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Pass ‘Fix NICS’

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Sen. Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) is one of several U.S. senators working to pass modest reforms that would tighten up loopholes in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System

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One of the proposed solutions to the rash of mass shootings that has drawn bipartisan support is the so-called “Fix NICS,” which tightens up loopholes in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

It’s minimal and incremental. Yet, even here, Congress can’t muster the spine to buck the national gun lobby and do one little thing that would improve our national security in the face of an underground army of lone-wolf mass shooters.

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The legislation aims to penalize federal agencies that don’t properly report required records used to determine whether someone can legally buy a gun. But it’s being held up by the NRA and its lawyers unless the Senate agrees to attach a piece of legislation that would establish nationwide reciprocity for state conceal-carry permits.

Funny how the gun lobby turns up its nose when the suggestion is made to impose some of the restrictions we place on car ownership on gun ownership, but they like the way state driver’s licenses and car registration have reciprocity in every state.

It is selfish and cynical of the National Rifle Association, which seems to think it owns the Second Amendment of the Constitution, to use the mass shooting tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida as a vehicle to notch another legislative victory. And Congress’s pusillanimity in the face of the NRA is shocking.

Sens. John Cornyn (R., Texas) and Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) are supporting a Senate version of the Fix NICS bill similar to one approved last year in the House. Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) is a co-sponsor. The House legislation that passed in December included changes to the background-check system as part of a package that requires states to recognize concealed-carry permits issued by other states.

RELATED: Revisiting the Second Amendment

Fix NICS is far from a panacea, but it’s a start. It might have made a difference where churchgoers were killed in Texas. The shooter’s conviction for domestic violence was not reported to the National Criminal Information Center database.

Said Mr. Cornyn: “If our attitude is, ‘I want everything on my list or nothing,’ we’re going to end up with nothing.”

Senate leaders would like to separate the issues of background checks and state reciprocity measures.

They should, just to see what it feels like to experience independence from their controllers in the NRA.

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