US gov't grants $20m for gun background checks
Updated: 2013-03-23 04:53
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration will give states $20 million to strengthen the national gun background check system, as part of the White House's gun control proposals, announced the Justice Department on Friday.
The grants of $20 million, part of President Barack Obama's comprehensive package to reduce gun violence, will be given to incentivize state officials to share more information with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), said the department.
"The Department of Justice intends to take immediate and effective action to work with states to fill gaps in information currently available to the NICS system," said Attorney General Eric Holder in a statement.
Holder said the administration is committed to enhancing and strengthening the national criminal record system in support of stronger firearm background checks.
FBI Director Robert Mueller told lawmakers earlier this week that the number of requested background checks through NICS has increased from about 54,000 a day, to a current level of about 81,000 each day.
The Connecticut elementary school mass shooting last December has renewed gun control debate in the country. Obama announced in January a comprehensive gun-control package of administrative actions while directing Congress to take up legislation on an assault weapons ban, a magazine size limit and a universal background check requirement.
Democrats in the Senate are expected to finalize a package of gun reform legislation to be introduced in the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday he would not include a renewal of the federal assault weapons ban in the package, which signals the measure still lacks enough support in Congress.
Measures are expected to include providing more school safety aid, expanding federal background checks on gun sales and strengthening prosecution of illegal gun traffickers.