NEWTOWN, Conn. — The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industries, praised U.S. Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and John Culberson (R-Texas) for their leadership on introducing the bipartisan H.R. 4434, the Fix NICS Act of 2017 into the House of Representatives. The legislation is a companion to an identically titled Senate bill and both drew support from both Republican and Democrat co-sponsors.
“We are deeply appreciative of both Congressmen Cuellar and Culberson to demonstrate leadership in the House of Representatives to encourage state and federal agencies to enter all applicable records in the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS),” said Lawrence G. Keane, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. “This legislation will offer states the necessary resources to promptly and efficiently provide disqualifying records to NICS on those who are prohibited under current law from possessing firearms. Federally licensed firearms retailers rely upon NICS to prevent the sale of firearms to prohibited persons. This legislation will fix NICS so that background checks are accurate and reliable.”
The bipartisan House of Representatives legislation would ensure federal and state authorities comply with existing law and accurately report relevant criminal history and mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The bill penalizes federal agencies who fail to properly report relevant records and incentivizes states to improve their overall reporting. The bill also directs more federal funding to the accurate reporting of domestic violence records.
Fixing NICS has long been a top priority for NSSF. The FixNICS® campaign was launched by the firearms industry in 2013 when the industry examined how many states were failing to fully submit prohibiting mental health and other disqualifying records to NICS. Since then, NSSF’s work has resulted in reforms being adopted in 16 states and a 170 percent increase in records submission, to 4.5 million in 2013 up from only from 1.7 million in 2013. Several states, and as tragically learned through recent events, some federal agencies, still are not fully participated in submitting records to keep firearms from those prohibited from purchasing them.
Congressman Cuellar praised the bipartisan effort that offers promise to strengthening existing laws and keep firearms from prohibited persons.
“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.”
Congressman Culberson pointed to the fact this legislation is intended to bolster existing law, the common ground on which both parties should agree.
“Had existing law been enforced, the horrific tragedy in Sutherland Springs, Texas would have never occurred. The pure negligence of criminal history reporting into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) must end,” said Rep. Culberson. “I’m honored to join my fellow Texas legislators, Senator John Cornyn and Rep. Henry Cuellar on the Fix NICS Act and am greatly encouraged at the bipartisan effort to hold federal and state authorities accountable to existing law. I urge my fellow colleagues in Congress to support this critical, lifesaving piece of legislation.”