On Wednesday, the National Rifle Association (NRA) was forced to make a statement, defending its support of a gun background check reform bill, after alleged misinformation was spread about the pending legislation.
“We are in the thick of the legislative process and a so-called ‘pro-gun group,’ which is nothing more than a fundraising entity, is spreading lies about the FIX NICS legislation that was attached to the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act,” Lars Dalseide, the spokesperson for the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, said. “Their talking points are nothing but lies. Unfortunately, they are misleading well-meaning members of Congress with these false and inaccurate talking points.”
The Fix NICS Act was combined with the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 on Tuesday ahead of an expected vote on the House floor that took place on Wednesday. The Fix NICS provisions now contained in the combined bill established incentives for the states and federal agencies to better comply with the current law on reporting all the disqualifying criminal and mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System – NICS. They also included severe punishments, such as stripping bonuses from the political appointees, for states and agencies that don’t fully comply with the requirements.
Some pro-gun groups have opposed the bill, claiming that it expands the background check system. However, the NRA contends that text of the bill shows that it does not actually expand the classifications of who is considered prohibited from owning or possessing firearms, nor does it expand the kinds of criminal or mental health records that are required to be submitted to the system. The bill also doesn’t expand which agencies are required to report records to the NICS.
Despite what appears in the bill’s text, Dudley Brown, the president of the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR), described it as establishing “a gun control super-database” and “expanding the Brady-NICS gun owner registry.”
“Weak Republicans always push gun control laws under the guise of ‘enforcing the laws we have,’ but only end up pushing the Democrat agenda, giving gun owners more reasons to worry,” he had said.
Meanwhile an alert from Erich Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America – GOA, claimed Fix NICS “would require that the rolls of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and ObamaCare be trolled for recipients with PTSD, ADHD, or Alzheimer’s—that is, people who have had guardians appointed,” the group’s legislative council said it was not arguing that the bill would create new categories of the prohibited people. Instead, he said, that the bill’s attempt to gather all of the records required under the current law, which dates back nearly a decade, is the problem.
“No, we are not arguing that ‘Fix NICS’ adds new categories,” Michael Hammond, general counsel for GOA, told a news source. “But we are arguing that 18 U.S.C. 922(g), as interpreted by the 2007 NICS Improvement Amendments Act and its regulations at 27 CFR 478.11, is so potentially broad, that, if every eligible name were submitted to NICS, as the bill proposes, the result would be the submission of a large number of names of otherwise law-abiding Americans.”
Despite any concerns it has with the Fix NICS Act, GOA is encouraging the members of Congress to vote for the combined bill in hopes that the package has a better chance of passing the Senate.
“Sending both bills combined to the Senate will force Democrat lawmakers to explain why they don’t support self-defense, should they choose to kill the composite bill,” Pratt had said in a December 4th email to the lawmakers. “On the other hand, in the event one or two additional Senate Democrats were to vote for reciprocity as a result of the combining, we believe the Second Amendment community would benefit from the passage of that package far more than the anti-gun Left. Ultimately, we hope that the end result will be the signing into law of a reciprocity bill that has the support of a majority of House members and millions of law-abiding Americans.”