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Heinrich, Flake introduce bill to close gun background loophole

Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico is teaming up with Republican Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake to close a background check loophole that allowed a court-martialed convict who killed 26 at a Texas church to purchase a firearm, Heinrich’s office said Tuesday afternoon.

The pair will introduce the Domestic Violence Loophole Closure Act – “legislation that will close the background check loophole exploited by the Sutherland Springs, Texas shooter and prevent any individual convicted of domestic violence – whether it is in civilian or military court – from legally purchasing a firearm,” according to a statement by Heinrich’s office.

“Glad to be working w/ @JeffFlake on bipartisan bill to close DoD/NICS loopholes to keep guns out of the hands of those that want to do harm,” Heinrich tweeted this afternoon.

Asked why they decided to target only domestic violence convictions, Flake and Heinrich said that it was legislation that should actually be able to pass in the divided Congress.

“This is something we clearly had agreement on out of the gate it’s what we could and can address right now and I think we’ll be looking at other issues…to determine what can and should be done,” Heinrich said at a hastily arranged Capitol Hill press conference Tuesday afternoon. “This is clearly a loophole that is a problem.”

Flake announced his retirement from the Senate last month and offered a scathing critique of Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, former New Mexico Rep. Heather Wilson – now the U.S. Air Force secretary – today said the Air Force accepted responsibility for the failure to properly process the shooter’s fingerprints and vowed to fix the system.