Push for tougher background checks after Florida school shooting

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The deadly high school in Parkland, Florida, has left many people, including Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes, calling for change.

"I think people are sick and tired of this kind of thing happening," Barnes said. "We've got a problem."

Barnes, a gun-rights supporter, says part of the problem is that federal background checks used to buy rifles aren't strong enough.

Police say Nikolas Cruz, the suspect in last week's shooting, used an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

"For a long gun, the only thing you have to do is go in and show your identification, your driver's license and your place of residence and they will do what is known as a NICS check," he said.

NICS stands for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System which is a national system which checks to see if a person is disqualified from buying a gun.

But Barnes says it doesn't go far enough.

"If you were just arrested for domestic violence, last week, they wouldn't know that because you haven't been convicted, you haven't been to court on it," he said.

"They're not complete,” he said. “In other words, they don't have the latest information."

Barnes says local checks for pistol and concealed carry permits go much deeper.

"You can't be a criminal, especially if you've committed a crime such as domestic violence or shown that you have any kind of mental incapacity," Barnes said.

The sheriff's office checks criminal history, mental health issues and pending court cases before issuing a permit for a handgun.

"They would know such things,” he said. “They would be able to find that out by going through their local records."

While Barnes says stronger background checks aren't the only solution, he says it's a good start.

"What we need to do is take a real good hard realistic look at what we do need to do," he said.

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