NEWTOWN, Conn. — The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industries, today commended President Donald Trump and Congress for signing into law the omnibus legislation containing Fix NICS and Stop School Violence provisions. Both legislative measures were called for by President Trump and supported by NSSF as measures to help ensure firearms remain beyond the reach of prohibited individuals while respecting the rights of law-abiding firearms owners and working to keep children safe.
“The legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump is a true achievement to making communities safer while respecting individual rights,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president for government and public affairs and general counsel. “This law will enable the FBI’s background check system to work as intended, a longstanding goal for the firearms industry, as well as providing resources to states to improve mental health and intervention services critical to enabling authorities to proactively address potential threats in their communities.”
NSSF thanks Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) for his leadership to reach across party lines and gain support from 77 senators to make true changes that make communities safer while respecting constitutional rights.
“Fixing the background check system will help save lives and reduce the likelihood of what occurred in Parkland and Sutherland Springs from happening again,” said Sen. Cornyn in a press release.
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) praised legislation for the measures to work with states to ensure all disqualifying mental health and criminal records are uploaded to the FBI and resources are available to intervene to prevent tragedies witnessed in Florida.
“This bill fixes and fully funds the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background System (NICS), a critical step to keep guns out of the hands of people with a criminal history,” Speaker Ryan said in a press release. “It implements key provisions of the STOP School Violence Act to fund Department of Justice grant programs that help keep schools safe. Overall, the bill provides more than $2.3 billion in new funding for mental health, training, and school safety programs.”
NSSF launched the FixNICS® campaign in 2013 and worked successfully to reform laws in 16 states, resulting in an increase in the number of disqualifying mental health records in NICS to nearly 5 million, from about 1.7 million, a 200 percent increase. NSSF previously endorsed S. 2135, the Fix NICS Act by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), which topped 77 cosponsors. NSSF also endorsed H.R. 4909, the Stop School Violence Act, which overwhelmingly passed the U.S. House of Representatives. Both bills were merged with the omnibus legislation and are now law.
The legislation includes several other crucial provisions to important to hunters and recreational shooting. NSSF supported the inclusion of an additional $10 million for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to aide in reducing administrative backlogs. The legislation also affirms the policy that the Centers for Disease Control is enabled to study firearms, but that any study must adhere to longstanding restrictions of advocacy. Increased access to public lands for hunters and recreational shooters was included.
NSSF worked with Congress to include the Making Public Lands Public Act as a provision. This initiative ensures a portion of funds are permanently made available from the Land and Water Conservation Fund for land acquisition to ensure the public has access to the more than 38 million acres of isolated public lands either through ownership of private properties or geographic boundaries. NSSF is also proud to support the inclusion of the “Hunt Unrestricted on National Treasures” (HUNT) Act in the Omnibus, which would improve access to federal lands for hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation by directing federal public land management agencies to identify federal lands where hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation are permitted but where access is unavailable or significantly restricted.