Opinion Piece from her District's newspaper. http://www.antonnews.com/threevillagetimes/2008/08/08/opinion/mccarthy.html Introduces Bill Requiring Background Checks for Gun Store Employees Offering the first significant gun legislation since the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling on the District of Columbia v. Heller, (the landmark case outlining the legality of gun laws) Representative Carolyn McCarthy (NY-4) has introduced a commonsense bill that tightens the criminal background check system by requiring background checks for all gun store employees and dealers. These background checks would likely be conducted through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and would ensure that people selling guns are not prohibited from buying guns because they don't meet the legal guidelines and criteria. An outgrowth of the bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Illegal Guns and the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Summit, McCarthy introduced H.R. 6676, calling for gun store employees to go through the same background check system as those who wish to purchase guns. Federal law clearly prohibits felons, domestic violence misdemeanants, and other persons from possessing or transferring a firearm. However, there is no current requirement that federally licensed gun dealers perform criminal background checks on employees to determine whether they are persons prohibited from possessing guns. This bill will make it unlawful for a licensed dealer to authorize an employee hired on or after the effective date to possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition in the course of employment, unless the dealer receives notice that the attorney general has determined that receipt of a firearm by the employee would not be unlawful. Such notification could come in the form of a "greenlight" result from a NICS background check. "We need to make sure that we keep guns out of the hands of the people that can do the most harm with them," said McCarthy. "Specifically, if it has been determined that someone does not have the right to legally own a gun because of a previous criminal conviction or having been adjudicated as mentally ill, we need to make sure that they are not a part of the gun sale process at any point. This bill will make it harder for the wrong people to get their hands on guns and will keep our communities safer." With insight from the nation's mayors, this bill is part of a larger bipartisan Congressional effort to stem the problems of gun violence and illegal gun ownership throughout the nation. In addition to H.R. 6676, three other bills have been offered, including laws that would prevent the practice of "fire sales," making it illegal for those known or suspected terrorists to buy guns and closing the gun shoe loophole. "Public schools do not hire sex offenders as teachers, and pharmacies do not hire drug dealing felons as pharmacists, yet under current law gun dealers don't need to do a background check to see if their employees are felons," said New York City Mayor and and Mayors Against Illegal Guns co-chair Michael Bloomberg. "At the same time, pharmacists who lose their licenses can't sell prescription drugs to people without prescriptions, yet gun dealers who lose their licenses can sell off their inventory - without even conducting background checks. Thanks to Representatives McCarthy and Kirk, there are now bills introduced in Congress to fix these problems, as well as two other glaring gaps in the federal background check system identified by our coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns." Dealers would have three months to do background checks on current employees. After three months of the effective date of this legislation, it would be unlawful for a licensed dealer to authorize an employee hired before the effective date to possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition in the course of employment with the licensed dealer, unless the dealer has received notice from the attorney general that receipt of a firearm by the employee would not be unlawful. The law carries stiff penalties for gun dealers who do not comply with the law, wherein they could lose their licenses and face criminal charges if they fail to comply or willfully violate the law. "I am grateful to Mayor Bloomberg, Mayor Thomas Menino of Boston and all of the members of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns for their hard work and I am confident that together, we can pass commonsense gun laws like this one to keep Americans safe from gun violence," said McCarthy.