Cornyn's New Bill Includes Incentives For Agencies Actually Following the Law


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Texas Senator John Cornyn has followed through on his promise to write legislation that, essentially, bribes states and agencies to follow already-existing laws on updating background checks.

The bipartisan bill, co-authored by South Carolina GOP Sen. Tim Scott and Connecticut Democrat Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, comes 11 days after the November 5 mass shooting that left 26 dead in a Sutherland Springs church.

Gunman Devin Kelley was able to purchase his murder weapon legally because the Air Force had neglected to submit Kelley's domestic violence conviction (from his time in the Air Force) to the National Instant Background Check System. It's the only criminal record database that store clerks reference before selling someone a gun. After the Air Force admitted this mistake, officials revealed that many state and federal agencies hadn't been submitting these kind of domestic violence charges into the system for a while.

“For years, agencies and states haven’t complied with the law, failing to upload these critical records without consequence" Cornyn said in a statement Thursday. "This bill aims to help fix what’s become a nationwide, systemic problem so we can better prevent criminals and domestic abusers from obtaining firearms."

His bill would incentivize state agencies and local governments to submit crimes to the background check system with a threat: If an agency fails to report these crimes, the feds would block the agency's leaders from getting their bonus pay.

It would also require states and agencies to send the feds a game plan for how they will do a better job at following the law.

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