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Sens. Cruz, Grassley Introduce Bill to Improve Compliance with Firearm Background Check System; Protect Second Amendment Rights

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today reintroduced legislation to improve school safety and prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands. The Protecting Communities and Preserving the Second Amendment Act of 2018 prevents gun violence by ensuring that relevant agencies and institutions accurately submit records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). A strong bipartisan majority of Senators supported an earlier version of this legislation in 2013.

“During the gun control debate in 2013, following the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook, I was proud to join my colleague Sen. Grassley in introducing this legislation,” Sen. Cruz said. “We continue to witness horrific shootings across the country, including in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and Parkland, Florida. This bill seeks to prevent these tragedies by significantly increasing funding for school safety, creating a federal task force to prosecute the criminals who attempt to illegally obtain a firearm, and directing the Department of Justice to make sure that all federal agencies are reporting convictions to the National Background Check Database. In 2013, this bill received the support of a bipartisan majority of the Senate, and I would urge my colleagues to support the bill again today, so that we can focus on targeting violent criminals, rather than law-abiding citizens.”

“Time and again we’ve seen the disastrous results of failures to fully employ the national background checks system. A number of recent mass shootings could have been prevented by proper execution of the existing system. Senator Cruz and I are now taking steps to bolster that system and improve its ability to prevent future violence.” Sen. Grassley said. “When we introduced this legislation in 2013, after the tragedy at Sandy Hook, it received a bipartisan majority vote in the Senate. I’m optimistic in rejoining Senator Cruz in this effort and look forward to the bill’s consideration.” 

The bill was first introduced as the “Grassley-Cruz” amendment in 2013, when the amendment received a positive vote of 52-48 in the Senate, when Republicans were in the minority. The legislation takes important, concrete steps to improve the NICS and bolster alerts to law enforcement. The bill also includes additional grant resources, which can be used to strengthen school safety and security.

This legislation would: 

  • Improve and reauthorize grants for NICS database;
  • Require federal courts to submit relevant information to NICS;
  • Increase federal prosecution of gun violence by establishing the Nationwide Project Exile Program and establishing a high level federal taskforce;
  • Responsibly addresses gun violence by criminalizing straw purchasing of firearms and gun trafficking;
  • Protect the Second Amendment rights of members of the armed forces;
  • Require the Department of Justice to explain to Congress why it has or has not been prosecuting gun cases;
  • Place limitations on operations like Fast and Furious by DOJ;
  • Allow firearms dealers to utilize the NICS database to for voluntary background checks of employees;
  • Allow firearms dealers to access the FBI’s National Crime Information Center stolen-gun database to ensure that a firearm is not stolen prior to acquisition;
  • Address school safety by reauthorizing the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Secure our Schools Program through 2023.

The full text of the legislation can be found here.