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H.R. 3238 (ih) To name certain facilities of the United States Postal Service in Baltimore, Maryland. [Introduced in House] ...
108th CONGRESS 1st Session H. R. 3237 To improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and for other purposes. _______________________________________________________________________ IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 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, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS. (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 follows: Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents. Sec. 2. Findings. Sec. 3. Definitions. TITLE I--TRANSMITTAL OF RECORDS 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. TITLE II--FOCUSING FEDERAL ASSISTANCE ON THE IMPROVEMENT OF RELEVANT RECORDS Sec. 201. Continuing evaluations. TITLE III--GRANTS TO STATE COURT SYSTEMS FOR THE IMPROVEMENT IN AUTOMATION AND TRANSMITTAL OF DISPOSITION RECORDS Sec. 301. Disposition records automation and transmittal improvement grants. TITLE IV--GAO AUDIT Sec. 401. GAO audit. SEC. 2. FINDINGS. 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, 2003. (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 NICS. (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. SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS. 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 that-- (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 case; (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. TITLE I--TRANSMITTAL OF RECORDS SEC. 101. ENHANCEMENT OF REQUIREMENT THAT FEDERAL DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES PROVIDE RELEVANT INFORMATION TO THE NATIONAL INSTANT CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK SYSTEM. (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 following: ``(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 date. ``(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 General-- (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; and (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; and (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 institution.
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