Donald Trump has announced his support for efforts that would streamline and strengthen the federal and state background check process required for gun purchases, Reuters is reporting.
In light of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, calls to do something about gun control have emerged from all across the country. One area in which gun-control advocates have expressed room for improvement is in the area of background checks. In a best-case scenario, a thorough background check system would help keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and/or people with a criminal history.
However, state and federal agencies that ostensibly conduct those checks have done a haphazard job, says Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn, who calls such compliance “lousy.” As the Hill reported back in November 2017, far too many would-be gun purchasers fall through the cracks in the system. The number of criminal records being shared with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which is intended to be a repository for records that may raise red flags for a would-be gun purchaser, is “staggeringly low.”
“That is unacceptable and it must change.”
At the time, Cornyn introduced the Fix NICS Act, which would “ensure that all federal departments and agencies, including the Department of Defense, upload the required conviction records into the national database.”
President Donald Trump told U.S. Sen. John Cornyn that he is supportive the state’s senior senator to revamp the nation’s background check system for purchasing firearms. https://t.co/dVxk0fgQnK pic.twitter.com/kp2ONdorve
— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) February 19, 2018
Cronyn introduced the bill back in November, in the wake of the mass shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Alleged perpetrator Devin Kelley had racked up a bad-conduct discharge from the military — something that Cronyn says should have shown up on a background check and prevented him from being able to purchase firearms.
Now, Donald Trump has indicated that he would support Cronyn’s bill, which has “stalled” in Congress. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Monday that the president is supportive of expanding and strengthening the background check system, according to Bloomberg.
“While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the President is supportive of efforts to improve the Federal background check system.”
The indication that he might possibly be on board with strengthening background checks marks a departure from Trump’s earlier statements on gun control, according to Bloomberg. Trump campaigned on loosening gun laws, not tightening them, during his 2016 campaign. What’s more, he’s made no moves towards limiting gun ownership since he’s been in office.