Senator John Cornyn Proposes Tightening Background Check Law After Texas Church Shooting

The No. 2 Republican in the Senate, Texas Senator John Cornyn, said on Tuesday that he will introduce a background check bill for gun purchases. This is in response to the mass shooting at the Sutherland Springs Baptist church in Texas, where Devin Patrick Kelley killed 26 people, half of them children, on Sunday. The proposed legislation will require all federal agencies to upload criminal records to a national database, that must be checked before a person can purchase a gun.

“I plan to introduce legislation … to ensure that all federal departments and agencies, including the Department of Defense, upload the required conviction records into the national database,” Cornyn said in a statement.

This shift in policy comes after the discovery that the Texas church shooter had slipped through the cracks of the system. The Air Force did not previously report Kelley’s 2012 court-martial, for which he was convicted of assaulting both his wife and stepson, and subsequently dishonorably discharged. The Air Force failed to enter the conviction into an FBI database used during background checks.

“If the shooter was dishonorably discharged, federal law prohibited him from buying or possessing any firearms,” tweeted Senator Cornyn. He added that, “A domestic violence conviction disqualifies gun purchaser on background check.”

Due to this oversight and others, Senator Cornyn says that background checks have too many gaps, and furthermore, he said he will work with Democrats in a bipartisan effort to close those gaps.

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