Cornyn Pushes Bill Increasing State Participation in Gun Background Checks

In this July 20, 2014 photo, with guns displayed for sale behind her, a gun store employee helps a customer at Dragonman's, east of Colorado Springs, Colo. When Colorado lawmakers expanded background checks on firearms last year, they were expecting a huge increase. But the actual number the first 12 …
AP/Brennan Linsley

On August 5, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced legislation that encourages states to more readily submit information on people with mental health problems to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

Although states share mental health information with NICS in theory, the reality is that the amount of information that is actually shared varies from state to state. Cornyn is pushing for a greater uniformity in cooperation.

According to WSB Radio, Cornyn’s “bill would increase grants under the government’s main law enforcement program by up to 5 percent for states that send the federal system at least 90 percent of their records on people with serious mental problems.” At the same time, the bill would reduce grants “by the same amounts” for states providing less data.

Breitbart News spoke with Cornyn’s office on August 5, which said the background checks bill simply “incentivizes states to do what they are already required to do.” His office also stressed that the bill “does not expand, broaden, or redefine the current background check in any way”–i.e., it is not a gun control.

When Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) pushed gun control in the wake of the heinous Sandy Hook Elementary School attack, his new gun controls included incentives to get states to participate. Cornyn has seized on the incentives in hopes of making the current background check system work as well as it was designed to work, but he has done so without any of the gun controls Senator Manchin began pushing in 2013.

Cornyn’s bill is “backed by the National Rifle Association.”

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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