Democratic lawmakers have introduced legislation that would enhance the nation’s background check system for the purchase of firearms.
Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) has been joined by two dozen other House members in support of the Fix Gun Checks Act of 2011, which would require all gun sellers to conduct background checks on buyers. In addition, the law would also impose tougher penalties on States that do not operate in compliance with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
If approved, the bill would create incentives for States that report records on criminals, mentally ill residents and other prohibited shoppers to the NICS.
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) introduced similar legislation last week. The bills are based on a proposal developed by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which is a coalition of 550 mayors led by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The campaign to tighten the country’s background check system took center stage following the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson, Ariz.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently reported that the number of background-check applications has significantly increased this year. The NICS processed approximately 4.25 million requests in the first quarter of 2011, which is a 16 percent increase from the same period in 2010, according to Bloomberg.
Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at BNY ConvergEx Group, told the media outlet that an increase in prospective gun buyers represents Americans’ doubts about the nation’s economic future. Similar to the reasons behind gold purchases, widespread interest in firearms reveals that many residents are wary of the nation’s stability.