There is currently legislation being pondered in the Senate called Fix NICS.
The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is a United States system for determining if prospective firearms or explosives buyers’ name and birth year match those of a person who is not eligible to buy. It was mandated by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (Brady Law) of 1993 and launched by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1998.
When you buy a new firearm, the FFL runs these checks in real time with the FBI to determine if you are prohibited from buying a firearm. The FBI tells the FFL to Proceed with the sale, Deny the sale, or Defer the sale. In the case of the Defer, the FBI has 72 hours to give a definitive answer or the sale is allowed to proceed, so its critical that data be available, complete and accurate.
There have been several shooters who should have been prohibited from purchasing their weapons prior to their murders. Charlotte’s perpetrator had a drug conviction that hadn’t been reported appropriately to the FBI, so the “Defer” apparently turned into a “Proceed.” The Texas shooter had a military conviction that the sentence alone put him in a prohibited class. There are other examples, but these that come to mind immediately.
This bill seems to address one of our central positions, the completeness and accuracy of the NICS system. We know that not all relevant records make it into NICS, from states who were reluctant to submit adjudicated records, to agencies like the Department of Defense simply failing to report convictions.
This bill seems to address those issues to some extent, and as we said after Texas, its the sort of thing that might actually have an impact, eliminating the legal avenues that bad guys bent on killing have to acquire ANY firearm. The summary from GovTrack:
-Establish a new “Domestic Abuse and Violence Prevention Initiative” in order to better prevent those convicted of those crimes from obtaining weapons.
-Publicly report any federal agencies that fail to upload relevant information to the system, and withhold certain pay from political appointees who neglect to upload the info.
-Establish new measures to verify the accuracy of existing records already uploaded into the system.
The full text of the bill in the Senate can be found here, a version has passed out of committee in the House.
We support this.
So, apparently, does the NRA and the folks at Sandy Hook Promise. With support from a broad range of organizations from across the spectrum, there is no reason for this bill to be delayed. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
Will Congress act? Have you called your representatives?