It’s been nearly two weeks since a gunman massacred over two dozen people during Baptist church services in Sutherland Springs, Texas. After investigators discovered that the gunman, Devin Kelley, wasn’t flagged for a court-martial conviction because the Air Force didn’t submit the necessary records, a bipartisan group of Senators have introduced a bill to strengthen the background check system.
Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut), Tim Scott (R-South Carolina), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), who each represent states where mass shootings have occurred, introduced a bill that incentivizes states and agencies to keep the most updated information possible to submit to the National Instant Background Check System (NICS). Had such a bill been on the books previously, it’s more likely that the Air Force would have submitted Kelly’s conviction to the NICS, which may have hindered his attempts to purchase a firearm. Political appointees in agencies that don’t upload records would see their bonus pay blocked by the legislation:
“For years agencies and states haven’t complied with the law, failing to upload these critical records without consequence. … 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,” Cornyn said in a statement.
Murphy — who noted on Wednesday that lawmakers were close to an agreement — added that “this deal will strengthen the background check system and save lives. Our bill marks an important milestone that shows real compromise can be made on the issue of guns.”
Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dianne Feinstein (D-California), Dean Heller (R-Nevada), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) have all signed on as co-sponsors of the bill as well.
(Via The Hill)