WASHINGTON – Congressman Tom Rice (R-S.C.) released the following statement upon introducing the 21st Century NICS Act.

“The National Data Exchange (N-DEX) aggregates criminal records from various federal, local, and state agencies to provide critical information to the criminal justice community. Although it is operated by the FBI, outdated agency policy prevents the FBI’s own background check examiners from accessing this database. If a request from a firearm retailer is referred to an FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) examiner, current protocol sends them on a wild-goose chase for relevant information. Unable to legally access their own database, they have to fax requests to local law enforcement agencies and are prohibited from performing basic internet searches to find contact information. If three days passes without an answer from the FBI, the retailer can use their discretion on whether to complete the firearm sale” said Congressman Rice.“Not only does this prevent lawful citizens from exercising their Second Amendment Right to purchase a firearm, but as we know from the horrific shooting at the Emanuel AME church it allows the sale of guns to people who absolutely should not have them. Why have this database if it isn’t going to be used effectively? This common-sense and long overdue fix will grant background check examiners access to the N-DEX, allowing lawful citizens to purchase firearms without running into bureaucratic delays and keeping guns out of the wrong hands.” 

Watch Rep. Rice’s floor speech on the 21st Century NICS Act here.

Original cosponsors of this legislation are Rep. Gonzalez (D-TX), Rep. Torres-Small (D-NM), Rep. Hudson (R-NC), Rep. Conaway (R-TX), Rep. Moolenaar (R-MI), Rep. Amodei (R-NV), Rep. Woodall (R-GA), Rep. Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Rep. Yoho (R-FL), Rep. Marchant (R-TX), Rep. Huizenga (R-MI), Rep. Stewart (R-UT), Rep. Zeldin (R-NY) and Rep. Lesko (R-AZ).