Statement of Violence
Policy Center in Response to GAO Report: "Less Time Means More Domestic
Post story, "Domestic Abusers Bought Guns," unequivocally demonstrates
that law enforcement officials need more time, not less time, to ensure
that domestic abusers are prevented from purchasing firearms in connection
with background checks required by the Brady Law. In response to the story
and the important information contained in the General Accounting Office
(GAO) report, the Violence Policy Center (VPC) issued the following statement:
"The Violence Policy
Center has consistently opposed efforts to shorten the time provided
in the Brady Law to complete background checks from the current three
business days. Although an overwhelming majority of background checks
are completed within minutes, a sale may be delayed for up to three
business days when there is a question whether someone is actually prohibited
from purchasing a gun.
"However, in 1999
the NRA first proposed slicing the time for researching criminal histories
from a maximum of three business days to 24 hours, which would virtually
guarantee that domestic abusers and other criminals would get guns.
The McCain-Lieberman gun show legislation also proposes to shorten the
time to 24 hours for certain background checks.
"The VPC supports
the GAO's recommendation to give law enforcement sufficient time�and
in no event less than three business days�to complete background checks.
As the GAO report documents, a large percentage of background checks
needing additional time involve domestic violence offenders, and a disproportionately
high percentage of domestic abusers were allowed to purchase guns because
law enforcement ran out of time to finish their background checks.
"The GAO report
also documents that there are serious policy reasons for preserving
three business days, although that is not even enough time in many cases
to complete the process when domestic violence crimes are involved.
Three business days is more than just a minor detail and it should not
be traded away for minimal political gains, especially when the lives
of women and children are at stake."
The Violence Policy Center is a
national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence
in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals.
The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research
on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related
death and injury.