On Wednesday, the National Rifle Association responded to claims circulating about the “Fix NICS” bill that they say mischaracterizes its intent and misleads well-meaning lawmakers.
Stephen Gutowski of the Washington Free Beacon reached out for comment from the NRA, who said the claims going around about “Fix NICS” are little more than deliberate falsehoods:
“We are in the thick of the legislative process and a so-called ‘pro-gun group,’ which is nothing more than a fundraising entity, is spreading lies about the FIX NICS legislation that was attached to the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act,” Lars Dalseide, a spokesperson for the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, told the Washington Free Beacon. “Their talking points are nothing but lies. Unfortunately, they are misleading well-meaning members of Congress with these false and inaccurate talking points.”
One member of Congress who has taken a direct stance against the “Fix NICS” bill is Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, who earlier on Wednesday warned people that the “Fix NICS” bill is a danger to our second amendment rights in a YouTube video. Massie said that if “Fix NICS” is included with reciprocity, he won’t vote for either.
“There’s $790 million authorized in this bill — nearly a billion dollars — as incentive to the states to introduce more names into the NICS database,” said Massie. “And there’s also provisions in the bill that would penalize…the administrations within the executive branch — for instance the Veterans administration, social security administration — if they don’t provide all the records into the NICS database that the attorney general at the time thinks they should provide.”
According to the Free Beacon, Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights, seems to align with Massie’s take, saying “Fix NICS” creates a “gun control super-database,” and expands “the Brady-NICS gun owner registry.”
“Weak Republicans always push gun control laws under the guise of ‘enforcing the laws we have,’ but only end up pushing the Democrat agenda, giving gun owners more reasons to worry,” said Brown.
However, the NRA denies that any expansion of disqualifications for gun ownership exists in the bill, according to the Free Beacon:
“The FIX-NICS bill does not expand prohibited categories in any way,” Dalseide told the Free Beacon. “It does not expand the people who are legally prohibited to possess or carry a firearm and it does not authorize any entity to enter records into the system that are not already legally prohibiting offenses.
“FIX-NICS actually provides some remedy for people who may have been erroneously entered into the NICS database. This Fix-NICS provision expedites NICS appeals for those individuals, requiring a response within 60 days. Under the current system, the appeals process has taken more than a year in some cases.”
Michael Hammond, general counsel for the Gun Owners of America, expands on the point that the “Fix NICS” bill actually helps people stay off the “no buy” list, telling the Free Beacon, “we are arguing that 18 U.S.C. 922(g), as interpreted by the 2007 NICS Improvement Amendments Act and its regulations at 27 CFR 478.11, is so potentially broad, that, if every eligible name were submitted to NICS, as the bill proposes, the result would be the submission of a large number of names of otherwise law-abiding Americans.”