WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) and Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas) today introduced legislation, The NICS Reporting Improvement Act of 2013, to clarify circumstances under which a person loses the right to receive or possess firearms based on mental illness.
The Senators noted that under current law certain mental incompetency adjudications are not required to be reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) which is the clearinghouse for all new gun purchases.
They also noted the NICS Reporting Improvement Act of 2013 applies to individuals whose cases are determined by an adjuctive body, such as a federal court, to be:
“The Alice Boland case is ‘Exhibit A’ of a broken background check system,” said Graham. “An individual who pleads ‘Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity’ should not be able to pass a federal background check and legally purchase a gun. As astonishing as it sounds, that actually happened. Our bill addresses the Boland case, and other similar instances, to ensure that those who have been declared an imminent danger to themselves or others aren’t legally able to obtain a firearm. I would expect overwhelming bipartisan support for our legislation.”
"I’m pleased that we have been able to bring together unlikely allies from outside the building and produce a common-sense, bipartisan bill that will help keep our communities safe while protecting our Second Amendment rights,” Begich said. “I have worked side by side with both the NRA and the mental health community to ensure that this bill will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people without stigmatizing the mentally ill or taking away individual rights. I hope today’s announcement serves as a reminder that if we roll up our sleeves and work together, we can still get things done around here.”
“We must strengthen the reporting process of mental health records so that those who should not have access to guns are barred from purchasing them,” said Flake. “Ensuring that more of these records are integrated into NICS will significantly improve the background check process.”
“I’m a strong supporter of 2nd amendment rights. That said, it’s evident that our background check system needs some improvements,” Pryor said. “Our bipartisan, common-sense bill will update the system, and ensure individuals who have been deemed “mentally incompetent” are not able to pass a background check and purchase firearms.”
The Senators also noted the legislation contains provisions to ensure Second Amendment rights are returned to individuals after they have recovered from their mental illness. The legislation also does not apply to persons in a mental institution for observation or those who voluntarily admit themselves to a psychiatric hospital.
Mr. President, I will not support increasing the debt limit until we address why we’re in debt.
I will never vote to raise the debt ceiling unless we produce real structural reforms to save Medicare and Social Security from bankruptcy and prevent our country from becoming Greece. It is now time for you to demonstrate leadership and embrace big ideas in a bipartisan way.
America is on an unsustainable path. To continue borrowing money without addressing our entitlement problems is irresponsible
The closure of Tanks 18 and 19 at Savannah River Site (SRS) is a proud accomplishment for the Site and Department of Energy (DOE). This milestone is a great tribute to the SRS workforce and a step forward in the cleanup process.
Eight years ago, I authored a provision in the United States Senate permitting DOE to clean up and close forty-nine, one-million gallon tanks at the Site. The measure passed by a single vote and was later signed into law by President Bush. This common-sense decision was good for the taxpayer saving billions of dollars and good for our environment.
The future is bright at SRS with the MOX facility, but we must contain costs. The Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF), which is key to future tank closures, is behind schedule and over budget. This problem must be solved. My vision for SRS in the 21st century is to make sure we continue to contribute to our national security and nuclear deterrent force through the MOX program and SRS National Lab.
Thank you to Senators DeMint, Chambliss and Isakson, as well as the members of the congressional delegation especially Wilson, Duncan and Clyburn, and the local community for the support. Hopefully, what we have done at Savannah River Site will be the model for cleanup throughout the country.
This is very good news and a recognition the rest of the country now understands what we’ve known all along -- Charleston Harbor deepening is a critical project for our state, region, and national economy. It is a vital economic engine which must be deepened so it can handle 24/7 the new, larger post-Panamax ships coming online.
Two years ago we were fighting hard for a $150,000 appropriation to keep the Charleston Port study alive and we were seemingly dead in the water. Turning it around has truly been a South Carolina team effort. Everyone has played a role from the local, state and federal level and shows what can happen when you work together.
I want to thank Governor Haley for her work in helping push Charleston’s case forward and creating a new, national vision for ports. She continually brought this issue up in her meetings with President Obama and Vice President Biden. She helped ensure this critical project was on their radar.
I also want to thank Charleston Mayor Joe Riley who has taken the time and effort to personally make the case to President Obama. Congressman Clyburn has used his influence to push this project forward and all the members of our congressional delegation - Tim Scott, Joe Wilson, Jeff Duncan, Trey Gowdy, and Mick Mulvaney - have stressed to our congressional leaders the importance of the Charleston port.
I also want to thank my Senate colleague Jim DeMint. In two years we have gone from a more parochial view of port deepening, where each state looked after their own interests, to one in which we are moving toward a more national vision for ports. In a post-earmarking environment, we have been able to prove to the Corps of Engineers, White House, and everyone with any stake in the matter, that Charleston Harbor deepening is a worthy project critical to our economy.
Today’s news is a strong step in the right direction and I appreciate the Obama Administration for making this happen but there remains more work to be done. I have been and will continue working with my congressional colleagues to help create a merit-based, national vision to deal with port expansion and modernization. There is beginning to emerge a roadmap which will be beneficial to Charleston and the nation as a whole. And let it be known the catalyst for the whole debate was Charleston Harbor deepening.
I'm very pleased the House of Representatives authorized Ex-Im Bank for another three years. Ex-Im allows American manufacturers to compete on a level playing field when it comes to selling their products overseas. Ex-Im benefits both large and small businesses and is available when regular financing is difficult to secure.
Eighty percent of the Boeing 787s produced in North Charleston will be sold to companies who are eligible for and routinely use Ex-Im financing. Boeing's competitor, Airbus, relies on three export-import banks located in France to help sell their airplanes to international customers.
One-third of the General Electric gas turbines produced in Greenville sold overseas use Ex-Im financing. In the case of Boeing and General Electric, the availability of Ex-Im financing is the difference between staying viable in South Carolina or dramatically reducing their business. Simply put, for South Carolina businesses like these to be successful in the international marketplace, Ex-Im has to be reauthorized.
I appreciate my House colleagues who voted to reauthorize the bank. The legislation they supported overhauls the bank's operations and helps ensure Ex-Im adheres to sound business practices. Over the last five years the bank has made more than $3.4 billion for the federal treasury above and beyond the costs of its operations.
I also respect those who chose a different path and voted against reauthorization. I believe American companies could compete and thrive in a world without Ex-Im Banks and this would be the ideal outcome. However, that world does not exist today.
Competitor nations have Ex-Im Banks far larger and more aggressive than ours. China's export bank is larger than many European nations combined. Canada, one-tenth the population of the United States has an Ex-Im Bank that is three times as large as the United States.
Like Ronald Reagan, I believe in ‘Trust but Verify.' But I see no evidence that competitor nations like China are getting out of the Ex-Im business and I cannot, in good conscience, support unilateral disarmament. In fact, I know if we unilaterally disarm they would only seek to increase their advantage.
In the Senate, I will enthusiastically support the House-passed legislation as I do not believe the United States can or should unilaterally disarm.
The American people, in both their private and business lives, have to live within a budget. Congress should do the same. Overall, the transportation bill which passed the Senate today did not meet that standard. It also missed opportunities to expand offshore drilling and pave the way for construction and eventual operation of the Keystone pipeline.
Seven months ago, the Budget Control Act (BCA) set spending levels, which were modest at best, to control spending. Today, the Senate transportation bill violated those spending levels. And efforts to bring the bill back into balance, like the amendments offered by Senators Corker and DeMint, failed.
I’m confident the House of Representatives will not accept the Senate legislation passed today. I am hopeful the House will bring the bill back into balance. If they are able to accomplish that goal, I will support the final legislation.