Stronger gun background checks welcome, but more work needed

Stronger gun background checks welcome, but more work needed

Dylann Roof’s pistol sits on the backseat of his car after his arrest for the Emanuel AME Church shooting in June 2015. Provided A better coordinated background check system might have saved the lives of nine men and women who were killed at Emanuel AME Church in June 2015. It is disappointing that little was done to reform the system for more than three years after a tragedy that shook the city and the nation. Recently, however, the FBI announced it would take long overdue steps to ensure more comprehensive background checks that integrate a wider array of local law enforcement records. It’s a desperately needed effort. The various errors that let Dylann Roof purchase a gun despite an arrest on drug charges are complicated to concisely explain. It’s possible that even the strongest background check may have missed red flags. But a string of human errors ultimately left nine people dead. We owe it to their families and friends to better ensure that as many would-be murderers as possible are blocked from buying deadly weapons. The FBI plan would open up the National Data Exchange, which contains more than 400 million records, for use as part of its National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Unfortunately, rolling out the changes nationwide could take as long as two years. Time is of the essence. Sifting through additional records could also cause delays, according to FBI officials. The NICS system sorted through about 25 million background checks last year, most of […]

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