Stefanik backs stronger background checks

SYDNEY SCHAEFER/WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES U.S. Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, speaks during a town hall event in April at Savory Downtown in Watertown.

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, said she was encouraged to hear President Donald Trump condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy in comments following two mass shootings over the weekend.

Stefanik sent out a news release Monday reacting to the shootings that killed a total of 31 people in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, over the weekend.

“I know that Americans across the country mourn with all our hearts as the nation reels from these evil and heinous acts in El Paso and Dayton. We need to work together to lift our country above this epidemic of hate,” Stefanik said in a news release. “Thank you to first responders, law enforcement, health officials, blood donors and everyday civilian heroes who responded as quickly as possible to save lives.

Stefanik pointed to her support for legislation involving criminal background checks as well as for bills to ban bump stocks on guns and improve school safety.

“This evil must be eradicated. I also echo the president’s desire to strengthen existing background checks for criminals and the mentally ill. States and towns must be sharing the same database to ensure that no one falls through the cracks,” she stated.

Stefanik said she has supported legislation to expand information sharing within background checks through the Fix NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) bill.

This legislation would have required federal agencies to establish a domestic abuse and violence prevention initiative as a priority and coordinate a plan for states to submit mental health and criminal history records to NICS. It would have also required that NICS notify local law enforcement when a gun is transferred to another person that has been determined to be prohibited from owning one, according to

Stefanik said she also co-sponsored the legislation to ban bump stocks and bills to improve school safety, including the STOP School Violence Act and Securing Our Schools Act of 2018.

The Stop School Violence Act would have appropriated $50 million per year to help schools develop threat assessments and improve school security. The Securing Our Schools Act of 2018 would have created a pilot program to allow the Department of Justice to award one-year grants for local education agencies to purchase and install devices to notify law enforcement immediately if there was an emergency, according to

Fix NICS was part of an omnibus bill signed into law, and the Stop School Violence and Securing Our Schools bills were also signed into law.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(12) comments

hermit thrush

to scoot24 (the commenting system won't let me reply directly to you): sorry, nope. our culture is not that different. have you spent time in any other countries? lived in them? i have. to say that our culture is completely different is ridiculous. it's nothing but a cop-out intended to say that the problem must be something, anything, but guns. even on your own terms, if all these countries have wildly different cultures between themselves, how can you explain that they all simultaneously have such low rates of gun violence? the answer is staring you in the face. all it takes is a little intellectual integrity to acknowledge it.


True and logical that any mass shooter or bomber or other domestic terrorist act is carried out by unstable troubled angry revengeful people, but (and now, but) not blamed on people with medical mental illness.

The country’s largest organization of psychiatrists have pushed back against comments from politicians linking the most recent spate of mass shootings to mental illness.

That Health Association Site

In a statement, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) said gun violence is a public health crisis, and noted that “the overwhelming majority of people with mental illness are not violent and far more likely to be victims of violent crime than perpetrators of violence.” The APA said that people with mental illness are being stigmatized, adding: “Rhetoric that argues otherwise will further stigmatize and interfere with people accessing needed treatment. Individuals can also be emboldened to act violently by the public discourse and divisive rhetoric.”

It is amazing how the GOP (yes mostly the GOP) keeps deflecting away from this deadly critical issue of AR-type weapons, max cap magazines, and all so readily available to anyone even those with shady background checks (if any at all), and their refusal to stand up to the gun lobbyists for their big campaign money with sustained phony excuses. And again, yes led by Mr. Trump and now again by Ms. Stefanik. That is pitiful. Just watch them change their tune if those close to them ever were gunned down. BTW: I support the 2nd Amendment, but this is way, way out of control and apt to get worse. — Dan Francis


Trump prefaced his campaign with the "Obama's birth certificate" lie. Stefanik is racist because she supports a racist president. Let's cut the political correctness.

Holmes -- the real one

Well said.

Farmer Liz

OMG, seriously? The Occupant rolled back gun laws that kept guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, and he is now blaming mental illness as the problem. Where were you when this happened, Elise? And your call to end racism is laughable. You have long supported him; he has shown himself racist since long before the election. Too little, too late.


"Rolled back gun laws"? What laws have been "rolled back"? I will agree that databases need to be combined so that the wrong people are not obtaining guns but that will only solve some of the problem. Most of the killers have obtained them illegally. If you don't think mental illness is the main problem then you refuse to see the facts of every mass shooting. Did you realize that the murderer in Dayton OH is far left and a big supporter of Sanders and Warren? Probably not because the media you watch doesn't want people to see that.

Holmes -- the real one

Are you interested in facts or just innuendo? The only supposed "link" of the shooter to so-called "leftist" leanings of this shooter is an unsubstantiated twitter account:

"Though the Twitter account @iamthespookster does not bear Betts’ name, it does include selfies that resemble known photos of him."

Thinking people look for facts and substantiated evidence. So far, nothing you have said is fact based and the "mental illness" allegation is directly contradicted by fact.


Hmmm, we have a dilemma; listen to the liberal media or the conservative media? Neither are willing to give all of the facts.


Not true Scoot24 but eep drinking that red koolaid

hermit thrush

"Routinely blaming mass shootings on mental illness is unfounded and stigmatizing. Research has shown that only a very small percentage of violent acts are committed by people who are diagnosed with, or in treatment for, mental illness. The rates of mental illness are roughly the same around the world, yet other countries are not experiencing these traumatic events as often as we face them." -- rosie phillips davis, president of the american psychological association


You have hit the nail on the head; "committed by people who are diagnosed with, or in treatment for, mental illness". The stigma of mental illness prevents people from being diagnosed and treated. Using an analogy of other countries is like saying that the employee turnover rate for company X is much higher than company Y. We live in completely different cultures than other countries.

Holmes -- the real one

Good one, Farmer Liz.

Elise -- once again working the hypocrisy angle.

I'll bet she still supports that, "I'm the least racist person in the whole world," malarkey.

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