Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), a gun-rights advocate who has received nearly $4 million in support from the National Rifle Association (NRA), has reportedly put a hold on a bipartisan gun background check bill, blocking it reaching the Senate floor. But he refused to admit it outright, instead saying that he has “due process” concerns.
“There are some of us who are talking about due process issues in the bill,” Gardner told CBS’ Face the Nation. “This isn’t an issue of whether you like this or not, it’s a question of Constitutional rights and protecting the people…and making sure that we get this right.” Throughout the interview Gardner repeatedly refused to answer outright whether he was blocking the bill or not.
The “Fix NICS” gun bill was introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) in the wake of the Sutherland Springs mass shooting, where 26 people were shot dead. The killer, 26-year-old Devin Kelly, was able to acquire a firearm, despite being a convicted domestic abusers, because his details were never entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). His lead co-sponsor is Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), who has been one of the Senate’s most vocal gun violence prevention advocates since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in his home state.
Under the bill, federal agencies and states would be required to design plans that ensured all relevant information was reported to NICS. It would give agencies extra funds to do so, and penalize those who failed to comply. Buyers from licensed gun vendors must pass a background check, through the system.
Cornyn said on Friday that the bill had enough sponsors to pass with a filibuster-proof margin. “We should start with what’s achievable and what will actually save lives, and that describes the Fix NICS bill,” he said. “This bill could easily pass the Senate. It’s already passed the House. And the President would sign it, as he told me when he called me last Thursday night.” But Gardner’s hold is a procedural delay, designed to make that process more difficult.
The bill represents a step so modest that even the Trump administration and the National Rifle Association have praised it.
Kudos to see Cornyn propose what the NRA has pushed for 20 years: States’ compliance with reporting all felony criminal convictions to III, NCIC, and NICS Index for NRA-created NICS system.
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) November 17, 2017
In the wake of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, Sen. Gardner was eager to deflect from any discussion on gun control, saying at the time that he was not ready to discuss changing federal laws, and wanted to wait for a full picture to emerge of what had happened. Though a wave of activism has followed and public support for gun control has spiked, Gardner seems to have not gotten the message.