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December 13, 2017

Traffic Ticket Won’t Stop Gun Purchase If We Fix NICS


By Larry Keane

Last week we made the case for supporting reform legislation that will do the most to help keep firearms out of the hands of those who should not have them. “Fix-NICS” legislation was attached to Rep. Richard Hudson’s (R-NC) national reciprocity legislation and passed the House by a vote of 231 to 198. The purpose of the legislation is to ensure that there are no statutory, regulatory, administrative or procedural impediments to entering all appropriate records into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

The same reform measure is a stand-alone bill in the U.S. Senate, S. 2135, which was introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and where a hearing was held last week. Unfortunately, this measure is being opposed by some of our usual allies in the Pro-Second Amendment community based on a mistaken notion that the system would be expanded.

Discussion with AWR Hawkins

As I discussed with Breitbart Second Amendment columnist, AWR Hawkins, “Will more prohibited people who are currently–under current law, prohibited persons–be increased in the database? Yes. That is exactly the point. Will it result in more innocent people being incorrectly swept into the system? No. It will not.”

It strains credulity to believe that tens of thousands of Americans will be denied the right to purchase firearms because they forgot to pay a traffic ticket or to appear in court to contest the charge and that a warrant was issued for their arrest without their knowledge.

The definition of a prohibited person is not being expanded. Unelected government bureaucrats cannot unilaterally and arbitrarily put the names of law-abiding Americans into the NICS database to stop them from buying firearms. But it will stop prohibited people like the murderer of the innocent victims in Sutherland Springs from being able to purchase firearms from a federally licensed firearms retailer.

Operating Principle: Protect the Second Amendment

The operating principle behind the NICS concept is to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens — and the lawful commerce in firearms — while denying access to firearms by those prohibited by current law from purchasing or possessing guns.

We know this system better than anyone because our retailers are on the front lines every day using it to help protect public safety. That’s why we launched the FixNICS® initiative in 2013. The legislation that passed the House and is now before the Senate is built on this experience.

No one who sells firearms for their livelihood wants to put a gun into the hands of a criminal or a mentally unstable individual. While we know it’s not perfect, we want to work to improve the system – not expand the law – but improve the system. That’s what the Fix NICS Act will do.

You may also be interested in: U.S. Sen. John Cornyn Introduces NSSF-Backed National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Bill