T Nation

NRA, Democrats Team Up To Pass Gun Bill

(CBS/AP) After 52 years in Congress, John Dingell knows it sometimes takes a “rather curious alliance,” such as between the National Rifle Association and the House’s most fervent gun control advocate, to move legislation.

That’s what took place Wednesday when the House, by voice vote, passed a gun control bill that Rep. Dingell, D-Mich., helped broker between the NRA and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y.

With the NRA on board, the bill, which fixes flaws in the national gun background check system that allowed the Virginia Tech shooter to buy guns despite his mental health problems, has a good chance of becoming the first major gun control law in more than a decade.

“We?ll work with anyone, if you protect the rights of law-abiding people under the second amendment and you target people that shouldn’t have guns,” NRA chief Wayne LaPierre told CBS News Correspondent Sheryl Atkisson

“As the Virginia Tech shooting reminded us, there is an urgent national need to improve the background check system” to keep guns out of the hands of those barred from buying them, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

The measure would require states to automate their lists of convicted criminals and the mentally ill who are prohibited under a 1968 law from buying firearms, and report those lists to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.

Seung-Hui Cho, who in April killed 32 students and faculty at Virginia Tech before taking his own life, had been ordered to undergo outpatient mental health treatment and should have been barred from buying the two guns he used in the rampage. But the state of Virginia never forwarded this information to the national background check system.

The House action came as a panel ordered by President Bush to investigate the Virginia Tech shootings issued its findings, including a recommendation that legal and financial barriers to NICS submissions be addressed.

Mr. Bush, in a statement, said the report made clear that better information sharing between federal and state authorities “is essential in helping to keep guns out of the wrong hands and to punish those who break the law.” He said he was “closely following legislative efforts to strengthen the instant background check system.”

The panel also urged federal agencies to expand programs to prevent school violence and said the Health and Human Services Department should focus on college students in its mental health public education campaign.

Virginia Tech President Charles Steger said the report disclosed “the deep complexities of the issues facing college campuses today” and would advance government scrutiny of issues related to safety vs. personal freedoms.

The House bill next moves to the Senate, where gun control advocate Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., says he is talking to NRA ally Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, and there is a “very strong” chance of passage.

“When the NRA and I agree on legislation, you know that it’s going to get through, become law and do some good,” says Schumer.

The legislation requires state and federal agencies to transmit all relevant disqualifying records to the NICS database. It also provides $250 million a year over the next three years to help states meet those goals and it imposes penalties ? including cuts in federal grants under an anti-crime law ? on states that fail to meet benchmarks for automating their systems and supplying information to the NICS.

Virginia’s Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine said Wednesday that in ordering state executive branch agencies to upgrade background check reporting last month he found that Virginia was one of only 22 states reporting any mental health information to the NICS. He said the House bill was ?significant action to honor the memories of the victims who lost their lives at Virginia Tech.?

“Millions of criminal records are not accessible by NICS,” said McCarthy, sponsor of the bill.

“I came to Congress in 1997, in the wake of my own personal tragedy, to help prevent gun violence,” said McCarthy, who ran for office after her husband was gunned down on a Long Island commuter train in 1993. “Ten years later, I am more committed than ever to this cause.”

McCarthy has been among the leaders in the largely futile efforts to legislate gun controls during the past dozen years of GOP control. The last major gun control bill, to ban some assault weapons, passed in 1994, the last year of a Democratic majority. In 1996, domestic violence offenders were added to the list of those barred from buying guns. However, a 1999 effort to close the gun show loophole on background checks after the Columbine school shootings was unsuccessful.

The NRA worked closely with Dingell, a gun rights proponent and senior House member, in crafting the new bill. The NRA insisted it was not gun control legislation because it does nothing to restrict legal rights to buy guns.

The NRA has supported the NICS since its inception in 1993, said Wayne LaPierre, the organization’s executive vice president. ?We’ve always been vigilant about protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens to purchase guns, and equally vigilant about keeping the guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally defective and people who shouldn’t have them.?

The NRA did win concessions.

The bill would automatically restore the purchasing rights of veterans who were diagnosed with mental problems as part of the process of obtaining disability benefits. LaPierre said the Clinton administration put about 80,000 such veterans into the background check system.

It also outlines an appeals process for those who feel they have been wrongfully included in the system and ensures that funds allocated to improve the NICS are not used for other gun control purposes.

That wasn’t enough for the Gun Owners of America, which said on its Web page that it was the only national pro-gun organization to oppose the McCarthy bill. “There are some seemingly pro-gun congressmen who are driven to get anything passed, just so they can say they did something about Virginia Tech,” it said.

On the other side, Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said his group supported the legislation, noting that the Virginia Tech shootings “tragically demonstrated the gaps in the system that allowed a dangerous person to be armed.”

He said he hoped Congress and the gun lobby would go a step further and extend background checks to all gun sales, not just those by licensed dealers covered by current law.

How long before “mental health screenings” will be required before legal gun purchases? Who’s taking bets?

[quote]MrRezister wrote:
How long before “mental health screenings” will be required before legal gun purchases? Who’s taking bets?[/quote]

You would have to be crazy to want to own a gun.

[quote]MrRezister wrote:
How long before “mental health screenings” will be required before legal gun purchases? Who’s taking bets?[/quote]

When a few more crazies do something stupid, our freedom will pay the price because people will become afraid.

VTech Shootings -> Loss of gun rights.
Columbine -> Loss of student rights.
9/11 -> Patriot Act.

People get scared. Scared people are easily manipulated.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

Crazy is when you insist on squatting in the squat rack and refuse to use the smith.

Paranoid losers. Even the NRA says it wants to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and so forth.

They just want to make sure the rights of the law abiding (and sane) are not impinged.

Not a bad stance.

[quote]vroom wrote:
Paranoid losers. Even the NRA says it wants to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and so forth.

They just want to make sure the rights of the law abiding (and sane) are not impinged.

Not a bad stance.[/quote]

Agreed. This bill really is pretty solid.

mike

[quote]Mikeyali wrote:
vroom wrote:
Paranoid losers. Even the NRA says it wants to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and so forth.

They just want to make sure the rights of the law abiding (and sane) are not impinged.

Not a bad stance.

Agreed. This bill really is pretty solid.

mike[/quote]

When the NRA has a hand in something it is usually good legislation.

Well then I guess we’re all in agreement. We all want the Federal Government to decide wether or not we’re sane enough to exercise our Second Amendment Rights. Hell, someone’s gotta do it, right?

Ah, well, at least the First Amendment is still pretty solid. Except around election time.

We still got the Fourth Amendment though, right? Well, except for that part about “probable cause”, but it doesn’t really matter so much anymore.

Well, the Sixth is still in good shape though. Unless you’re an enemy combatant. Or is it “illegal enemy combatant”, I can’t remember…

Too bad this poor schlub can’t get with the times:

[quote]The only dissenting vote in the short House debate on the bill was voiced by GOP presidential aspirant Ron Paul of Texas. He described the bill as “a flagrantly unconstitutional expansion of restriction on the exercise of the right to bear arms.”
[/quote]

“Unconstitutional”??? Ha! No wonder he can’t win!

[quote]MrRezister wrote:
Well then I guess we’re all in agreement. We all want the Federal Government to decide wether or not we’re sane enough to exercise our Second Amendment Rights. Hell, someone’s gotta do it, right?

Ah, well, at least the First Amendment is still pretty solid. Except around election time.

We still got the Fourth Amendment though, right? Well, except for that part about “probable cause”, but it doesn’t really matter so much anymore.

Well, the Sixth is still in good shape though. Unless you’re an enemy combatant. Or is it “illegal enemy combatant”, I can’t remember…

Too bad this poor schlub can’t get with the times:
The only dissenting vote in the short House debate on the bill was voiced by GOP presidential aspirant Ron Paul of Texas. He described the bill as “a flagrantly unconstitutional expansion of restriction on the exercise of the right to bear arms.”

“Unconstitutional”??? Ha! No wonder he can’t win![/quote]

Look, I challenge anyone on here to be more pro-2A than myself but you’ve got to show some reason. Where in the 2nd does it say that we all have the right to bear arms unless we’re felons?

While I’m sure we would agree that those imprisoned under BS drug laws should be able to maintain their rights, I’m sure even Rep. Paul wouldn’t say we should allow convicted murderers to bear arms.

Oh, since you’re pointing out flagrant BoR abuses, don’t forget the 5th. As of 2004 we are required by law to provide our names to a cop when asked. Seems rather self-incriminating when they’re looking for you eh?

mike

[quote]MrRezister wrote:
Well then I guess we’re all in agreement. We all want the Federal Government to decide wether or not we’re sane enough to exercise our Second Amendment Rights. Hell, someone’s gotta do it, right?

Ah, well, at least the First Amendment is still pretty solid. Except around election time.

We still got the Fourth Amendment though, right? Well, except for that part about “probable cause”, but it doesn’t really matter so much anymore.

Well, the Sixth is still in good shape though. Unless you’re an enemy combatant. Or is it “illegal enemy combatant”, I can’t remember…

Too bad this poor schlub can’t get with the times:
The only dissenting vote in the short House debate on the bill was voiced by GOP presidential aspirant Ron Paul of Texas. He described the bill as “a flagrantly unconstitutional expansion of restriction on the exercise of the right to bear arms.”

“Unconstitutional”??? Ha! No wonder he can’t win![/quote]

This is why Ron Paul is a kook. Well written laws preventing dangerous mentally ill people from buying guns is a good thing.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:

This is why Ron Paul is a kook. Well written laws preventing dangerous mentally ill people from buying guns is a good thing.[/quote]

I’m pretty sure he never argued that the legislation was ‘bad’. He merely pointed out that passing said legislation fell outside the powers of the Federal Government. That’s been his entire “kooky” schtick ever since he first swore to “uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States”.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
MrRezister wrote:
Well then I guess we’re all in agreement. We all want the Federal Government to decide wether or not we’re sane enough to exercise our Second Amendment Rights. Hell, someone’s gotta do it, right?

Ah, well, at least the First Amendment is still pretty solid. Except around election time.

We still got the Fourth Amendment though, right? Well, except for that part about “probable cause”, but it doesn’t really matter so much anymore.

Well, the Sixth is still in good shape though. Unless you’re an enemy combatant. Or is it “illegal enemy combatant”, I can’t remember…

Too bad this poor schlub can’t get with the times:
The only dissenting vote in the short House debate on the bill was voiced by GOP presidential aspirant Ron Paul of Texas. He described the bill as “a flagrantly unconstitutional expansion of restriction on the exercise of the right to bear arms.”

“Unconstitutional”??? Ha! No wonder he can’t win!

This is why Ron Paul is a kook. Well written laws preventing dangerous mentally ill people from buying guns is a good thing.[/quote]

No, this is why he is a constitutionalist.

Want to change the constitution?

Actually change the constitution.

That can be done you know, according to your, um, constitution.

[quote]MrRezister wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:

This is why Ron Paul is a kook. Well written laws preventing dangerous mentally ill people from buying guns is a good thing.

I’m pretty sure he never argued that the legislation was ‘bad’. He merely pointed out that passing said legislation fell outside the powers of the Federal Government. That’s been his entire “kooky” schtick ever since he first swore to “uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States”.[/quote]

And that is kooky.

This is one of the few things that does fall into the interstate comerce area.

The federal governmaent has the right to regulate things like this because of the easy transportation of guns across state lines.

Would vote he against the Clean Air and Clean Water acts?

[quote]orion wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
MrRezister wrote:
Well then I guess we’re all in agreement. We all want the Federal Government to decide wether or not we’re sane enough to exercise our Second Amendment Rights. Hell, someone’s gotta do it, right?

Ah, well, at least the First Amendment is still pretty solid. Except around election time.

We still got the Fourth Amendment though, right? Well, except for that part about “probable cause”, but it doesn’t really matter so much anymore.

Well, the Sixth is still in good shape though. Unless you’re an enemy combatant. Or is it “illegal enemy combatant”, I can’t remember…

Too bad this poor schlub can’t get with the times:
The only dissenting vote in the short House debate on the bill was voiced by GOP presidential aspirant Ron Paul of Texas. He described the bill as “a flagrantly unconstitutional expansion of restriction on the exercise of the right to bear arms.”

“Unconstitutional”??? Ha! No wonder he can’t win!

This is why Ron Paul is a kook. Well written laws preventing dangerous mentally ill people from buying guns is a good thing.

No, this is why he is a constitutionalist.

Want to change the constitution?

Actually change the constitution.

That can be done you know, according to your, um, constitution.

[/quote]

Show me how this is unconstitutional.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
orion wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
MrRezister wrote:
Well then I guess we’re all in agreement. We all want the Federal Government to decide wether or not we’re sane enough to exercise our Second Amendment Rights. Hell, someone’s gotta do it, right?

Ah, well, at least the First Amendment is still pretty solid. Except around election time.

We still got the Fourth Amendment though, right? Well, except for that part about “probable cause”, but it doesn’t really matter so much anymore.

Well, the Sixth is still in good shape though. Unless you’re an enemy combatant. Or is it “illegal enemy combatant”, I can’t remember…

Too bad this poor schlub can’t get with the times:
The only dissenting vote in the short House debate on the bill was voiced by GOP presidential aspirant Ron Paul of Texas. He described the bill as “a flagrantly unconstitutional expansion of restriction on the exercise of the right to bear arms.”

“Unconstitutional”??? Ha! No wonder he can’t win!

This is why Ron Paul is a kook. Well written laws preventing dangerous mentally ill people from buying guns is a good thing.

No, this is why he is a constitutionalist.

Want to change the constitution?

Actually change the constitution.

That can be done you know, according to your, um, constitution.

Show me how this is unconstitutional.[/quote]

I do not have to.

Ron Paul thinks so, that is why he voted against it.

It has nothing to do with being kooky and a lot with erring on the side of caution, having sworn an oath and other trivial considerations like that.

This legislation seems like a good idea but anytime politicians are involved things get f’ed up.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:

Show me how this is unconstitutional.[/quote]

Notice how Orion “doesn’t have to” answer this.

The freedoms in the BOR have never granted “absolute freedom” - even the cherished freedom of speech is not and has never been available to all speech.

That said, reasonable restrictions on firearm transport and ownership likely won’t get into hot water.

I like the BOR as much as anyone, but you take the constitution and its history as is, not as you want it to be.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
The freedoms in the BOR have never granted “absolute freedom” - even the cherished freedom of speech is not and has never been available to all speech.

That said, reasonable restrictions on firearm transport and ownership likely won’t get into hot water.

I like the BOR as much as anyone, but you take the constitution and its history as is, not as you want it to be.
[/quote]

Damn, I have to agree with Thunder. I hate it when that happens…