Nevada senators back bill to fix gun background check law | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada senators back bill to fix gun background check law

Nevada Appeal Capitol Bureau

Nevada's U.S. senators have issued statements backing a new bill to fix flaws in the existing firearms background checks law.

Republican Sen. Dean Heller said the National Instant Criminal Background Check System will require state and federal agencies to quickly and accurately report criminal history records to the system and penalize federal agencies that fail to do so.

The measure also appropriates more federal funding to improve the reporting of domestic violence records.

Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto said the measure was introduced after it was revealed the shooter who attacked the church in Sutherland Springs had serious criminal and mental health records that were not loaded into the criminal information system by the military. She said a similar problem occurred in the massacre at Virginia Tech in 2007 and with the attack on the church in Charleston, S.C., in 2015.

Those killers were able to pass the background check and buy weapons because their records weren't loaded into the system.

In addition to requiring state and federal agencies send those kinds of information to the federal NICS database, the bill would hold federal agencies accountable if they don't do so and reward states that comply with the requirements by providing incentives and federal grants. It would reauthorize programs to help state governments share criminal records information and create a domestic abuse and violence initiative including providing technical assistance to state and federal agencies.

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Masto said the FIX NICS Act would fix some of the weaknesses in the existing law requiring background checks for gun buyers.

Heller said it's critical existing laws are fully enforced and this measure "raises the bar" in an effort to do just that.