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New Federal Act to Strengthen Background Check System

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MCALLEN – The government is taking action by strengthening a national database so people don’t exploit loopholes when buying firearms.

The Fix NICS Act plans to build up the national instant criminal background check system. It also looks to hold federal and state agencies accountable while protecting those who deserve to buy a firearm.

Oscar Ybarra says he’s looking to buy a weapon.

“I'm interested in buying ones for protection you know for family,” he tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS.

Ybarra must go through a background check before he can be the owner of the gun.

Local gun store manager, Jose Cruz, says he conducts background checks on a regular basis.

"Believe or not it takes a minute or if sometimes if there's a delay, it can take three days to get a response from them,” he explains.

The Fix NICS Act was introduced by Texas Senator John Cornyn after the November 2017 Sutherland Springs shooting.

The new statute found in the Appropriations Act of 2018 allows state and federal agencies to look closer at identifying felons and domestic abusers. It will also allow agencies to better communicate if they come across someone who doesn't qualify.

"I believe it’s going to help us enforce it a little bit more in the law enforcement section and for us, for ourselves. It's just going to help us make sure everything is correct,” says Cruz.

Cruz said the law, however, may make it harder for people who do follow the law to buy a firearm.

"The bad guy is going to do anything possible to get a weapon. It just makes it a little bit harder for the people that should have weapons a little bit harder to obtain them now,” he says.

Ybarra doesn't mind the transition.

"It's good because you don't know who you sell the gun to. You got to make sure the right person to get a gun instead of just selling it and something happens,” he says.

States who continuously follow the act will be rewarded with federal grants for new or existing law enforcement programs.

The act also creates a Domestic Abuse and Violence Prevention Initiative. This makes sure states have resources to share information with the national background check system.

Link: Fix NICS Act

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