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Connecticut Delegation Announces $2.2 Million To Strengthen State Background Checks

(Hartford, CT) – The Connecticut Congressional Delegation today announced $2.2 million in funds from the U.S. Department of Justice to improve the quality, completeness and accessibility of criminal history records that feed the state and nation’s background check systems.

The funds will support four projects, including:

1)     strengthening of the state Judicial Branch’s protection order registry;

2)     implementation of a web-based interface for criminal court clerks to record and disseminate convictions, mental health adjudications and other dispositions, increasing the number of mental health and criminal disqualification records available to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System used for determining eligibility to purchase a firearm;

3)     strengthening of Probate Court case management to ensure complete, timely records are transmitted to NICS; and

4)     modernization of the State Police Bureau of Identification’s Criminal Records Unit and Fingerprinting Unit.

“A background check system is only as strong as the information it relies on—a reality that we have seen play out across the country with devastating consequences as individuals who should have been disqualified from purchase have been able to access deadly weapons and commit atrocious acts of violence. Incomplete or inaccessible records mean that serious, dangerous red flags may be overlooked, with the potential for catastrophic results. I applaud Connecticut for its proactive leadership in strengthening and streamlining the collection and dissemination of these vital records, and I commend the U.S. Department of Justice for funding this life-saving work. Unfortunately, our background-check systems remain riddled with loopholes that, even with the best and most comprehensive data, can fatally undermine the ability of these systems to safeguard the public. Congress must pass legislation requiring universal background checks immediately,” Blumenthal said.

“More background checks mean more lives saved - plain and simple. With this new funding, Connecticut cities and towns will be safer because our background check system will be more effective at keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. Our existing background system prevents 100,000 criminals and domestic abusers from purchasing guns each year, but the continued scourge of gun violence across our country has made it all too clear that these checks need to be strengthened,” said Murphy. “I’d like to thank the Department of Justice for their commitment to ensuring that background checks continue to save lives.”

“This is great news for improving the safety of our communities. Stronger background checks will ensure protection orders and firearm purchases are handled securely and in a timely fashion. We in Connecticut know the benefit of these programs. I commend the Department of Justice for investing in this vital tool to help keep Connecticut safe,” Larson said.

 “This funding is critically important to the smooth and timely functioning of Connecticut’s justice system,” DeLauro said. “I am particularly pleased that a portion of the money will help improve our system of doing background checks for firearm purchasers. As we have done in so many other areas, Connecticut is leading the way and proving that comprehensive background checks can be done in a commonsense, responsible, speedy manner.”

"These funds to modernize our background check system will help our state reduce the number of firearms falling into the hands of dangerous criminals.  Modernizing the system to link with federal databases is an important step to help our police keep our communities safer,” Courtney said.  

 “These funds help Connecticut remain a leader in the fight against gun violence,” said Himes. “Every time we keep a gun out of the hands of someone who should not legally possess it, we may be saving the life of someone’s parent or child.  This helps our efforts to close every loophole, make background checks universal and strengthen our mental-health support systems. We are in this fight for the long haul, make no mistake about it, and announcements like today’s show that we are making steady, incremental progress toward a safer state and nation.”  

 “Enhanced criminal background checks save lives and make our communities safer,” said Esty, vice chair of the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. “Connecticut has taken multiple concrete steps to lead the nation in effective gun violence prevention measures – strengthening our state’s background check system is yet another vital piece in our overall efforts to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerously ill individuals. I applaud today’s announcement and will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on reforms that keep our communities safe.”