The U.S. House of Representatives could vote on a national concealed carry reciprocity bill that might contain language similar to another bill that would “fix” the background check system, or National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
The bill, H.R. 38, will be voted on this week with a large majority of Republican lawmakers in favor of national concealed carry reciprocity. The bill currently has 213 cosponsors.
The legislation amends federal criminal code to allow a qualified person to carry a concealed handgun or own a concealed handgun in a state that allows individuals to carry concealed firearms.
The bill will move to the House floor, where it is scheduled to get voted on on Wednesday.
“An overwhelming majority of Americans support concealed carry reciprocity. Momentum, common sense, and the facts are on our side,” said Rep. Richard Hudson, a Republican from North Carolina. “I want to thank Speaker Paul Ryan for his strong support of the Second Amendment, and I urge my colleagues to support this common-sense bill to protect law-abiding citizens.”
The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 and the Fix NICS Act could possibly be combined in the bill, gun advocates warn.
The Fix NICS Act would add measures that would make federal agencies accountable for submitting records of those who are not permitted to carry a gun to the FBI’s system.
Change to the NICS has been supported by many people, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in the aftermath of the shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where 26 people were killed by former Airman Devin Kelley. The Air Force failed to report to NICS that Kelley had a court-martial conviction for domestic assault.
“The National Instant Criminal Background Check System [NICS] is critical for us to be able to keep guns out of the hands of those that are prohibited from owning them,” Sessions said.
“Does the NICS background check system have problems? Yes, it results in tens of thousands of unjustified denials of gun purchases every year. But like many bills in Congress, the [Fix] NICS doesn’t live up to its name – it will likely do the opposite,” said Rep. Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky. “It throws millions of dollars at a faulty program and it will result in more law-abiding citizens being deprived of their right to keep and bear arms.”
“The bill encourages administrative agencies, not the courts, to submit more names to a national database that will determine whether you can or can’t obtain a firearm,” he said. “When President Obama couldn’t get Congress to pass gun control, he implemented a strategy of compelling, through administrative rules, the Veterans Administration and the Social Security Administration to submit lists of veterans and seniors, many of whom never had a day in court, to be included in the NICS database of people prohibited from owning a firearm. Only a state court, a federal (article III) court, or a military court should ever be able to suspend your rights for any significant period of time.”