A new background check bill for gun purchases may be attached to Congress’ must-pass government funding package, according to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Ryan said Tuesday that leadership was talking to members about adding the Fix NICS (National Instant Criminal Background System) Act to the package, which they hope to vote on before the end of the week.
“That’s something we’re discussing with our colleagues,” Ryan told reporters, according to The Hill. “I think we should do Fix NICS. I agree with Fix NICS.”
Ryan referenced the bipartisan support for the bill, saying, “That’s something we’re discussing with our friends on the other side of the aisle.”
The Hill reports: The House already approved the background check bill in December, but paired the measure with controversial legislation that allows people with concealed weapons to take them across state lines.
Gun rights supporters generally back the Fix NICS bill, but it would be a disappointment to the National Rifle Association (NRA) and conservatives if that bill was separated from the concealed carry legislation, which is a top NRA priority.
The Senate’s stand-alone Fix NICS bill, backed by Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), now has more than 70 co-sponsors in the Senate.
“Cornyn’s version is not preferable for the House side … for whatever reason the Senate – it doesn’t look like they are going to keep [concealed carry] in there. Which is a frustrating place” to be in, said Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), chairman of the Republican Study Committee. “Fix NICS, a lot of us don’t have a major problem with that. We wanted to see it the way the House passed it.”
A spokeswoman for the NRA noted that the gun group supported Fix NICS even before it was tacked on to concealed carry legislation.
Congress hopes to bring the spending package to the House floor Thursday, as current government funding runs out at midnight Friday.