residence. The Secure Background Checks Act would shift that burden to the federal background check system and prevent people who are ineligible under state laws from acquiring firearms. Congressman Neguse is joined in introducing the legislation by Representatives Ed Perlmutter, Madeleine Dean, Sheila Jackson Lee and Veronica Escobar. 

“We have a gun violence epidemic in our country today, and taking steps to prevent it is absolutely essential,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “By making this simple fix, we hope to improve the federal background check system and keep firearms out of the hands of folks who the law says shouldn’t have them. I hope that, in doing so, we can ensure our communities do not feel the tragic effects of gun violence in the future.”

“Strengthening the federal background check system is one of the many steps we can take to ensure guns stay out of the hands of dangerous individuals,” said Congressman Ed Perlmutter. “We must continue to examine gun violence incidents to better understand these threats and work to prevent future gun violence tragedies.”

“Far too many people have suffered in communities filled with gun violence and Congress has a necessary role to prevent future loss,” said Congresswoman Madeleine Dean. “This legislation will bring our federal background check system in sync with the requirements of all 50 states and reduce gun violence.”

“Background checks keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, but they’re only as strong as the weakest link in the system,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “This common-sense bill closes a simple one: if you’re too young to purchase a gun in your home state, a federal background check should catch that and help enforce those laws. We applaud Rep. Neguse for introducing this important fix that will ensure that our gun safety laws are being enforced.”

The bill is endorsed by: Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Colorado Ceasefire, March for Our Lives, Community Justice Action Fund, Newtown Action Alliance, Jr. Newtown Action Alliance, Violence Policy Center, CT Against Gun Violence, The Faith Community of Saint Sabina, Journey4ward, Vision Quilt, Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence, Sandy Hook Promise, Survivors Lead, Women Against Gun Violence, Franciscan Action Network, Ban Assault Weapons Now, WAVE Educational Fund, Orange Ribbons for Gun Safety, #NoRA  

Read the bill text here. See a 1-pager on the bill here. 

Read the full OIG report HERE.

In 2019, Congressman Neguse successfully advocated for robust funding for states to improve their criminal and mental health records as part of the National Instant Background Check System (NICS), funding that was included in the FY2020 funding package.