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Top GOP senator to unveil bill to strengthen background check system

Texas church shooting victims

Sen. John Cornyn said Tuesday that he plans to unveil legislation that would ensure that all federal departments and agencies upload required conviction records into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in the wake of the Sutherland Springs, Texas shooting.

"We can make the federal agencies do it. "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," the Texas Republican said on the Senate floor.

Cornyn said that the gunman in Sunday's shooting was court martialed by the Air Force and convicted of serious domestic abuse, involving "fracturing the skull of his own son."

"This critically important information from the suspect's criminal history was not uploaded into the relevant background check databases, even though a federal law clearly requires that it be done," he said. "Because there was no record of it, he was able to lie his way into getting these firearms. This is very clearly a problem, and the Air Force has now admitted that Kelley's conviction should have barred him from ever purchasing or possessing firearms."

Investigators search for Texas church gunman's motive

Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, reacted Tuesday to the fact that the gunman, 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, was able to "slip through the cracks."

"This man shouldn't have gotten a gun. You know why? Because he was a domestic abuser," the Wisconsin Republican said at a press conference with GOP leaders.

CBS News confirmed Monday that a mistake by the Air Force may have allowed Kelley to buy his weapons. He had purchased at least two guns after passing background checks, even though he had received a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force. That discharge should have prevented him from making firearm purchases.  

The Air Force admitted Monday that its Office of Special Investigations failed to report Kelley's name to the National Criminal Information Center after he pleaded guilty to two counts of domestic violence in 2013.

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