South Carolina’s junior U.S. Sen. Tim Scott backs new legislation that would strengthen background checks for gun purchases.
According to The Post and Courier, the bill would require states and federal agencies to come up with ways to verify they are uploading all required records and information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
It would also impose penalties on federal agencies that do not fully report needed document and push states to improve their reporting.
Scott has a 93 percent rating from the National Rifle Association for his support of lawful gun rights. He has opposed attempts at imposing gun control.
The bill comes as lawmakers from the Democratic and Republican caucuses try to find common ground amid constant news of mass shootings. In several cases, the shooters were barred from owning a gun, but relevant information was not submitted to NICS. That allowed the shooters — barred by law from owning a weapon — to purchase their weapons at a store.
Investigators say Devin Kelley, who killed 26 people at a Sutherland Springs, Texas church earlier this month, was barred from owning a gun due to assault charges filed against him during his time in the Air Force. The charges led to his court-martial and discharge from the service due to “bad conduct,” but the Air Force admitted last week it did not submit the information to NICS.
The man who shot and killed nine parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in June 2015 also was barred from owning a gun due to his arrest on drug charges. However, the wrong arresting agency was listed on his submission. When the FBI later followed up with Lexington County authorities after Roof attempted to buy a gun, the sheriff’s office had no record and the agency did not realize Columbia Police had actually filed the charges. The maximum three days for a background check expired before the FBI could track down the correct explanation and Roof purchased the weapon.