Senators Announce Bipartisan Bill to Improve Reporting to Federal Gun Background Check System

Gun Owners of America, perhaps the most hardline gun rights group of note, said in a letter to Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan that the bill was merely an attempt to “appease The Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN, and MSNBC.” GOA argued that only loosening gun laws and enabling more citizens to go armed in public would increase public safety.


Senators Announce Bipartisan Bill to Improve Reporting to Federal Gun Background Check System

A bipartisan group of senators unveiled a bill on Thursday morning that would reward states for improving their reporting of criminal records and domestic violence data to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s gun background check system, and punish those that don’t.

The Fix NICS Act, championed by Democrat Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Republican John Cornyn of Texas, would require federal agencies like the Department of Defense to issue a twice-yearly report on what records have been submitted to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

The legislation would also make $125 million available to states each year from 2018 to 2022 to improve verification of criminal records and report them to the FBI. Half of that money would be used by the U.S. attorney general to create a specialized Domestic Violence and Abuse Prevention Initiative, focused on getting records of domestic abuse. Priority would be given to states that show they have a detailed plan for implementing better practices for record reporting.

Federal agencies and states that fail to heed the requirements set forth by the bill would lose funding.

The bill was introduced in the wake of two mass shootings, one in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and another in Tehama County, California, perpetrated by men with histories of domestic abuse and violence toward others. It has received more bipartisan support than any other gun bill introduced in this fall’s season of mass shootings. The bill is co-sponsored by Republican Tim Scott of South Carolina and Democrat Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, along with Republican Orrin Hatch of Utah; Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California; Republican Dean Heller of Nevada, and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.

However, Gun Owners of America, perhaps the most hardline gun rights group of note, said in a letter to Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan that the bill was merely an attempt to “appease The Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN, and MSNBC.” GOA argued that only loosening gun laws and enabling more citizens to go armed in public would increase public safety.

Read more at The Trace