The Fix NICS bill is surprisingly controversial. While no one is surprised that gun rights advocates are less than enthused about new gun laws, it seemed entirely probable many would go along with reforming the NICS database following Sutherland Springs. After all, didn’t the shooter get his gun from a gun store despite being a prohibited person?
But it is. The GOA has issued a strong statement against the bill, for example.
Additionally, Rep. Thomas Massie had some harsh words regarding the bill as well.
The bill, known as the “Fix NICS” bill, is an Obama style regulation that, according to Massie, would require government entities to submit thousands of names into the NICS database for denial of the purchase of a firearm. The legislation is being quietly added in a Trojan Horse style by Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer and Diane Feinstein.
Massie sounded the alarm through a post on Facebook, writing on how “the Senate version of this bill is cosponsored by Senator Dianne Feintstein and Senator Chuck Schumer.”
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. 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.
The bill itself is troubling, but as Massie points out, the bill was sent through committee at breakneck speed, breaking records for fast tracked legislation by entering and exiting committee, with approval, in a matter of hours. The speed at which the bill was passed meant that the bill wasn’t viewable by the public until after it had been approved.
So the issue is that administrative agencies will be adding this new data, not the courts. Sounds fair. Especially if the courts are who is inputting data now.
But they’re not.
A flyer published by the FBI some time back describes who inputs the data into the NICS database:
The NICS Index contains information that may not be available in the NCIC or the III of persons prohibited from receiving firearms under federal or state law. A valid match of a NICS Index record to a prospective firearm transferee results in an immediate determination of firearm disqualification. NICS Index records are voluntarily provided by local, state, tribal, and federal agencies.
All Fix NICS does is try to increase the amount of information being provided by providing incentives to these agencies.
Now, I’m not saying you should support the bill or not. Hell, despite my earlier enthusiasm over the bill, I’m not sure if I support it at this point or not. I definitely agree with Rep. Massie when he said the bill needs to be separated from national reciprocity, though. They’re two separate issues and I’d rather they be voted on separately, especially since any Democrat willing to vote for a national reciprocity bill will likely to so on that issue alone as well.
What I am saying, however, is that if you’re going to oppose a bill, be sure you understand exactly what you’re opposing and why.