Senators introduce bipartisan gun background check bill

A bipartisan group of senators is trying to strengthen reporting to the national background check system in the wake of a mass shooting in Texas earlier this month.

Sens. John CornynJohn CornynSenate GOP attempts to wave Trump off second Putin summit Senators push to clear backlog in testing rape kits Senate approves resolution warning Trump not to hand over US officials MORE (R-Texas), Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDem senator ties Kavanaugh confirmation vote to Trump-Putin controversy Full interview: Chris Murphy speaks out on the Trump-Putin meeting and what it means Dem senator: NATO has become 'functionally obsolete' under Trump MORE (D-Conn.), Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottControversial Trump judicial nominee withdraws GOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE Senate takes symbolic shot at Trump tariffs MORE (R-S.C.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced legislation on Thursday that would require states and agencies to produce plans for sending records to the National Instant Background Check System (NICS) that would show if an individual is prohibited from buying a gun and verifying that the information is accurate. 

The measure would also try to incentivize agencies and states to provide information by blocking bonus pay for political appointees in agencies that fail to upload records to the background check system and rewarding states that follow their implementation plans.

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“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 HatchOrrin Grant HatchSenators introduce bipartisan bill to improve IRS Senate panel advances Trump IRS nominee Don't place all your hopes — or fears — on a new Supreme Court justice MORE (R-Utah), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate GOP breaks record on confirming Trump picks for key court Deal to fix family separations hits snag in the Senate Election Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas MORE (D-Calif.), Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerSenate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Jacky Rosen hits Dean Heller over health care in first negative ad GOP moderates hint at smooth confirmation ahead for Kavanaugh MORE (R-Nev.) and Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenErnst: Intelligence agencies should question Trump’s interpreter, not Congress Overnight Defense: More Trump drama over Russia | Appeals court rules against Trump on transgender ban | Boeing wins Air Force One contract | Military parade to reportedly cost M Top Dem lawmaker pushing committee for closed-door debrief with Trump’s interpreter MORE (D-N.H.) are also sponsoring the legislation.

The bill comes just 11 days after a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. 

Devin Kelley, the identified gunman, received a “bad conduct” discharge from the Air Force in 2014 after being court-martialed on a domestic violence charge.

Kelley’s court-martial conviction should have been reported to the FBI’s database. Had it been, it may have made it more difficult for him to purchase a firearm legally.

But Air Force officials on Monday said the Holloman Air Force Base Office of Special Investigation did not enter Kelley’s information into the system. 

The new legislation would also create a "domestic abuse and violence prevention initiative" aimed at making sure states have the ability and incentive to share information with the NICS that would show a felon or someone convicted of domestic violence cannot purchase a gun.

Cornyn added that "just one record that’s not properly reported can lead to tragedy, as the country saw last week in Sutherland Springs, Texas."  

Senators have introduced multiple pieces of gun legislation after the shooting in Texas, as well as an October mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas, where nearly 60 people were killed and more than 500 were injured.

Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeSenate GOP attempts to wave Trump off second Putin summit Senate approves resolution warning Trump not to hand over US officials Flake: Trump's Russia summit ‘truly an Orwellian moment’ MORE (R-Ariz.) and Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichCNN congressional correspondent talks about her early love of trolls and family Overnight Energy: DNC to reject fossil fuel donations | Regulators see no security risk in coal plant closures | Senate committee rejects Trump EPA, Interior budgets Energy commission sees no national security risk from coal plant closures MORE (D-N.M.) introduced legislation earlier this month to close the "domestic violence loophole" by requiring that the military report domestic violence convictions to the national background check system.