House Approves More Money For Background Checks On Gun Buyers

By: Deirdre Walsh
By: Deirdre Walsh

(CNN) -- The House on Thursday approved a bipartisan measure that would provide more money for background checks on gun buyers nearly a week after a mass murder in California left seven people dead, including the killer.

The Republican-led chamber added $19.5 million to expand the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which is a federal database that states access when processing gun sales.

The amendment to a spending bill for the Justice Department and other agencies was sponsored by Republican Peter King of New York and California Democrat Mike Thompson. It was approved 260-145.

"Expanding our investments in the national background check system is essential to the effort to prevent gun violence. But it is only one step. Now, it is time to build on this success with further action," House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said.

Proponents of the measure said the background check effort is meant to close gaps that can allow criminals and those with severe mental illness to purchase guns they otherwise would not be able to buy.

The added money raises the federal investment in the database to $78 million for the fiscal year beginning in October.

Last Friday's carnage in Santa Barbara was carried out by Elliot Rodger, 22, who fatally stabbed three people and shot three others. He was found dead with a gunshot wound to his head after crashing his car. He apparently had been dealing with mental health issues for years.

Stricter gun control measures introduced after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, went nowhere in Congress.

Now, some lawmakers want to focus on improving the mental health system as a way to address gun violence, especially the types of incidents that occurred in California last week. But it's unclear whether related legislative proposals will advance.

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