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President Clinton Announces Over $41 Million to Stop Violent Criminals From Purchasing Firearms

Grants Will Improve Criminal History Records Vital to National Check System

WASHINGTON, DC—At the White House today, President Clinton announced that 46 states are receiving grants totaling more than $41 million to continue improving criminal history records, which will help keep felons from purchasing handguns. This is the fourth year of funding under the National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP), administered by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).

"Too many violent criminals are able to buy firearms and commit crimes within hours of the purchase," said President Clinton. "These grants will allow states to continue improving their criminal history records and share them#151;to ensure that firearms do not end up in the wrong hands." In June of this year, BJS reported that an estimated 69,000 handgun sales were blocked during 1997 through presale background checks. About 62 percent of the 1997 rejections were based on a prior felony conviction or a current felony indictment. Between the effective date of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act in February 1994 and December 31, 1997, there were an estimated 242,000 potential purchases stopped because of background checks, according to BJS.

One of the primary reasons states are receiving these funds is so criminal records can be shared nationally through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which is being developed by the FBI and will be operational next month. NICS will enable firearms dealers to obtain instant background checks in connection with sales to keep criminals from purchasing guns.

The criminal history records are also vital for keeping individuals who are dangerous to others from getting jobs where they have access to children, the elderly or disabled individuals. Accurate and accessible records also help courts avoid granting bail to individuals who may pose a danger to the community and also permit law enforcement officials to know if individuals questioned or detained have criminal histories.

"Accurate and accessible criminal records help keep communities safe," said Attorney General Janet Reno. "More complete criminal histories can help police and prosecutors keep dangerous criminals off the streets ."

Criminal history records are fingerprint cards or their electronic counterparts, linked with information about arrests, convictions and sentences, when available. NCHIP funds are used to modernize criminal history records systems, including automated fingerprint identification. In addition to making general improvements, states may use NCHIP funds to develop record systems to better protect victims of stalking, domestic violence and child abuse by exchanging records of protection orders as well as convictions.

Every state that applied for a Fiscal Year 1998 NCHIP grant is receiving one. The attached chart includes the amount of each award, the agency within the state that will receive the funds and a state contact. Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi and Nevada will receive grants later this year. The District of Columbia did not apply for FY 1998 NCHIP funds; however, it received NCHIP funds in previous years.

The awards being announced today bring the total amount distributed in direct awards to states under NCHIP to over $200 million. The President has requested $45 million for NCHIP in Fiscal Year 1999.

For additional information about BJS and its programs, go to the BJS web site at http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/.

For additional information about OJP and its grant programs, go to the OJP web site at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov


                            OFFICE OF JUSTICE PROGRAMS
                           BUREAU OF JUSTICE STATISTICS
               NATIONAL CRIMINAL HISTORY IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM (NCHIP)


    RECIPIENT       RECIPIENT      STATE          FY 98 AWARD    TOTAL NCHIP
                    AGENCY         CONTACT                       FUNDS TO DATE

    Alabama         Criminal       Therese Ford,  $357,720       $2,258,819
                    Justice        334/242-4900
                    Information
                    Center,
                    Montgomery, AL

    Alaska          Department of  Diane          $540,000       $2,321,318
                    Public Safety  Schenker,
                    Anchorage, AK  907/269-5092

    Arizona         Criminal       Gerald E.      $719,997       $3,049,144
                    Justice        Hardt,
                    Commission,    602-542-1928
                    Phoenix, AZ


    Arkansas        Crime          Larry          $540,000       $2,213,996
                    Information    Cockrell,
                    Center,        501/682-2222
                    Little Rock, AR

    California      Department of  Gary Maggy,    $3,950,000     $17,825,542
                    Justice, Bureau 916/227-3844
                    of Criminal
                    Identification
                    and Information,
                    Sacramento, CA

    Colorado        Department of  John Inmann,   $1,063,945     $2,810,359
                    Public Safety, 303/239-4470
                    Division of
                    Criminal Justice,
                    Denver, CO

    Connecticut     Office of      Theron A.      $643,777       $3,047,968
                    Policy and     Schnure,
                    Management,    860/418-6390
                    Hartford, CT

    Delaware        State Bureau   Capt.          $451,350       $2,352,369
                    of Ident-      David Deputy,
                    ification,     302/739-5872
                    Division of
                    State Police,
                    Dover, DE

    District        Metropolitan   Deborah L.     Did not apply  $1,248,676
    of Columbia     Police         Wright,
                    Department,    202/727-4301
                    Washington, DC

    Florida         Department of  Clayton        $1,138,820     $6,366,986
                    Community      Wilder,
                    Affairs,       904/488-8016
                    Tallahassee, FL

    Georgia         Crime          Bill Holland,  $995,000       $3,794,910
                    Information    404/244-2775
                    Center,
                    Decatur, GA

    Hawaii          Criminal       Liane          $500,000       $2,047,125
                    Justice        Moriyama,
                    Data Center,   808/587-3110
                    Honolulu, HI


    Idaho           Department of  Robert Taylor, $206,000       $1,141,000
                    Law            208/884-7133
                    Enforcement,
                    Meridian, ID

    Illinois     Criminal Justice  Candice Kane,     $1,690,000    $8,392,000
                 Information      312/793-8550
                 Authority,
                 Chicago, IL

    Indiana      Criminal Justice  Kevin Sifferlen,    $880,000    $4,242,273
                 Institute,        317/232-1233
                 Indianapolis, IN

    Iowa         Department of     Tim McDonald,       $153,044    $2,120,093
                 Public Safety,    515/281-5138
                 Des Moines, IA

    Kansas       Criminal Justice  Barbara Tombs,      $475,000    $2,362,000
                 Coordinating      913/296-0923
                 Council,
                 Topeka, KS

    Kentucky     Justice Cabinet,  Mike Fulkerson,   To be awarded $2,165,000
                 Frankfort, KY     502/564-3251


    Louisiana    Commission on     Carle Jackson,      $512,435    $2,566,396
                 Law Enforcement   504/925-4429
                 and the
                 Administration
                 of Criminal
                 Justice,
                 Baton Rouge, LA

    Maine        Bureau of State   Maj. Jeffrey        $510,000    $3,491,500
                 Police,           Harmon,
                 Augusta, ME      207/624-7062

    Maryland     Department of     Barbara King,    To be awarded  $2,860,000
                 Public Safety     410/764-4200
                 and Correctional
                 Services,
                 Pikesville, MD

    Massachusetts  Committee on    Richard St.       $1,350,000    $6,575,250
                   Criminal        Louis,
                   Justice,        617/727-6300
                   Boston, MA

    Michigan     Department of     David Turner,     $1,270,000    $5,660,874
                 State Police,     517/322-1424
                 Lansing, MI

    Minnesota    Bureau of         Karen McDonald,     $480,000    $3,270,360
                 Criminal          612/642-0687
                 Apprehension,
                 St. Paul, MN

    Mississippi   Department of    Jimmy Dukes,      To be awarded  $2,339,442
                 Public Safety,    601/933-2600
                 Jackson, MS

    Missouri     State Highway     Lt. Robert E.       $570,439     $3,741,122
                 Patrol,           Gartner,
                 Jefferson         573/526-6160
                 City, MO

    Montana      Board of Crime    Thomas Murphy,    $670,890    $1,741,383
                 Control,         406/444-4298
                 Helena, MT


    Nebraska     State Patrol,     Lathan Rohren,    $652,155     $2,347,485
                 Lincoln, NE      402/479-4938

    Nevada          Department of       Dennis A.    To be awarded  $1,265,000
                    Motor Vehicles      Debacco,
                    and Public Safety,  702-687-8784
                    Carson City, NV


    New Hampshire   Office of the       Mark C.      $659,200       $2,836,713
                    Attorney General,   Thompson,
                    Concord, NH         603-271-3658

    New Jersey      Department of       Steven C.    $829,026       $4,882,748
                    Law and Public      Talpas,
                    Safety,             609-984-0634
                    Trenton, NJ


    New Mexico      Department of       Irene        $499,521       $3,644,992
                    Public Safety,      Trujillo,
                    Santa Fe, NM        505-827-9185

    New York        Integrated Systems  James F.     $2,850,000    $14,021,095
                    Development Unit,   Shea,
                    Division of         518-457-6075
                    Criminal
                    Justice Services,
                    Albany, NY

    North Carolina  Governor's Crime    David E.     $612,260       $3,761,715
                    Commission,         Jones,
                    Raleigh, NC         919-571-4736

    North Dakota    Bureau of           Robert J.    $480,000       $2,193,913
                    Criminal            Helten,
                    Investigation,      701-328-5500
                    Bismarck, ND
    Ohio            Office of Criminal  Melissa J.   $1,340,000     $7,126,343
                    Justice Services,   Winesburg,
                    Columbus, OH        614-466-7782

    Oklahoma        District            Gayle        $476,650       $2,025,517
                    Attorneys           Caldwell,
                    Council,            405-557-6707
                    Oklahoma City,
                    OK

    Oregon          Department of       Beverlee     $480,000       $2,964,850
                    State Police,       Venell,
                    Salem, OR           503-378-3720

    Pennsylvania    Commission on       James        $2,781,276     $8,953,260
                    Crime and           Thomas,
                    Delinquency,        717-787-2040
                    Harrisburg, PA

    Puerto Rico     Criminal Justice    Alfonso      $400,000         $400,000
                    Information         Golderos,
                    Systems             787-729-2121
                    Office
                    San Juan, PR

    Rhode Island    Governor's Justice  Norman       $421,400       $1,740,244
                    Commission,         Dakake,
                    Providence, RI      401-277-4499

    South Carolina  Law Enforcement     Maj. Mark    $1,070,000     $3,056,020
                    Division,           Huguley,
                    Columbia, SC        803-896-7142

    South Dakota    Office of the       Judi         $394,950       $1,473,300
                    Attorney General,   Schneider,
                    Division of         605-773-4614
                    Criminal
                    Investigation,
                    Pierre, SD

    Tennessee       Department of       Patricia     $600,000       $3,262,155
                    Finance and         Dishman,
                    Administration,     615-741-8277
                    Nashville, TN

    Texas           Criminal Justice    Gene Draper, $3,400,000    $14,561,200
                    Policy Council,     512-463-1810
                    Austin, TX

    Utah            Commission on       Richard      $601,695       $2,171,054
                    Criminal and        Ziebarth,
                    Juvenile Justice,   801-538-1812
                    Salt Lake City, UT

    Vermont         Department of       Philip       $500,091       $3,843,836
                    Public Safety,      Colby,
                    Waterbury, VT       802-244-8786

    Virginia        State Police,       Lt. Col.     $1,169,827     $4,708,913
                    Richmond, VA        Harry M.
                                        Durham,
                                        804-674-4606

    Washington      Office of           Gary         $730,000       $3,822,682
                    Financial           Robinson,
                    Management,         360-902-0593
                    Olympia, WA

    West Virginia   Department of       Michael      $390,800       $2,614,800
                    Military Affairs    Cutlip,
                    and Public Safety,  304-558-8814
                    Charleston, WV

    Wisconsin       Office of Justice   Stephen      $790,000       $3,656,000
                    Assistance,         Grohmann,
                    Madison, WI         608-266-7185

    Wyoming         Division of         James        $130,926       $896,264
                    Criminal            Wilson,
                    Investigation,      307-777-7523
                    Cheyenne, WY

BJS 98-209
After hours page Doug Johnson at 1-888/582-6750



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