Last week, Reps. Henry Cuellar, John Culberson, Elizabeth Esty, Ryan Costello, and Pete Aguilar introduced H.R. 4434, a companion bill to the FIX NICS Act of 2017 that was introduced in the Senate earlier this week by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Chris Murphy (D-CT). The investigation into the recent shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, revealed enormous gaps in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). This bipartisan legislation ensures federal and state authorities comply with existing law and accurately report relevant criminal history records to NICS. This bill provides consequences for federal agencies who fail to properly report relevant records and ensures that states improve their overall reporting. Federal and state records are thoroughly lacking, and this bill helps fill in those gaps.
“Following the horrific shooting that occurred in my district, in Sutherland Springs, Texas, there is a call to action to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again. But many call for new laws often without considering whether or not current laws are being enforced,” Congressman Cuellar said. “Today, we introduced bipartisan legislation that will fill in the gaps in NICS that led to tragedies like the one in Sutherland Springs. The FIX NICS Act is an example of both parties in both chambers of Congress working together to set aside partisan politics and offer real solutions to the American people. I thank Senators John Cornyn, Chris Murphy, Orrin Hatch, Richard Blumenthal, Tim Scott, Dianne Feinstein, Dean Heller, Jeanne Shaheen, and Rep. John Culberson for their leadership on this bill. I am also grateful to Reps. Elizabeth Esty, Ryan Costello, and Pete Aguilar for their support.
Background on the Fix NICS Act: Requires federal agencies and states to produce NICS implementation plans focused on uploading all information to the background check system showing that a person is prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms under current law—including measures to verify the accuracy of records. Holds federal agencies accountable if they fail to upload relevant records to the background check system through public reporting and prohibiting bonus pay for political appointees. Rewards states who comply with their NICS implementation plans through federal grant preferences and incentives, while increasing accountability through public reporting for those who do not comply with their plans. Reauthorizes and improves important law enforcement programs to help state governments share relevant criminal record information with NICS. Creates a Domestic Abuse and Violence Prevention Initiative to ensure that states have adequate resources and incentives to share all relevant information with NICS showing that a felon or domestic abuser is excluded from purchasing firearms under current law. Provides important technical assistance to federal agencies and states who are working to comply with NICS record-sharing requirements.
For more information on H.R. 4434, please click the following link: