Senator John Kennedy says he will vote "no" on new gun background check bill

Senator John Kennedy says he will vote "no" on new gun background check bill
U.S. Capitol (Source: Google)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - One "NO" vote already in the bag for a bipartisan bill that aims to improve the national firearms background check system.

That opposition coming from Senator John Kennedy.

"I support the database and I support the policy, I don't support the enforcement mechanism in this new senate bill," said Kennedy.

Senator Kennedy is talking about Senate Bill 2135, the "Fix National Instant Criminal Background Check System" Act.

The NICS is a background check system designed to control who can purchase a gun.

"There are huge holes in the background system, but they're not holes that were created by anything in the law, they're holes that are created by people in the state and federal that aren't doing their job," said Kennedy.

This discussion was brought to light after the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, which claimed the lives of 26 church members. The gunman, it was later found out, should have been in the NICS database.

"He was dishonorably discharged from one of the branches of the military and he had a record of spousal abuse" said Kennedy.  "Now, had that data been reported to the FBI as it should've been by some Air Force personnel, he never would've been able to buy a gun but somebody in the Air Force dropped the ball."

That's when a bipartisan effort began to fill this hole.

"For years agencies and states haven't complied with the law, failing to upload these critical records without consequence. Just one record that's not properly reported can lead to tragedy," said Republican Senator John Cornyn. Cornyn is one of the senators who introduced the bill.

Cornyn says the bill aims to help fix "what's become a nationwide, systemic problem."

It would offer bonuses to federal agencies that provide information to the system and grants for states to upload information.

But for Kennedy, that makes no sense.

"This is a good law, but I just don't support trying to encentivise enforcement by saying 'pretty please, pretty please, with sugar on top and we'll give you more money, if you do your job'," said Kennedy. "I don't think we need a carrot, I think we need a stick, and the stick is real simple. If you don't do your job, you're fired and all you have to do is fire a few people and the rest of the people that are responsible for inputting this data will understand the consequences."

Kennedy says he thinks all this will do is cost more taxpayer money.

The bill hasn't been scheduled for a vote yet and Kennedy expects some amendments to be introduced soon.

Click HERE to read the bill.

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