After years of failing to gain ground on any gun safety measure, Senator Chris Murphy appears to have scored at least a narrow victory this week.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, has joined him in introducing the “Fix NICS Act” to ensure that the current criminal background check system is working as intended.
The bill would require federal and state authorities comply with existing law and accurately report relevant criminal history records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The issue gained attention after a recent mass shooting outside San Antonio, Texas, where the gunman allegedly obtained weapons despite a past domestic violence issue. The Air Force allegedly failed to report it to the NICS.
“For years agencies and states haven’t complied with the law, failing to upload these critical records without consequence,” 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.”
Beyond strengthening the background check system, Murphy said the deal “marks an important milestone” in demonstrating that compromise can be achieved on gun issues.
“It’s no secret that I believe much more needs to be done. But this bill will make sure that thousands of dangerous people are prevented from buying guns. It represents the strongest update to the background checks system in a decade, and provides the foundation for more compromise in the future,” he said.
The bill also is sponsored by Blumenthal and Senators Tim Scott of South Carolina, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Dianne Feinstein of California, Dean Heller of Nevada, and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.