SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas – U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas paid a visit Friday to First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, nearly four months after the shooting that killed 26 church members and wounded 20.
Cornyn visited with the Rev. Frank Pomeroy, the church's pastor, Stephen Willeford, who confronted and shot the gunman, and local officials to discuss Cornyn's Fix NICS Act, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 23.
"And as I was trying to grapple with the magnitude and, really, the evil that we saw that day, I asked myself, 'What can I do as one person to try to make sure that something like this doesn't happen again?'" Cornyn said. "I was determined to make sure it was something that would actually save lives. So as we learned more about the gunman that day, we learned that he slipped through the cracks of the National Instant Criminal Background Check system."
During the investigation of the Nov. 5 shooting, officials said that the shooter, Devin Patrick Kelley, shouldn't have been able to purchase the semi-automatic rifle due to a domestic violence conviction that wasn't reported by the Air Force. If the conviction had been reported, a criminal background check would have shown up in a gun purchase application and would have prohibited Kelly from purchasing the weapon.
"So this law, Fix NICS, fixes the National Instant Criminal Background Check system that's maintained by the FBI, I believe will save lives. It's not just mere symbolism," Cornyn said.
Outside the church, Cornyn and church members hoisted an American flag that flew above the U.S. Capitol the day the act was signed into law.