The parishioners of Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church gathered today with Pastor Frank Pomeroy and Sen. John Cornyn to praise a measure sponsored by Cornyn designed to stop people like the man who opened fire inside the church in November to legally purchase firearms, News Radio 1200 WOAI reprots.
The so called Fix NICS Act will require the U.S. military and state law enforcement to promptly enter into the National Instant Criminal Background Check system information about people who are ineligible to buy weapons due to criminal conviction, a history of domestic violence, or a dishonorable discharge from the military.
Cornyn says the bill has already made a difference.
"Because of what the Air Force and the Department of Defense has already done, there are 4,000 more records in the system today of people who have been dishonorably discharged from the military," Cornyn said.
The bill also provides incentives for state law enforcement to promptly upload the information, and punishment for those who fail to do so.
On November 5, a man armed with a grudge against his former in-laws, who he blamed for his domestic violence conviction while in the Air Force, legally purchased a weapon at an Academy store in San Antonio, then went to the church and opened fire, killing 26 people. As a convicted felon and holding a dishonorable discharge after serving a year in prison, there is no way the man, whose name 1200 WOAI is not using, should have legally been allowed to purchase that firearm, but the Air Force admitted it failed to enter his name into the NICS system.
Cornyn said he would like to pass another law providing criminal penalties for people who lie in an attempt to purchase a weapons, and he expected Congress to approve a bill banning so called 'Bump Stocks.'
But, when asked if he expects the demands of last weekend's 'March for Our Lives' demonstrations that A-R-15 rifles be banned, Corynyn pointed to Stephen Williford, who stopped the gunman with his own A-R 15, as a reason why that won't happen.
"He got his AR-15 out of his gun safe after he heard the shots here," Cornyn said. "He ran barefoot a block away, and he stopped the shooter from killing more people. So its not the gun itself, its the person who is using it, who we should be focusing our attention on."
Pastor Pomeroy, who lost his own daughter in the massacre, broke with the survivors of the Parkland High School shooting who are demanding more gun control and, in some cases, an end to the Second Amendment.
Pomeroy says he is even more strongly in favor of a qualified citizen's right to own and carry a firearm today than he was before the November massacre that claimed the life of his daughter and nearly two dozen of his friends and neighbors.
And Pomeroy said that is directly in line with his calling as a pastor.
"In my mind, God has called some of us to run towards the fight and not run away from it," he said. "In Nehemiah, there is a phraise that says, 'I will pray unto the Lord, and set a guard at the door to pray against our enemies'."