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NEWTOWN, Conn. — The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industries, praised U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) for his leadership on introducing the bipartisan S. 2135, the Fix NICS Act. The legislation drew support from both Republican and Democrat co-sponsors.
“We commend Sen. Cornyn for his leadership to encourage state and federal agencies to enter all applicable records in the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS),” said Lawrence G. Keane, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. “This legislation will provide states with the necessary resources to promptly and efficiently provide disqualifying records to NICS on those who are prohibited under current law from possessing firearms. Federally licensed firearms retailers rely upon NICS to prevent the sale of firearms to prohibited persons. This legislation will fix NICS so that background checks are accurate and reliable.”
Sen. Cornyn’s legislation would ensure federal and state authorities comply with existing law and accurately report relevant criminal history and mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The bill penalizes federal agencies who fail to properly report relevant records and incentivizes states to improve their overall reporting. The bill also directs more federal funding to the accurate reporting of domestic violence records.
Fixing NICS has long been a top priority for NSSF. The Fix NICS campaign was launched by the firearms industry in 2013 when the industry examined how many states were failing to fully submit prohibiting mental health and other disqualifying records to NICS. Since then, NSSF’s work has resulted in reforms being adopted in 16 states and a 170 percent increase in records submission, to 4.5 million in 2013 up from only from 1.7 million in 2013. Several states, and as tragically learned through recent events, some federal agencies, still are not fully participated in submitting records to keep firearms from those prohibited from purchasing them.
“For years agencies and states haven’t complied with the law, failing to upload these critical records without consequence,” Sen. Cornyn said. “Just one record that’s not properly reported can lead to tragedy, as the country saw last week in Sutherland Springs, Texas. This bill aims to help fix what’s become a nationwide, systemic problem so we can better prevent criminals and domestic abusers from obtaining firearms.”