Shaheen Finds Bipartisan Common Ground to Address Gun Violence, Introduces Bill to Fix Federal Background Check Legislation

November 16, 2017

**Bill will improve and enforce records reporting by federal agencies and states**

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tim Scott (R-SC), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Dean Heller (R-NV) in introducing 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 that 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 shooting in Sutherland Springs tragically demonstrated woeful inadequacies in our federal background check system,” said Senator Shaheen. “We urgently need to bolster our efforts to keep guns out of the wrong hands by making sure criminal history in the federal background check system is comprehensive and updated in a timely fashion. Our legislation is the product of good faith bipartisan discussions and I hope Congress can quickly consider this legislation and send it to the President’s desk. The American people have waited for far too long for bipartisan progress to address gun violence.”  

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.

Text of the Fix NICS Act is downloadable here.