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Upton Urges Immediate Action to Improve Background Checks

Bipartisan legislation would take important step toward making country safer from gun violence

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Washington, February 23, 2018 | Tom Wilbur (202-225-3761) | comments

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today joined 17 colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives in writing a letter to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan urging immediate floor consideration for H.R. 4477, the FIX NICS Act. Upton has long-supported robust background checks including voting for the 1994 Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act which established the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) as well as the 2008 NICS Improvement Act which strengthened this critical tool. Upton released the following statement:

“As I sat down just this week with our local law enforcement officials they spoke directly to the importance of robust background checks and I couldn’t agree more. Guns must be kept out of the hands of dangerous, unstable individuals. I’ll continue to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle on common-sense solutions to gun violence such as banning Bump Stocks, prohibiting those on the terrorist watch lists from purchasing guns, and improving the background check system to close the system’s loopholes.”

The leaders write:

In the wake of the deadly mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, calls for Congress to step up and revise the nation’s existing gun laws have been renewed. To this end, we write today to respectfully request immediate consideration of H.R. 4477, the “Fix NICS Act of 2017,” when Congress returns for legislative business next week. This bipartisan and bicameral, common-sense legislation would incentivize states as well as federal departments and agencies to accurately and promptly submit information and records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

The Fix NICS was proposed by the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate late last year following the mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where 26 people were killed and 20 others injured by a former U.S. Air Force member with a history of domestic violence. The U.S. Air Force had failed to submit the shooter’s criminal history to the FBI as required.

H.R. 4477, the Fix NICS Act would greatly improve the sharing of mental health and criminal record information between state and local agencies and the federal background check database. It has broad bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. Let us pass this legislation next week and take a small but important step toward making our country safer from gun violence.

Read the letter online here.

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