WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and U.S. Representative Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina) are pressing Attorney General Eric Holder on why the Department of Justice is prosecuting only a small fraction of the convicted felons and fugitives from justice who are failing background checks under the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
The South Carolina elected officials note:
- 76,142 individuals failed a gun purchase background check in 2010.
- 19 percent of the denials (13,862) were based on the applicant being a fugitive from justice.
- Another 2.5 percent (1,923) involved felons and unlawful firearms possession.
- Only 13 of the 76,142 failed background checks resulted in guilty pleas.
“While we understand that not every denial needs to be prosecuted, every case involving a fugitive from justice or felon in possession of a firearm should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” wrote Graham and Gowdy.
The South Carolina elected officials also requested a full breakdown of the Fiscal Year 2012 NICS denials and an explanation as to why so few cases are prosecuted. They acknowledged that if the problem is purely resource based Congress can assist in identifying funding in the current Department of Justice budget that could be dedicated to prosecuting this issue.
“Too many of the legislative proposals being mentioned thus far are driven by politics and have been proven ineffective in the past,” wrote Graham and Gowdy. “While we do not claim to know everything about gun violence, we do know that a common-sense solution does not involve limiting the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. Instead, we should focus on enforcing current law and keeping guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them.”