Sessions Wants to Get Tough on Background-Check Liars

He calls for 'swift and aggressive' prosecution
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2018 3:14 AM CDT
Sessions Wants to Get Tough on Background-Check Liars
Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

The Justice Department's response to the Parkland mass shooting is apparently going to involve tougher enforcement of existing laws instead of calls for new ones. On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said federal prosecutors have been told to "swiftly and aggressively" pursue people banned from owning firearms who lie on their background checks to obtain weapons, reports the Washington Post. Officials say lying on the form is a felony that's rarely prosecuted. Sessions has also told state and local officials to ensure that federal authorities are being provided with arrest and mental health records that could prevent somebody from owning a firearm, the AP reports.

Sessions said Monday that the Justice Department plans to step up the presence of law enforcement officers at schools, along with other safety measures. "No child should have to fear going to school or walking the streets of their neighborhood," he said. The White House said Sunday that the DOJ will be helping provide teachers with "rigorous firearms training." After the White House was criticized for apparently backing away from plans to raise the minimum buying age for assault weapons from 18 to 21, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said President Trump still wants to change the age, but "right now the president's primary focus is pushing through things we know that have broad bipartisan support." (More background checks stories.)

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