Thank you for contacting me about issues relating to our nation’s Second Amendment. I appreciate hearing from you and always welcome you to share your comments and concerns with me. I have a record of strengthening both enforcement and mental health provisions to protect our citizens. As a former senior Justice Department official, I worked closely with law enforcement on the local, state, and federal levels on these matters and others and have continued to build on those relationships in Congress.

I understand background check systems are important tools to keep firearms out of the hands of violent criminals and the mentally ill. Virginia has been a leader with its mental health database and ensuring its mental health records are included in the national database. As Virginia continues to update its background check system, we see increases in the number of convicted felons and those with mental health conditions being denied from purchasing a firearm.

Under current law, background checks are required for firearm sales conducted through federally licensed firearms dealers, which are processed through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). It is important that states share appropriate, lawful information with the federal background check system in order to keep firearms out of the hands of individuals who clearly pose a danger to themselves or others. The NICS Improvement Amendments Act (P.L. 110-180) provided federal resources to encourage states to keep their NlCS-related records updated to maximize public safety.

I share your desire that the NICS database be up-to-date so that background checks can be completed quickly and effectively. I am committed to protecting policies that keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill while preserving the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. As part of this commitment, I am determined to pass legislation that addresses and clarifies the existing patchwork approach of state and local laws governing mental health. Last Congress, I was a proud cosponsor of H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015, which took a much needed comprehensive bipartisan approach to this issue. It allows for more efficient resource allocation, improved responsiveness, and reduce deadweight loss spent navigating the current system. This legislation was signed into law on December 13, 2016.

Thank you again for contacting me. It is a privilege to serve you in the Tenth District. I may also be contacted at my Sterling office at 703-404-6903, or my Washington, D.C. office at 202-225-5136. By visiting, you can sign up to receive my email newsletters and follow my efforts to serve you. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter for real-time updates on my activities in Congress and in the District. If I may ever be of service, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Barbara Comstock
Member of Congress