The Obama administration announced plans last Friday for more than $20 million in grants aimed at strengthening the national gun background check system.
The move is part of the President’s 23 proposals to bolster the country’s gun control laws, and comes as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has promised to bring a bill to the floor that would expand gun background checks, according to The Hill.
“As part of President Obama’s comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence, the administration is committed to enhancing and strengthening the national criminal record system in support of stronger firearm background checks,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.
“The Department of Justice intends to take immediate and effective action to work with states to fill gaps in information currently available to the NICS system,” he said.
The grants will attempt to improve the access of states and their ability to report key mental health information into the database, such as involuntary commitments to mental health facilities. It will also be used to try and increase the reporting of domestic violence records and outstanding felony and misdemeanor warrants from state officials, according to DOJ.
States will be encouraged to use the money to strengthen their electronic fingerprinting submission systems linked to federal systems as well, which include arrest histories.
FBI Director Robert Mueller, testifying before the House last week, told lawmakers that the number of requested background checks through NICS has increased from about 54,000 a day, to a current level of about 81,000 each day. Mueller said he has had to shift about 200 FBI employees to the NICS division to handle the increase in background check requests.