Update: On March 23, 2018, President Donald Trump signed an omnibus spending bill into law that contains the (unaltered) provisions of the Fix NICS Act. Texas Senator John Cornyn, one of the co-sponsors of the Fix NICS Act (along with Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy) tweeted the following in response: “The benefits of Omnibus to…fixing gun background check system are important and will save lives.”
The Fix NICS Act is a modest bill that would improve the submission of records on prohibited gun buyers to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). S. 2135 would use a carrot-and-stick approach with the states to get them to submit more of these records to the FBI, which runs NICS. The bill would also make it mandatory for federal agencies to submit them to the Attorney General for inclusion in NICS.
The bill was introduced by Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut. It has been approved by the House Judiciary Committee and has a filibuster-proof 61 co-sponsors in the Senate! Even the NRA says it likes the Fix NICS Act. Their lobbying arm shared an article about it which noted the NRA “has pushed NICS reform for a number of years.” Yet, mysteriously, S. 2135 has failed to move in the Senate since being introduced in November 2017.
Now we know why: Senator Cory Gardner. Reports have emerged—which Gardner is not denying—that he put a hold on the Fix NICS Act.
A hold is a parliamentary procedure that allows a single Senator to prevent a bill from reaching a vote on the floor. Gardner placed what is known as an anonymous hold, meaning he privately informed the Republican leadership about the hold to conceal his identity. [The original intent of the hold was to protect a Senator’s right to be consulted on important legislation of concern to the Senator’s state.]
Gardner has cited “due process issues” with the Fix NICS Act. There are no such issues. The computer instant check system for gun purchases has survived all legal challenges since 1993. Even Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia openly supported government screening that bars violent and dangerously mentally ill individuals from obtaining firearms.
Please contact Senator Gardner through one of the channels below and give him the following message (personalized to your liking):
REMOVE YOUR HOLD ON THE FIX NICS ACT IMMEDIATELY. I am outraged that you have taken this cowardly, secret action to block modest legislation that would help bar violent and dangerous mentally ill individuals from obtaining firearms. There are no “due process issues” with improving the NICS system and you know it. The database has survived all legal challenges since it was authorized in 1993 and even Justice Scalia in D.C. v. Heller made it clear that government screening to bar violent and dangerously mentally ill people from getting guns is constitutional. I know you are up again in 2020 and I will dedicate my life to (peacefully and democratically) making sure you lose that Senate re-election race and never see elected office again if you do not remove this hold.
Senator Cory Gardner
Phone: (202) 224-5941 or https://www.gardner.senate.gov/contact-cory/office-locations
Once you have contacted Senator Gardner, click the orange banner below to report taking action!