For Release: Wednesday, July 18, 2001
With Defeat of Moran 90-Day Retention Amendment Criminals Win Big
Washington, DC – The defeat today of Congressman Jim Moran’s (D-VA) amendment to the Commerce, Justice, State, and Judiciary Appropriations bill that would have required the retention of approved firearm purchase records generated by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for a 90-day period is a death certificate for the Brady Law, the Violence Policy Center (VPC) warned today. The retained records are used to audit the background check system to make sure it works and is not being misused. The audit log serves an important law enforcement function and is the key tool in preventing fraud and abuse of NICS. Without the audit log the FBI also cannot protect the privacy of all Americans, because there is no way to detect whether a dealer or anyone else is accessing NICS to run checks unauthorized on his friends and neighbors.
The Moran amendment would simply have maintained a rule finalized by the Clinton Administration in January 2001. Attorney General John Ashcroft twice suspended the rule unlawfully and then announced he was gutting it by requiring the destruction of records within 24 hours.
VPC Litigation Director and Legislative Counsel Mathew Nosanchuk states, “Today the U.S. House of Representatives chose the NRA over the FBI. This action will put guns into the hands of criminals, wife beaters, and the mentally disturbed guaranteed.”
Adds Nosanchuk, “Today’s defeat of the 90-day amendment is a win for criminals and corrupt gun dealers and a huge loss for the safety and privacy of the American people.”
The VPC has launched www.ashcroftgunwatch.org, the leading source of ongoing information on Ashcroft, his pro-gun activities and gun lobby ties, as well as his enforcement of current gun laws.