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Topics: National News

Gov't offers $20 million for gun background checks

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Photo -   Elvin Daniel, right, whose sister Zina was killed by her husband last October at a Brookfield spa, said the tragedy could have been avoided if the law required background checks for private transactions of guns during a news conference with law enforcement officials and some Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. Jon Richards, left, Thursday, March 21, in Madison, Wis. Democrats have a new proposal that would make it illegal to purchase or transfer guns without running background checks. (AP Photo/Kevin Wang)
Elvin Daniel, right, whose sister Zina was killed by her husband last October at a Brookfield spa, said the tragedy could have been avoided if the law required background checks for private transactions of guns during a news conference with law enforcement officials and some Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. Jon Richards, left, Thursday, March 21, in Madison, Wis. Democrats have a new proposal that would make it illegal to purchase or transfer guns without running background checks. (AP Photo/Kevin Wang)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Focusing on a key gun issue, the Justice Department will offer states more than $20 million to strengthen the background checks designed to keep guns from being sold to potentially dangerous people.

States are critical to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. They keep criminal histories and records of people barred from having guns because of domestic violence or for mental health reasons.

The $20 million would help fill information gaps by improving reporting to the national system on involuntary commitments to mental health facilities, felony convictions, misdemeanor convictions for domestic violence, domestic violence restraining orders and active criminal warrants.

Congress is debating whether to expand the background check system, which applies only to sales by federally licensed gun dealers, not private transactions at gun shows or online.

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