November 16, 2017

Senators Introduce Fix NICS Act to Enhance Compliance, Ensure Accuracy of Existing Background Check System for Firearms Purchases

Washington - Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined an effort led by Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) to introduce the Fix NICS Act to ensure federal and state authorities comply with existing law and accurately report relevant criminal history 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.

The bill is also cosponsored by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). 

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.

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