WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) released the following statement after the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued its first report on implementation of his Fix NICS Act. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Indian tribal governments have submitted implementation plans to the DOJ, as have 45 federal agencies. Since the Fix NICS Act was signed into law in 2018, more than six million new records have been added to National Instant Criminal Background Check System databases.
“Background checks save lives, and working to strengthen the system is critical. I was proud to join Senator Cornyn in putting forth legislation to make sure the FBI knows who can and cannot buy a gun, and the report the Justice Department released today on the progress of our bill is a good start,” said Murphy. “It’s no secret that I believe much more needs to be done. Our background checks system is only as good as the records in it, and we must work to close loopholes that still exist.”
“After the shooting in Sutherland Springs, I authored the Fix NICS Act to help close the gaps in the criminal background check system,” said Cornyn. “I commend the Department of Justice for working to fully implement this law, and I look forward to seeing the continued progress Fix NICS can make to ensure missing records don’t put more innocent lives at risk.”
This report comes after Murphy and Cornyn sent a letter in February to the U.S. Attorney General, William Barr, requesting implementation and reporting information from the requisite agencies.
The Fix NICS Act helps 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). Sen. Cornyn introduced this bill in response to the 2017 shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, which took the lives of 26 Texans. Below are highlights of the DOJ’s report, which can be accessed here:
- Between April 2018 and August 2019, there was an increase of more than six million records in the three national databases searched with every NICS check.
- The NICS Indices database had a 15-percent increase in records during that same time period.
- The U.S. Customs and Border Protection entered approximately 13 million new records for undocumented persons into the NICS Indices in October 2019.
- All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Indian tribal governments have established implementation plans.
- Forty-five federal agencies have submitted certifications and implementation plans to ensure that complete and accurate records are properly uploaded to the NICS system.
- The number of Firearm Retrieval Referrals (FRRs), which occur when a prohibited person is able to purchase a firearm because the background check could not be concluded within three business days due to incomplete records, decreased every month in comparison to the previous year, for an average monthly decline of 102 FRRs.