Sen. Chuck Schumer blasted President Trump’s budget proposal for stripping millions from the background check system used to prevent criminals and the mentally ill from getting guns.
The White House budget plan would strip 16% from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, Schumer said — cutting its budget from $73 million to $61 million.
“Our background check system is our line of defense. We need to make it better, and here Donald Trump is cutting it,” Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Sunday. “It’s just appalling.”
The system is used to conduct checks under a federal law requiring licensed gun dealers to do background checks before making a sale, to determine whether the buyer has a serious criminal record or has been adjudicated as mentally ill and ineligible to buy a gun.
“It means that people who shouldn’t get guns because they’re felons or adjudicated mentally ill will, because they’ll fall through cracks in the system,” Schumer said.
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After mass shootings like the Florida school massacre that killed 17 people last week, there have been calls to expand background checks to include online and gun show sales — but Democrats and Republicans have broadly supported the existing, more modest background check system.
Schumer, the Senate minority leader, called on Congress to reverse Trump’s cut and instead pump more money into the background check system.
“It is totally confounding,” Schumer said. “On so many things, they talk one way and then do cuts in the budget. It’s an act of just hypocrisy, over and over again.”
Last year, Trump also nixed an Obama administration rule that would have added 75,000 names to the NICS database by requiring the Social Security Administration to report names of people who are considered unfit to manage their own financial affairs because of their mental illnesses.