WASHINGTON, April 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, today praised a bill introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey that would require longer retention of records in the Brady background check system and build in greater safeguards when background checks reveal someone suspected of terrorist activity.
The PROTECT (Preserving Records of Terrorist and Criminal Transactions) Act of 2008 would require the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to retain records of approved firearm transactions for at least 180 days. Under current Justice Department regulations and appropriations restrictions, those records must be destroyed within 24 hours. In cases where the transaction involves a valid match to a terror watch list, the FBI would be required to retain the record for a minimum of 10 years.
The courts have interpreted the Brady law to allow for the preservation of background check records in approved purchases for a reasonable period of time. Since 2004, the gun lobby has secured amendments to appropriations bills requiring those records to be destroyed within 24 hours.
"Most Americans cannot believe that a known or suspected terrorist can go through the Brady background check system and still buy guns," Helmke said. "By strengthening Federal record retention laws, Senator Lautenberg's bill will help stop terrorists and dangerous criminals from getting guns. I want to thank Senator Lautenberg for introducing this sensible legislation, and I urge Congress to move forward with it immediately. "
As the nation's largest, non-partisan, grassroots organization leading the fight to prevent gun violence, the Brady Campaign, with its dedicated network of Million Mom March Chapters, works to enact and enforce sensible gun laws, regulations and public policies. The Brady Campaign is devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities.
For continuing insight and comment on the gun issue, read Paul Helmke's blog at http://www.bradycampaign.org/blog/. Visit the Brady Campaign website at http://www.bradycampaign.org/.
Contact: Peter Hamm, 202-898-0792
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence