Press Releases

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) sponsored a set of bipartisan bills to help curb gun violence, including the Fix NICS Act, legislation which would ensure federal and state authorities comply with existing law and accurately report relevant criminal history records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). This bill penalizes federal agencies who fail to properly report relevant records and incentivizes states to improve their overall reporting. In addition, it directs more federal funding to the accurate reporting of domestic violence records.

“Throughout my career, I’ve been a proud supporter of the Second Amendment and have always advocated for responsible gun ownership. My commitment to those principles remains, but it is also past time to put an end to these mass shootings,” said Sen. Warner. “While these commonsense reforms are not themselves enough, they will strengthen our background checks system and keep deadly weapons out of the hands of violent individuals and terrorists. No single law will end all gun violence, but we must begin attempting to address this crisis.”

The Fix NICS Act

  • Requires federal agencies and states to produce NICS implementation plans focused on uploading all information to the background check system showing that a person is prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms under current law—including measures to verify the accuracy of records.
  • Holds federal agencies accountable if they fail to upload relevant records to the background check system through public reporting and prohibiting bonus pay for political appointees.  
  • Rewards states who comply with their NICS implementation plans through federal grant preferences and incentives, while increasing accountability through public reporting for those who do not comply with their plans.
  • Reauthorizes and improves important law enforcement programs to help state governments share relevant criminal record information with NICS.
  • Creates a Domestic Abuse and Violence Prevention Initiative to ensure that states have adequate resources and incentives to share all relevant information with NICS showing that a felon or domestic abuser is excluded from purchasing firearms under current law.

Sen. Warner is also a cosponsor of the Terrorist Firearms Prevention Act, bipartisan legislation to help keep guns from terrorist by preventing people who are on the “No Fly List” or the “Selectee List” from purchasing firearms.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine joined U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to introduce the Automatic Gun Fire Prevention Act, a bill to close a loophole that allows semi-automatic weapons to be easily modified to fire at the rate of automatic weapons, the sale of which have been significantly curtailed and strictly regulated for more than 30 years. This bill would ban the sale, transfer, importation, manufacture or possession of bump stocks, trigger cranks, and similar accessories that accelerate a semi-automatic rifle’s rate of fire.

“Fully automatic machine guns have been strictly regulated since 1986 under President Reagan. This bill will fix an egregious loophole that was exploited by the Las Vegas shooter to cause unspeakable mayhem, killing dozens and injuring hundreds of innocent civilians,” said Sen. Warner. “This measure sends the message that we can honor and respect the second amendment while also ensuring people don’t skirt our laws to turn legally obtained firearms into weapons of war.” 

“We continue to suffer horrific mass shootings like the one we saw in Las Vegas this week -- in Virginia we know the unbearable pain they cause -- but Congress has remained unwilling to do anything to help stop them from happening again and again,” Kaine said. “This bill would help curb deadly gun violence by closing a dangerous loophole that allows someone to make a semi-automatic weapon even more dangerous. We need to take long overdue action on gun safety and quickly pass this bill that can save lives.”

Under the National Firearms Act, the sale, manufacture, and transfer of automatic weapons are illegal. However, bump stocks, slide fire devices and other similar accessories are able to be attached to semi-automatic weapons, allowing them to reach fully-automatic rates of fire. Semi-automatic rifles typically have a rate of fire between 45 and 60 rounds per minute. A bump stock, or other similar device increases the semi-automatic rifle's rate of fire between 400 and 800 rounds per minute.

The bill also makes clear that its intent is to target only those accessories that increase a semi-automatic rifle’s rate of fire. Legitimate accessories used by hunters would be exempt. The bill also contains exceptions for lawful possession of these devices by law enforcement and the government.

Senators joining Warner, Kaine, and Feinstein include Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ed Markey (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bob Casey (D-PA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tom Carper (D-DE), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-DE), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

Kaine, who was Governor of Virginia during the Virginia Tech mass shooting, and Warner have long supported improving mental health policy and passing commonsense measures to curb gun violence, including requiring background record checks prior to gun purchases and improving the number and accuracy of records submitted to the national background check system. 

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Sen. Warner Statement on Failed Gun Votes

Senate failed to advance two measures to close the terrorist gun loophole and expand background checks at gun shows

Jun 20 2016

“After the massacre in Orlando, my office was flooded with phone calls and emails from Virginians with one message for Congress: We don’t just want to hear thoughts and prayers on behalf of the victims – we want to see action to address gun violence."