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State of Texas
Reps. Culberson and Cuellar Applaud House Passage of Bipartisan Bills to Curb Gun Violence
Press Release
Wednesday, December 06, 2017

WASHINGTON— Today, the House of Representatives passed two bipartisan bills to curb gun violence: H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, and H.R. 4477, also known as the Fix NICS Act of 2017. H.R. 38 allows law-abiding citizens to carry a concealed weapon across state lines only if they are not federally prohibited from possessing or receiving a firearm, are carrying a valid government-issued photo ID, are lawfully licensed or otherwise entitled to carry a concealed handgun, and follows the laws of the state, county and municipality in which they are carrying concealed. H.R. 4477, introduced by Congressman John Culberson (TX-07) and Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) is bipartisan piece of legislation spurred by the investigation into the recent shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, which revealed enormous gaps in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The Fix NICS Act ensures federal and state authorities comply with existing law and accurately report relevant criminal history records to NICS. Additionally, the bill provides consequences for federal agencies who fail to properly report relevant records and ensures that states improve their overall reporting. Both Reps. Culberson and Cuellar have made it their top priority to work together to combat gun violence to prevent future tragedies like the one in Sutherland Springs in the future.

“Today, the House of Representatives took decisive action to protect one of our most fundamental rights: the right to keep and bear arms. Today’s legislation will guarantee that our second amendment rights are valid from coast to coast and do not stop at state lines. H.R. 38, The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, was combined with H.R. 4477, the Fix NICS Act of 2017, to create one bill which will ensure that concealed carry permit holders can travel across state lines without fear of arrest,” said Congressman Culberson. 

In a joint statement, the Congressmen said, “This important legislation will also help ensure that the NICS database is as accurate as humanly possible.  Federal agencies will be required to keep the NICS database current and accurate, or senior agency officials will lose their bonus and overtime pay.  For the first time, Americans whose names were incorrectly added to the list have a guaranteed due process right to have their name removed within 60 days after they prove the error to the Attorney General.  Had this legislation been in effect over the last few years, it is highly likely that the man who murdered 26 people at the church in Sutherland Springs would not have been able to legally buy a gun. We do not need new gun laws. We simply need to enforce the ones that we have and protect the right of law abiding Americans to carry a concealed weapon if they pass a background check and get the necessary training.”

“I believe that Congress is taking appropriate steps in protecting people’s basic constitutional rights. However, I think that more should be done to prevent tragedies like the one that occurred in Sutherland Springs, from happening in the future. That is why Congressman Culberson and I have joined together, alongside other members in Congress, to push our legislation aimed at curbing gun violence. We are dedicated to improving the federal criminal background check system and confident in closing major loopholes in the NICS database,” said Rep. Cuellar. 

Background on the Fix NICS Act of 2017:

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.

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