BELLEVUE, WA — A proposal that would reportedly update and strengthen the National Instant Check System (NICS) may not go far enough to protect the rights of American gun owners while apparently making it easier to prevent mentally ill persons from legally buying guns at retail outlets, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) said today.

One tenet of the contemplated “compromise” legislation, noted CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb, would reportedly allow persons whose names are in the NICS database for minor infractions that should not be disqualifiers to petition the states to have those entries removed.

“It should be up to the government to remove those persons from the NICS database automatically, at no cost to the the affected person,” Gottlieb stated. “Likewise, the Department of Veterans Affairs should be required to removed the names of some 83,000 veterans that it entered into the system seven years ago, for what the media have identified as ‘alleged mental health reasons.’ Soldiers should not have to petition or pay for that.

“More importantly,” Gottlieb added, “this proposal should fully restore the process through which citizens can get relief from disabilities (RFD) that prevent them from owning and buying firearms. Though the process remains on the books, there has been no implementing funding since 1991. People who have a mistake in their past, but have since been good citizens cannot get their rights restored. There should be a mechanism in place to allow funding of RFD investigations, even if the petitioner pays the costs himself.”

CCRKBA Public Affairs Director John Snyder also suggested that while the reported proposal offers funding to states to update their NICS data, and withholds funding from states that do not, there should be additional pressure on colleges and universities that refuse to allow legally-licensed students and instructors from carrying handguns for self-defense on campus to prevent further tragedies like the one at Virginia Tech.

“This proposal is in response to Virginia Tech,” Snyder noted, “and such tragedies might be stopped by legally armed students or professors. Schools that prohibit those citizens from defending themselves should have their federal funding withheld.”

CCRKBA will work with its contacts on Capitol Hill and in the firearms community to address these issues, Gottlieb noted.