(CNSNews.com) - Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) told the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that he was the one who insisted on putting the instant check system in the Brady bill, which President Bill Clinton passed and signed in 1993.
Sensenbrenner said the National Instant Check System (NICS) works, but there are lessons to be learned from its terrible failure in Sutherland Springs:
"At the time the legislation was drafted, I made the point that the National Instant Check System would only be as good as the data that was put into it," Sensenbrenner said.
"And it took about five years to appropriately automate and input records, not only for felony convictions, (but also for) mental incompetency adjudications as well as domestic violence legal action. And, you know, we found that one state kept all of these records in boxes of 3 by 5 cards located in every country courthouse. That took a while to finally automate that."
Sensenbrenner said the law is not to blame for the system's failure to disqualify the church shooter from buying four guns over four years.
"I don't think we can blame the system which we set up almost 25 years ago, because the system has worked in hundreds of thousands of cases. I think we have to blame the Air Force for not doing what was necessary to let the system be able to identify this gentlemen when he came and purchased the firearms that he ended up using in a truly horrific killing..."
"So I think we have to identify, you know, why this failure was. "And it's not just the Air Force. It could be any clerk of court anywhere in the country that could have done that, and I think this has got to be a lesson, that when you've got something that is disqualifying that has been adjudicated by a court, get it into the system and get it into the system right away."
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said he shares the concerns about the effectiveness of the national instant background check system for gun buyers, and "therefore we'll look into a briefing on that subject" as soon as possible, he told the committee on Tuesday.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told a news conference on Tuesday that the Sutherland Springs shooter “should not have gotten a gun” because he was a domestic abuser.
“That’s why we’ve got all these questions for the Air Force right now, which is, how did this slip through the cracks?”
Ryan said it’s important to find out what more needs to be done to enforce the laws that are actually on the books.