Trump should restore funding for gun background checks to prevent more mass shootings, Sen. Schumer says

  Sen. Chuck  Schumer displays a poster showing U.S. school shootings.
Sen. Chuck Schumer displays a poster showing U.S. school shootings. Photo Credit: Webster Hall

In light of the mass shooting at the Parkland, Florida, high school that took 17 lives, Sen. Chuck Schumer on Sunday called on the president to rethink his proposed cuts to programs designed to prevent more gun deaths.

Schumer said President Donald Trump’s federal budget proposal would slash 16 percent from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, used by law enforcement agencies to review data on individuals who may be prohibited from carrying a handgun.

The senator, who spoke next to a poster of a map depicting all of the school shootings that took place since January, said this was the wrong area to save the federal government money.

“At a time when mass shootings are on the increase, the cuts are appalling,” Schumer said at his Manhattan office.

The cuts would specifically affect the National Criminal Records History Improvement Program (NCHIP) and the NICS Act Record Improvement Program, which are currently funded at $73 million, according to the senator. Both programs give state and local governments the most accurate records from the federal criminal database.

Schumer said several police departments, including the NYPD, have used the system to prevent hundreds of shootings and it should get more funding.

“The system needs to work. The states need those dollars,” he said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed and called the president’s cuts “reckless.”

“Now, instead of taking action to keep our children safe, President Trump is trying to make it easier for individuals who commit serious crimes and those who are dangerously mentally ill to buy guns. It’s as shocking as it is dangerous,” he said in a statement.

Trump’s weekend tweets placed blame on the FBI and other law enforcement agencies for failing to stop alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz, sparking loud criticism from people across the country that includes many of the survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

At a rally Saturday in Fort Lauderdale, student Emma Gonzalez called out the president, the National Rifle Association and Congress for failing to enact common sense gun-control legislation.

Schumer praised the students and called on his fellow elected officials to work together on those reforms.

“I will do whatever I can to protect the lives of our citizens,” he said.