Local Agencies Review Reporting Processes for Background Checks

LUBBOCK, TX - After the horrible shooting in Texas, a flaw was exposed in the gun background check system. The Air Force now under heat after failing to accurately report the church shooter's criminal and mental health history to the proper databases. Authorities said that mistake allowed him to purchase a gun without his name being flagged.

Now local agencies are looking at how their reports are made and making sure there's no chance of a mistake. The Lubbock County Clerk's office said its careful record keeping could prevent a gun from getting into the wrong hands. 

"Records keeping is the main function of the County Clerk's office. We just want to make sure our records are as accurate as possible," said the Lubbock County Clerk, Kelly Pinion. 

If their reports aren't accurate, they could be responsible for a person buying a gun who's not supposed to be able to own one. 

"The state reporting data figures, all of these things factor into funding and preventing handguns getting sold where they shouldn't," said Pinion. "It's very important that the state gets accurate information."

When buying a gun, your background is checked for criminal, medical and metal health history using the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check Systems (NICS).

Pinion explains how the County Clerk's filing system records mental health decisions decided on by the court. 

"We have to have a code for each type of filing and the particular type codes that trigger our software company to flag that record and that's then automatically sent in to the NICS reporting. 

The NICS system is supposed to stop someone from being able to purchase a gun if they have a criminal or mental health background. A local gun shop manager said the system usually works but there are always cracks in the system. 

"Then if we submit it, it's up to the background check for the FBI to give us the response as to whether or not that can have, legally own a weapon or not," said Izzy Musquiz, general manager of Sharp Shooters. 

On Tuesday, U.S. Senator John Cornyn announced plans to introduce legislation to encourage federal agencies to efficiently upload the already required criminal and mental health records. 

"According to the Department of Justice, the number of these records that are actually uploaded is staggeringly low. That is unacceptable and it must change," said Senator Cornyn. 

Local law enforcement agencies report criminal arrests to the Department of Public Safety. According to the DPS website, 96 percent of arrests are entered into their system accurately. The remaining 4 percent usually come from offenses thrown out by the court. 

 

 

 


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