Senate committee presses FBI, ATF for suggestions to Fix NICS
By Christen Smith
Officials from the Air Force, ATF, DoD and FBI testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee about improving NICS recordkeeping and bump stocks on Dec. 6, 2017. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Senators pressed federal law enforcement officials this week for appropriate ways to improve the databases feeding the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, but received few clear answers.
Fixing NICS became a congressional priority after a former Airman gunned down 26 people at a Texas church last month with a rifle his domestic assault convictions barred him from owning.
The breakdown in the background check system illuminated lackadaisical reporting practices in the U.S. Air Force and Department of Defense — a longstanding issue dating back two decades. A review of Department of Justice records in 1997 and 2015 found roughly one third of service members’ criminal convictions were missing from federal databases.
Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn sponsored a measure two weeks after the shooting providing incentives to states and federal agencies that upload disqualifying criminal and mental health records to NICS — a practice an FBI spokesman told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday already exists, with positive results.
“At the end of 2007, federal agencies had submitted just over 4 million records to