The House is scheduled to vote Thursday on a bipartisan proposal to bolster the background check system for gun sales.
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Unveiled late Wednesday, the legislation would provide $19.5 million in additional grant money to help states submit records to a national FBI database designed to block gun sales to certain criminals and the severely mentally ill.
Supporters of the measure said the funding is vital to keeping firearms out of the hands of potentially dangerous people – an issue highlighted in tragic fashion by last Friday’s deadly shooting rampage in Santa Barbara, Calif.
“The background check system is only as good as the data you put in it. And right now, all the information isn’t getting in,” said Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), a chief sponsor of the bill and the head of the Democrats’ task force to prevent gun violence. “When the information doesn’t get into the system, we can’t enforce the law, and dangerous people who otherwise wouldn’t pass a background check can slip through the cracks and buy guns.”
The other sponsors of the bill are Reps. Pete King (R-N.Y.), Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), Joe Heck (R-Nev.), Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Mike Quigley (D-Ill.).