Today, the House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 4477, also known as the Fix NICS Act of 2017, a bipartisan piece of legislation introduced by Congressman John Culberson (TX-07) and Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) that would require federal and state authorities to comply with existing law and accurately report relevant criminal history records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Specifically, this bill will:
• Require federal and state agencies to produce NICS implementation plans focused on uploading all information to the background check system and enforce measures to verify the accuracy of records;
• Hold federal agencies accountable and ensure that states improve their overall reporting by implementing serious consequences if they fail to properly report relevant data;
• Reauthorize and improve important law enforcement programs to help state governments share relevant criminal record information with NICS.
This bill was introduced in response to the horrific shooting that occurred in early November in Sutherland Springs, Texas, which killed 26 people.
“I thank the Committee, Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler for marking up this bill so quickly,” Congressman Cuellar said. “The Sutherland Springs shooting revealed dangerous loopholes in the NICS database, and this bill is a necessary step forward in closing those gaps. It is critical that we hold states and federal agencies accountable for accurately and comprehensively reporting relevant information into NICS, while ensuring that these entities have sufficient support and resources to implement these requirements.
“I thank Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) for crafting the original Senate version of this bill and for leading Congress towards finding solutions to this crucial issue. I also would like to recognize Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Reps. John Culberson (R-TX), Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), Ryan Costello (R-PA), Pete Aguilar (D-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Barbara Comstock (R-VA), and Dina Titus (D-NV) for their leadership on addressing this critical matter. This legislation is an essential step in preventing tragedies like the one we witnessed in Sutherland Springs.”
“The ongoing negligence of federal employees failing to enter criminal history into the NICS database is absolutely unacceptable. This systemic problem has cost lives, not just in Texas, but across the entire nation,” Congressman John Culberson (TX-07) said. “I’m proud to join my colleague, Rep. Henry Cuellar, in supporting this lifesaving piece of legislation in this bipartisan effort to ensure federal and state authorities enforce existing law.”