WASHINGTON — The House passed a gun package Wednesday that lifts gun restrictions and tightens loopholes in the federal criminal background checks system.
The House bill combines the “Fix NICS Act” and the “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act”.
But as KOLR10’s Anna Wiernicki explains, some lawmakers fear combining the two bills will stall passing a fix the background check system.
After a gunman with a criminal history killed 26 people in a Texas church lawmakers want to make sure criminals can not buy firearms.
“Clearly our background system must be strengthened,” said Alcee Hastings, a Democratic U.S. Congressman.
Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings put up a fight, saying the two bills should be separated.
“My Republican colleagues have decided to sabotage a common-sense bipartisan bill by combining it with a reckless piece of legislation that will allow guns to be carried all over this country,” Hastings said.
The combined bill cleared the House and now heads to the Senate.
“The answer to this is not gun control,” said Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
Cruz says if the Sutherland Springs shooter’s history of domestic violence was properly reported to the FBI’s national database known as “NICS”, it could have saved the lives of 26 Texans.
“It was illegal for this shooter to have a firearm, existing federal law it was illegal and the reason he had a firearm is the federal government screwed up,” Cruz said.
“There’s a huge problem with that background system,” said Catherine Mortensen, an NRA spokesperson.
Catherine Mortensen with the National Rifle Association agrees.
“We don’t want to expand the category of prohibited people, we just want to make sure that the people who are already prohibited that their records get in there,” Mortensen said.
The bill may face a tough battle in the Senate. Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn warns pairing the two bills may jeopardize them independently.
“I’ve been getting tired of the statements following these tragedies that we need to do ‘something’, ‘do something’,” Cornyn said. “I think it is pretty clear.”