The National Instant Check System (NICS) is a database designed to keep guns out of the hands of felons and people with defined mental health problems who are found to be a danger to themselves or others. President Bush recently signed a new federal law called the NICS Improvement Act of 2007. It offers monetary incentives for states to enter their records into the national database. Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence says nationally only about 10% to 20% of people barred from buying guns for mental health reasons are actually in the system and 25% of felons or dishonorably discharged former military personnel — individuals that should show up in the database — are not listed. Helmke says the new law seeks to improve those numbers.
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage