State of Texas: Congressman McCaul pushes new type of ‘red flag’

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(KXAN) — After the 2017 church shooting in Sutherland Springs that killed more than 20 people, it was later discovered that the shooter should have been denied the purchase of a rifle because of a domestic abuse charge back in 2012.

So lawmakers took action.

Sen. John Cornyn pushed the Fix NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) Act through Congress, and since being signed into law in 2017 he says there’s been a 400% increase in background check submissions.

The law requires all federal agencies to submit new convictions to the FBI’s NICS system twice a year.

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, helped Cornyn push the Fix NICS Act through Congress. But in the wake of the shooting in El Paso that killed 23 people, he said “the American people want us to do something more.”

McCaul said he plans to introduce another bill with Cornyn that will identify bad actors as “we evolve into the age of domestic terrorism.”

The bill would create a center within the FBI that would “provide an intelligence fusion between federal, state and local” authorities to target domestic terrorists, McCaul said.

The bureau will work alongside the tech sector to identify dangerous individuals through what McCaul called “predictive analytics.”

“There are warning signs along the way, the guy in El Paso had a manifesto, there were a lot of signs with the Dayton shooter,” McCaul said. “We want to develop algorithms on public chatter, which is not protected by the First Amendment, and turn that over to law enforcement as a preventative measure.”

McCaul said he learned from his time as chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and working with the tech sector when radical groups like Al Qaeda and Isis were targeting social media platforms.

“I went to Twitter and Facebook and said ‘it seems to me you have an obligation to identify when these groups are putting messages on the Internet to radicalize,” McCaul said.

McCaul said his predictive analytics plan would function as a red flag law that could identify people who pose a potential threat.

McCaul said he supports universal background checks. “I think anyone who purchases a firearm in this country should go through a background check.”

Both shooters in El Paso and Dayton legally purchased their firearms.

Going forward, McCaul said stopping mass shootings before they happen has to be a concentrated effort starting with friends and family.

“We have to have warning signs about mental health, but it’s not just the government that has a responsibility. It’s the family, it’s the classmate it’s the teacher,” McCaul said. “If you see something, say something.”

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