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H.R. 3238 (ih) To name certain facilities of the United States Postal Service in Baltimore, Maryland. [Introduced in House] ...

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  1st Session
                                H. R. 3237

 To improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and 
                          for other purposes.



                            October 2, 2003

 Mrs. McCarthy of New York (for herself, Mr. Dingell, Mr. Tom Davis of 
    Virginia, Mr. Conyers, Mr. Bereuter, Mr. Stupak, Mr. Shays, Mr. 
 Ferguson, Mr. Ford, Mr. King of New York, Mr. Langevin, Mr. Shaw, Mr. 
  Pascrell, Mr. Cunningham, Mrs. Tauscher, Mr. Foley, Mr. Souder, Mr. 
 Frank of Massachusetts, Mr. Moran of Virginia, Mr. Frost, Ms. Norton, 
 Mr. Berman, Mr. Nadler, Mr. Scott of Virginia, Mr. Watt, Ms. Lofgren, 
 Mrs. Capps, Mr. McGovern, Mr. McDermott, Mr. Israel, Mr. Meehan, Ms. 
    Jackson-Lee of Texas, Mr. Delahunt, Mr. Wexler, Mr. Weiner, Ms. 
Baldwin, Mr. Andrews, Mr. Emanuel, Mr. Bishop of New York, Mr. Schiff, 
and Mr. Case) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the 
                       Committee on the Judiciary


                                 A BILL

 To improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and 
                          for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,


    (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``NICS Improvement 
Act of 2003''.
    (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as 

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Findings.
Sec. 3. Definitions.

Sec. 101. Enhancement of requirement that Federal departments and 
                            agencies provide relevant information to 
                            the National Instant Criminal Background 
                            Check System.
Sec. 102. Requirements to obtain waiver.
Sec. 103. Implementation assistance to States.
Sec. 104. Penalties for noncompliance.

Sec. 201. Continuing evaluations.

Sec. 301. Disposition records automation and transmittal improvement 
                          TITLE IV--GAO AUDIT

Sec. 401. GAO audit.


    Congress finds the following:
            (1) Approximately 632,000 individuals were prohibited from 
        purchasing a firearm for failing a background check between 
        November 30, 1998 (the date the National Instant Criminal 
        Background Check System (NICS) began operating) and August 31, 
            (2) From November 30, 1998, through August 31, 2003, over 
        41,000,000 Brady background checks were processed through NICS.
            (3) Although most Brady background checks are processed 
        through NICS in seconds, many background checks are delayed if 
        the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) does not have 
        automated access to complete information from the States 
        concerning persons prohibited from possessing or receiving a 
        firearm under Federal or State law.
            (4) Approximately 23,000,000 criminal records are either 
        not automated or not accessible by NICS and another 15,000,000 
        criminal records that are automated and accessible are missing 
        critical data, such as arrest dispositions.
            (5) The primary cause of delay in NICS background checks is 
        the failure of the States to--
                    (A) update and make available criminal disposition 
                records; and
                    (B) provide automated access to information 
                concerning persons prohibited from possessing or 
                receiving a firearm because of mental illness, 
                restraining orders, or misdemeanor convictions for 
                domestic violence.
            (6) The failure of the States to provide automated access 
        to this information is principally caused by the States' 
        failure to--
                    (A) computerize information relating to criminal 
                history, criminal dispositions, mental illness, 
                restraining orders, and misdemeanor convictions for 
                domestic violence; or
                    (B) make such information available to NICS in a 
                usable format.
            (7) Helping States to automate these records will reduce 
        delays for law-abiding gun purchasers.
            (8) Twenty States have failed to automate all of their 
        felony criminal conviction records.
            (9) Only forty-five percent of the criminal history records 
        in the Interstate Identification Index, maintained by the FBI 
        and used by the NICS, have disposition information included.
            (10) Many States do not submit fingerprint-based records of 
        misdemeanor convictions that may disqualify a person from 
        possessing or receiving a firearm under section 922(g)(9) of 
        title 18, United States Code.
            (11) Forty States do not automate or make accessible 
        disqualifying mental health records to NICS.
            (12) Only ten States have provided disqualifying mental 
        health records to NICS. Of this group, eight States have 
        provided less than forty such records, one State has provided 
        approximately 1,600 such records, and only one State has 
        provided close to complete records by having submitted more 
        than 50,000 such records.
            (13) Eight States and four territories do not automate or 
        make accessible domestic violence restraining order records to 
            (14) Fourteen States do not automate or make accessible 
        domestic violence misdemeanor conviction records to NICS.
            (15) On March 12, 2002, the senseless shooting, which took 
        the lives of a priest and a parishioner at the Our Lady of 
        Peace Church in Lynbrook, New York, brought attention to the 
        lack of information sharing enabling Federal and State law 
        enforcement agencies to conduct a complete background check on 
        a potential firearm purchaser. The man who committed this 
        double murder had a prior disqualifying mental health 
        commitment and a restraining order against him, but passed a 
        Brady background check because NICS did not have the necessary 
        information to determine that he was ineligible to purchase a 
        firearm under Federal or State law.


    As used in this Act, the following definitions shall apply:
            (1) Court order.--The term ``court order'' includes--
                    (A) a court order (as described under section 
                922(g)(8) of title 18, United States Code; and
                    (B) a protection order (as defined under section 
                2266(5) of title 18, United States Code.
            (2) Mental health terms.--The terms ``adjudicated as a 
        mental defective'', ``committed to a mental institution'', and 
        related terms have the meanings given those terms in 
        regulations implementing section 922(g)(4) of title 18, United 
        States Code, as in effect on the date of enactment of this Act.
            (3) Misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.--The term 
        ``misdemeanor crime of domestic violence''--
                    (A) has the meaning given the term in section 
                921(a)(33) of title 18, United States Code;
                    (B) includes any Federal, State, or local offense 
                            (i) is a misdemeanor under Federal, State, 
                        local, or tribal law or, in a State that does 
                        not classify offenses as misdemeanors, is an 
                        offense punishable by imprisonment for a term 
                        of 1 year or less or punishable only by a fine 
                        regardless of whether or not the State statute 
                        specifically defines the offense as a crime of 
                        domestic violence;
                            (ii) has, as an element of the offense, the 
                        use or attempted use of physical force, such as 
                        assault and battery, or the threatened use of a 
                        deadly weapon; and
                            (iii) was committed by a current or former 
                        spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, by a 
                        person with whom the victim shares a child in 
                        common, by a person who is cohabiting with or 
                        has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, 
                        parent, or guardian, or a person similarly 
                        situated to a spouse, parent, or guardian of 
                        the victim; and
                    (C) does not include a crime described under 
                subparagraph (A) if--
                            (i) the person was not convicted by the 
                        jurisdiction in which the proceeding was held;
                            (ii) the person was not represented by 
                        counsel in the case and did not knowingly or 
                        intelligently waive the right to counsel in the 
                            (iii) in the case of a prosecution for 
                        which a person was entitled to a jury trial in 
                        the jurisdiction in which the case was tried--
                                    (I) the case was not tried by a 
                                jury; and
                                    (II) the person did not knowingly 
                                or intelligently waive the right to 
                                have the case tried by a jury, by 
                                guilty plea, or otherwise; or
                            (iv) the conviction has been expunged or 
                        set aside, or is an offense for which the 
                        person has been pardoned or has had civil 
                        rights restored unless--
                                    (I) the pardon, expungement, or 
                                restoration of civil rights expressly 
                                provides that the person may not ship, 
                                transport, possess, or receive 
                                firearms; or
                                    (II) the person is otherwise 
                                prohibited by the law of the 
                                jurisdiction in which the proceedings 
                                were held from receiving or possessing 
                                any firearms.



    (a) In General.--Section 103(e)(1) of the Brady Handgun Violence 
Prevention Act (18 U.S.C. 922 note) is amended--
            (1) by striking ``Notwithstanding'' and inserting the 
                    ``(A) In general.--Notwithstanding'';
            (2) by striking ``On request'' and inserting the following:
                    ``(B) Request of attorney general.--On request'';
            (3) by striking ``furnish such information'' and inserting 
        ``furnish electronic versions of the information described 
        under subparagraph (A)''; and
            (4) by adding at the end the following:
                    ``(C) Quarterly submission to attorney general.--If 
                a department or agency under subparagraph (A) has any 
                record of any person demonstrating that the person 
                falls within one of the categories described in 
                subsection (g) or (n) of section 922 of title 18, 
                United States Code, the head of such department or 
                agency shall, not less frequently than quarterly, 
                provide the pertinent information contained in such 
                record to the Attorney General.
                    ``(D) Information updates.--The agency, on being 
                made aware that the basis under which a record was made 
                available under subparagraph (A) does not apply, or no 
                longer applies, shall--
                            ``(i) update, correct, modify, or remove 
                        the record from any database that the agency 
                        maintains and makes available to the Attorney 
                        General, in accordance with the rules 
                        pertaining to that database; or
                            ``(ii) notify the Attorney General that 
                        such basis no longer applies so that 
the National Instant Criminal Background Check System is kept up to 
                    ``(E) Annual report.--The Attorney General shall 
                submit an annual report to Congress that describes the 
                compliance of each department or agency with the 
                provisions of this paragraph.''.
    (b) Provision and Maintenance of NICS Records.--
            (1) Department of homeland security.--The Department of 
        Homeland Security shall make available to the Attorney 
                    (A) records, updated not less than quarterly, which 
                are relevant to a determination of whether a person is 
                disqualified from possessing or receiving a firearm 
                under subsection (g) or (n) of section 922 of title 18, 
                United States Code, for use in NICS background checks; 
                    (B) information regarding all the persons described 
                under paragraph (1)(A) who have changed their status to 
                a category not identified under section 922(g)(5) of 
                title 18, United States Code, for removal, when 
                applicable, from the National Instant Criminal 
                Background Check System.
            (2) Department of justice.--The Attorney General shall--
                    (A) ensure that any information submitted to, or 
                maintained by, the Attorney General under this section 
                is kept accurate and confidential, as required by the 
                laws, regulations, policies, or procedures governing 
                the applicable record system;
                    (B) provide for the timely removal and destruction 
                of obsolete and erroneous names and information from 
                the National Instant Criminal Background Check System; 
                    (C) work with States to encourage the development 
                of computer systems, which would permit electronic 
                notification to the Attorney General when--
                            (i) a court order has been issued, lifted, 
                        or otherwise removed by order of the court; or
                            (ii) a person has been adjudicated as 
                        mentally defective or committed to a mental 

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