GUN House Democrats, NRA Seek to Strengthen Background Checks for Gun Purchasers

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  1. TL1000RSquid

    TL1000RSquid ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

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    www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,267620,00.html

    Saturday, April 21, 2007

    WASHINGTON — House Democratic leaders are working with the National Rifle Association to bolster existing laws blocking mentally ill people from buying guns.

    Lacking support to enact strong new gun measures even after the Virginia Tech shootings, Democrats are instead resurrecting legislation, which has drawn broad bipartisan support and NRA backing, that would improve the national background check system.

    The measure, a version of which has passed the House in two previous Congresses but died in the Senate, could come to a House vote as early as next month. It would require states to supply more-thorough records, including for any mental illness-related court action against a would-be gun purchaser.

    Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., a strong NRA ally who has been a leading opponent of most gun control legislation, is negotiating with the group on the background-check bill.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has tapped Dingell and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y. — a leading gun control supporter whose husband was fatally shot by a deranged gunman on the Long Island Railroad — to broker a swift compromise measure that could win passage in the House and Senate.

    McCarthy said the measure was the best the Democratic-controlled Congress could do even in the wake of the deadly shooting rampage Monday in which a disturbed gunman killed 32 and then himself.

    "We're not going to do anything more on guns — it's just not going to happen. This is a pro-gun Congress," said McCarthy.

    Current law bars people judged by a court to be "mentally incompetent" from purchasing firearms, but the federal background check database is incomplete, with many states far behind in automating their records and sending them to the FBI.

    Cho Seung-Hui, the 23-year-old gunman in the recent shootings, should have failed his background checks and been barred access to guns after a Virginia special justice found in 2005 that his mental illness made him a danger to himself, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said this week.

    The measure being negotiated would subject states to possible penalties for failing to provide the information, and authorize new federal grants to help them do so.

    "If we give the states what they need to enforce these limits, that's a big step," McCarthy said. "A computer is only as good as the information in it."

    The measure has drawn bipartisan interest. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, an NRA ally, is among the Republicans considering signing on.

    Talks on the measure are extremely sensitive, given how little time has passed since Monday's shootings on the Blacksburg, Va., campus.

    The legislation has spawned an unusual alliance between gun rights activists, who want background checks to be faster, and gun control advocates, who want them to be more accurate. Still, the NRA and some of its congressional allies are skittish about appearing to support any gun control measure in the wake of the Virginia Tech rampage.

    "We have a potential opportunity to get something done that both sides have agreed (on) for a couple of years," said Peter Hamm, a Brady Campaign spokesman. "There's clearly a level of distrust that's as tall as Mount Everest between the two sides in this debate. We watch each other carefully."

    Democratic Rep. Richard Boucher, who represents the southwestern Virginia district where the shootings unfolded, said he would not talk about gun policies until next week at the earliest, out of respect for the families of the victims. Like most lawmakers, Boucher wore a maroon and orange ribbon on his lapel Friday, set aside as a day of remembrance for the Virginia Tech tragedy.

    Dingell would not comment on the talks Friday, nor would the NRA.

    "This is not the time for political discussions, public policy debates or to advance a political agenda," the group said in a statement.

    However, another gun rights group, the Gun Owners of America, is adamantly opposed to the legislation. It said the measure would allow the government to trample privacy rights by compiling reams of personal information and potentially bar mentally stable people from buying guns.

    "The thing that most concerns us about this is our friends at the NRA are supporting it, and that could give Democrats cover in the election," said Larry Pratt, a spokesman for the group. "The NRA is making a mistake on this. This is a bill that could pass."

    Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, a strong gun rights supporter, said he hasn't opposed the background check measure in the past and wouldn't expect to do so now.

    Gun measures have been known to spin out of control in the freewheeling Senate — where any senator can seek to amend a bill. Any measure there would be looked upon as an opportunity for both gun control advocates eager to enact stronger limits and their foes pushing to weaken existing gun laws.

    For Dingell's effort to succeed, Republicans and Democrats on both sides of the Capitol likely would have to agree to hold off on a broader gun debate and focus instead on the background-check measure.

    "We need to be very careful that we don't intrude on the right of law-abiding and free citizens," Craig said. "We all search for the political screen of, 'Oh, we've got to do something and pass a law, and therefore the world will be a safer place.' Not necessarily."
     
  2. Alphaeus

    Alphaeus New Member

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    I wouldn't really have a problem with background checks if they didn't keep your personal info after the sale is complete. (then again I don't know if they do or not) I'm also not sure "mentally ill" people (whatever that means) should be able to buy them, but then again everyone with some minor mental hitch shouldn't be banned from getting them either.
     
  3. JaimeZX

    JaimeZX Formerly of :Sep 2001: fame - Also: Sprout Crew OT Supporter

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    If they do this it needs to be very carefully defined. "Mentally ill" could include anyone who's ever taken Prozac or Lithium; so like it said in the article, there needs to be some standard of measure like someone being declared a "hazard to himself or others."

    With regards to "keeping your personal info," I know for a fact that gun shops must keep that form you fill out ad infinitum. I'm sure chains must have some sort of off-site storage but smaller shops just have an ever-increasing row of file cabinets full of those forms. (I have a buddy who owns a gun shop in Arizona and I've asked about it before.)
     
  4. hsmith

    hsmith OT Supporter

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    ugh, all they will do is make it harder for people who want to protect themselves for seeking proper medical attention when they go through a rough time
     
  5. hsmith

    hsmith OT Supporter

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    i guess all the victims that survived Cho's Massacre won't be able to buy guns because they will have to go through therapy now.
     
  6. Gimik

    Gimik New Member

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    From what I understand, it is already the law, so the only change is that they are forcing the states to update their records to the Fed. I doubt it would have helped except that the news would have said "Cho tried to buy a weapon legally, but failed the background check, so he bought the weapon illegally 10 minutes later."
     
  7. fatmoocow

    fatmoocow bored OT Supporter

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    Ya but it's illegal to buy a gun illegally.
     
  8. spankaveli

    spankaveli OT Supporter

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    So it'd never happen. :eek3:
     
  9. kellyclan

    kellyclan She only loves you when she's drunk.

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    It COULD happen someday though. It's only a matter of time. That's why we need to ban them all now! :noes:
     
  10. NEp8ntballer

    NEp8ntballer New Member

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    ^House resolution pi: ban on illegal guns.

    as long as they don't attach a rider to the bill, only make the records more current, has a good measure like a person being declared a threat to themselves and others, and even then only throws up a flag it would be fine. If it keeps the details to a minumum of just throwing up a mental illness flag it would be fine. I doubt that will be the case though. The other thing is that it might bar a fully recovered person from owning a gun for the rest of their life so a medical recheck ammendment of seeing a couple different people and seeing if they still think that the person should not be allowed to own a gun would be nice.
     

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