Senator Ayotte Announces Support for Protecting Communities and Preserving the Second Amendment Act
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) announced today that she is an original co-sponsor of the Protecting Communities and Preserving the Second Amendment Act - legislation that reauthorizes and improves the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), increases resources for prosecutions of gun crime, addresses mental health gaps in the criminal justice system, and responsibly addresses gun violence by criminalizing straw purchasing of firearms and gun trafficking. She also announced that she is co-sponsoring the bipartisan Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act, which includes provisions she helped author that improve mental health first aid.
Senator Ayotte released the following statement regarding the legislation as well as the current debate in the Senate:
"Last week, I voted to initiate Senate debate on preventing violence and protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. Several proposals have been brought forward, and I've been carefully reviewing them all.
"There are responsible steps that can be taken to stop criminals and others who are already prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law from obtaining them. With those principles as a guide, I am cosponsoring the Protecting Communities and Preserving the Second Amendment Act, which includes needed reforms to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, addresses mental health gaps in the criminal justice system, and criminalizes gun trafficking and straw purchases.
"To further address the need to improve the nation's mental health system, I also am co-sponsoring the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act. This bipartisan measure includes provisions of legislation I helped introduce that seek to improve mental health first aid training and increase the effectiveness of mental health care across the nation.
"I believe that restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners will not prevent a deranged individual or criminal from obtaining and misusing firearms to commit violence. While steps must be taken to improve the existing background check system, I will not support the Manchin-Toomey legislation, which I believe would place unnecessary burdens on law-abiding gun owners and allow for potential overreach by the federal government into private gun sales."
Given the connections between mass violence and mental illness, Senator Ayotte has cosponsored two bipartisan mental health bills - the Begich-Ayotte-Blumenthal Mental Health First Aid Act (S. 153) and the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act (S. 162) - focused on providing training and resources for law enforcement and other community partners to help them identify individuals with mental health issues and make sure they receive proper treatment.