Gun background check system under scrutiny - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

Gun background check system under scrutiny

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Following a mass shooting in a Sutherland Springs, Texas church, questions are being raised about how this tragedy could have been prevented.

The shooter - a man with a violent past - was able to buy a gun because his criminal records were not in the federal background check system.

“Every day we let the current dysfunction in the background check system continue, lives are in jeopardy," said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), a top party leader.

Cornyn says Congress needs to improve the process for background checks before gun sales.

Last month, Dustin Kelley fired into a Sunday morning church service outside San Antonio, killing 26 worshipers and injuring dozens more.

Government reviews indicate Kelley’s history of domestic violence somehow did not enter the database.

“I personally have gotten a little tired of the statements following these tragedies that we need to do something," said Cornyn. "I think it’s pretty clear, particularly when it comes to fixing our broken background check system what that something is."

Now Cornyn is pushing for a bill he says would provide more oversight and accountability of the background check database.

Democratic Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar says he thinks this would lead to more accurate records for gun dealers.

“We got to make sure we get this done as quickly as possible," said Cuellar.

The Sutherland Springs shooting happened in Cuellar’s district. He says it’s unacceptable multiple violent incidents of Kelley did not make it into the system.

“He cracked the head of a young kid and really hurt his wife," said Cuellar. "Four different occasions where they messed up”

Louisiana GOP Senator John Kennedy opposes the bill, saying existing laws just need to be enforced.

“Some state bureaucrats and some federal bureaucrats are not putting the information about folks who are mentally ill into the database and my suggestion about doing something is to find out who’s not doing their job and fire them," said Kennedy.

Several lawmakers have put forward versions of this bill on the House and Senate sides. It’s still in the early stages of debate.

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