Press Releases

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Dean Heller (R-NV), John Cornyn (R-TX), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tim Scott (R-SC), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the Fix NICS Act to 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). The bill penalizes federal agencies who fail to properly report relevant records and incentivizes states to improve their overall reporting. The bill also directs more federal funding to the accurate reporting of domestic violence records.

“It’s critical that the laws that are already on the books are fully enforced, but for years federal agencies have failed to properly report criminal history records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System,” said Heller. “Our commonsense, bipartisan legislation doubles down on federal agencies and raises the bar for states in an effort to improve overall reporting of accurate, updated criminal history records. We cannot enter the mind of a madman or pass a bill to eradicate evil from our society, but we can make sure that the systems we already have in place to stop a horrific tragedy are working – and this bill will help make sure of it.”

The legislation is endorsed by the National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Fraternal Order of Police, National Sheriffs’ Association, National Network to End Domestic Violence, and National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Background on the Fix NICS Act:

  • Requires federal agencies and states to produce NICS implementation plans focused on uploading all information to the background check system showing that a person is prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms under current law—including measures to verify the accuracy of records.
  • Holds federal agencies accountable if they fail to upload relevant records to the background check system through public reporting and prohibiting bonus pay for political appointees.  
  • Rewards states who comply with their NICS implementation plans through federal grant preferences and incentives, while increasing accountability through public reporting for those who do not comply with their plans.
  • Reauthorizes and improves important law enforcement programs to help state governments share relevant criminal record      information with NICS.
  • Creates a Domestic Abuse and Violence Prevention Initiative to ensure that states have adequate resources and incentives to share all relevant information with NICS showing that a felon or domestic abuser is excluded from purchasing firearms under current law.
  • Provides important technical assistance to federal agencies and states who are working to comply with NICS record-sharing      requirements.