Sunday, April 22, 2007

New Gun Law?

Article

A Reuters news story today reports that Congress is considering a law to beef up the NICS check (instant gun purchase background check) so that it will have better access to records on mental illness:

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Prompted by the Virginia Tech massacre, a U.S. Congress reluctant to tackle gun control may pass limited legislation to help keep firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill, lawmakers and aides said on Sunday. "

This is probably the most intelligent thing I've seen printed in the aftermath of the VA shootings last week, a proposal that addresses what actually went wrong. However, the devil is in the details. How will they get the information? What will they include? Will there be an appeals process to get inaccurate information cleared? They don't give many details in the article:

"Seung-Hui Cho, a Virginia Tech student, took his own life after fatally shooting 32 others. He had bought two handguns in Virginia but his mental health had not made it to a federal registry. The proposed bill would provide money to the states to help update the national instant-check background system with mental-health adjudications, which ban firearm purchases."

Anyone who reads my posts knows that I oppose most gun control laws, but I can support this IF it is done right, as nobody wants psychos similar to Cho to get their hands on dangerous weapons. I do have a BIG concern that gun grabbers may try to make an overly broad interpretation of what mental illness is and restrict the rights of citizens who are not dangerous or ill but who may have gone through counseling for one reason or another. As an example, a friend of mine went through counseling a few years ago after his mother passed away to help deal with the grief. He went to a few sessions and then stopped once he was over it. Would this new law make him ineligible? I will watch this proposal carefully. Lets hope that Congress genuinely creates this measure to keep guns away from certified mentally ill individuals without trying to turn this into a back door gun control scheme.

4 comments:

Republican Michigander said...

I'll need to see any bill first before deciding that it is acceptable/unaccepable.

I also want something in return if government will have more control. Repeal of the Clinton and Bush I import bans thanks to their executive orders? Full Faith and Credit on reciprocity?

keithr said...

I fully agree that we need to see the complete bill before making a commitment one way or another. There are always a few politicians who want to attach drastic measures to a very innocent looking bill.

Pogo said...

Keith,
We know we can't trust these people. One way or another they will hurt the 2A.
This bill sounds dangerous. What is to stop the anti-2A crowd from proclaiming that anyone who wishes to own a gun is mentally ill and should therefore not be allowed to buy one? We would have a catch-22 that would effectively ban all guns. What if they required all potential purchasers to undergo a mental exam (at their own expense) as a prerequisite for buying a gun? This would kill gun ownership without banning it outright.
As they work on this we need to remember that mental illness is not well defined. Up until a few years ago homosexuality was defined as a mental illness but now it is not. The very definition of mental illness changes! This bill puts 2A rights at serious risk.
Dan,
They will never repeal the import ban. You and I both know that there was nothing special about most of the banned guns, other than the fact that they are scary looking. But the media convinced the general public that these guns are somehow especially dangerous, and American gun manufacturers like the ban because it eliminates competition for their products. Many traditional gun owners shun the guns banned from import and have no sympathy for people who wish to own them. In short, this unlikely alliance will make sure that the ban is never repealed.
As for compromise, lets get rid of all these restrictions that prohibit CPL holders from carrying in so many places outside of home. Concealed pistols are banned in so many places that having a license is almost a joke. It lets you carry in your car and back and forth to the gun range and the supermarket (if the company does not have signs banning it!) That's about it.
Nutcases will always find a way to get their hands on a weapon. If we really want to protect ourselves from these shootings, we have to make sure that average citizens are allowed to protect themselves. That is the only way.

Allan said...

GOA is strongly opposed to the bill: http://www.gunowners.org/a042307.htm .