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Funding cuts for background checks in President Donald Trump's new budget proposal would make it more difficult for states to compile criminal records of prospective gun owners. (Photo: Erik Jaeger/Flickr/cc)

As Nation Suffers 18th School Shooting in 45 Days, Trump Budget Would Slash Funding for Background Checks

The president's 2019 budget would cut allocations to enhance national database system by 16 percent

Julia Conley

As a Florida community reels from the nation's latest mass shooting—the 18th school shooting in the first 45 days of 2018—President Donald Trump is pushing for a new federal budget that would call for cuts to programs that aim to keep guns out of the hands of people with criminal records.

The National Criminal Records History Improvement Program and the NICS Act Record Improvement Program provide funding to states to improve their reporting of domestic violence and other violent crimes in order to include perpetrators in the national background check database for gun purchases.

While not all Americans agree on gun laws, roughly 90 percent of Americans support universal background checks. Trump's budget would slash funding that improves background checks by about 16 percent, from $73 million to $61 million.

"President Trump claims that he wants to build 'a safe, strong, and proud America' but his actions do not live up to his words," Robin Lloyd of Giffords, the gun safety advocacy group, told the Huffington Post. "Instead of strengthening the nation's background check system to make sure it effectively keeps guns out of dangerous hands, he slashed funding to this critically important system, which will significantly undermine its effectiveness."

The shooting that killed 26 people at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas last September offered clear evidence of the importance of a strong background check system. The gunman had been convicted of domestic abuse but the crime did not show up in a background check because the Air Force, from which he'd been discharged, hadn't entered it.


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