EDITORIAL: Connecticut lawmakers push for commonsense gun regulations

EDITORIAL: Connecticut lawmakers push for commonsense gun regulations

Alas, more commonsense gun control regulations could be on the way.

“Fix NICS,” a bill that would improve reporting for background checks, has bipartisan support in Washington, D.C. The legislation would penalize agencies that fail to report relevant records, give incentives to states that improve their overall reporting and direct more federal funding to the accurate reporting of domestic violence records.

Even the National Rifle Association, which has railed against any new gun control regulations, has signaled its support for “Fix NICS.” The need for this legislation was made abundantly clear earlier this month when Devin Kelley walked into the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and opened fire, killing 26 people and injuring 20.

Kelley had been convicted of assaults on his wife and his stepson, and was court-martialed by the Air Force. However, the Air Force failed to update the national criminal database used to conduct background checks when individuals buy guns.

A most tragic oversight indeed.

Like Kelley, the gunmen responsible for mass deaths in Las Vegas, Orlando and San Bernardino also had histories of abusing women. In Sandy Hook, the gunman shot his mother before killing 20 children and six teachers.

While no new gun control regulations were enacted at the national level after the horrific assaults in Las Vegas, Orlando and San Bernardino, the Texas church shooting has prompted lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to act. Republican Sens. John Cornyn, of Texas; Tim Scott, of South Carolina; Orrin Hatch, of Utah; and Dean Heller, of Nevada, have joined Connecticut Democratic lawmakers Sen. Christopher Murphy, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, and U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, of the 5th District, and others in backing “Fix NICS.”

“The background checks system is fundamentally broken,” Murphy said during a Nov. 20 press conference in Hartford. “There are potentially hundreds of thousands of individuals who have committed serious crimes or are seriously mentally ill whose names never make it onto the background checks list. That means there are lots of people who are able to walk into a gun store, buy guns and walk out and commit crimes.”

The “Fix NICS” bill closes one “outrageous” loophole that failed to recognize domestic violence convictions as a reportable offense, and stops sellers from dispensing guns without adequate wait times for a background check, Murphy said. 

“Fix NICS” won’t put an end to gun violence in our country, but it’s a step in the right direction.

According to Everytown For Gun Safety, a nonprofit organization which advocates for gun control, between January 2009 and December 2016, a staggering 156 mass shootings took place in the U.S.

Doing nothing is no longer an option.

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