Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Gun Lobby Hijacks Bill Intended to Improve Gun Buyer Background Checks
The Violence Policy Center ^ | December 19, 2007

Posted on 01/02/2008 5:30:40 PM PST by neverdem

Violence Policy Center

VPC

Index Online News Press Releases Fact Sheets Publications Links Home About VPC
Looking for something?


Gun Lobby Hijacks Bill Intended to Improve Gun Buyer Background Checks

Legislation Passed by Congress Would Revive Failed Multi-Million-Dollar Program to Restore Gun Privileges of Persons Currently Ineligible to Possess Firearms Because of Mental Health Disability

WASHINGTON, DC--Leading national gun violence prevention organizations the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Legal Community Against Violence, and the Violence Policy Center today warned that a bill intended to improve the records available to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)--the national system used to screen gun buyers--has been hijacked by the gun lobby and would now do far more harm than good.

The “NICS Improvement Act” passed today by the U.S. House and Senate would:

  • Resuscitate a failed government program that spent millions of dollars annually to allow persons prohibited from buying guns to regain the ability to legally acquire firearms. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) would be required to establish a “relief from disability” program to allow persons now prohibited from possessing a firearm because they have “been adjudicated as a mental defective” or “committed to a mental institution” to apply to have their bar on firearms possession removed. As a result of the bill, more than 116,000 individuals would be eligible to apply. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) used to run a similar program that, in addition to those with mental disabilities, even allowed felons to apply for “relief.” Annual costs for the ATF program ballooned to more than $4 million in 1991, with an average cost of $4,800 per applicant and 43 full-time employees dedicated to processing the applications. Congress shut down the ATF program in 1992 because of its high cost, inefficiency, and threat to public safety. Under the bill, states would also be required to establish such “relief” programs to restore the gun privileges of those with mental health disabilities in order to be eligible for potential grant money to upgrade records submitted to the NICS.

  • Set an arbitrary time limit for the VA to act on applications for “relief.” If the agency fails to act within 365 days, applicants could file a lawsuit asking a court to restore their gun privileges, even if Congress fails to provide the VA with the appropriate resources to process these investigations. Some prevailing applicants would be entitled to attorneys’ fees. This provision is contrary to a unanimous 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that ATF’s failure to act on a relief application from a felon (because of lack of appropriations) did not constitute a denial that would entitle the applicant to judicial review. The decision noted that courts are ill-equipped to make decisions on individual applications for “relief” under the standards that would apply under the “NICS Improvement Act,” stating: "Whether an applicant is `likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety' presupposes an inquiry into that applicant's background--a function best performed by the Executive, which, unlike courts, is institutionally equipped for conducting a neutral, wide-ranging investigation. Similarly, the `public interest' standard calls for an inherently policy-based decision best left in the hands of an agency."

  • Significantly narrow the category of records of people with mental disabilities that would be submitted to the NICS by the federal government. The current permanent bar on persons with certain health disabilities would be replaced with temporary restrictions.

Kristen Rand, legislative director of the Violence Policy Center, states, “This bill was intended to be Congress’ response to the mass shooting at Virginia Tech that left 32 people murdered. But rather than focusing on improving the current laws prohibiting people with certain mental health disabilities from buying guns, the bill is now nothing more than a gun lobby wish list. It will waste millions of taxpayer dollars restoring the gun privileges of persons previously determined to present a danger to themselves or others. Once a solution, the bill is now part of the problem.”

Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, adds, “It is ironic that the gun lobby has coerced Congress into providing resources to rearm mentally disabled veterans during a time when the VA is struggling to provide adequate mental health care to those in need.”

Robyn Thomas, executive director of the Legal Community Against Violence, comments, "The bill's original intent, to increase reporting of state records to the NICS database, is an important objective that would improve enforcement of federal laws governing persons prohibited from possessing firearms. The changes made by the gun lobby risk undermining those laws."




The Violence Policy Center is a national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals. The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related death and injury.


   For Release:
   Wednesday, December 19, 2007

   Contact:
   Marty Langley
   Violence Policy Center
   (202) 822-8200 x109


  










TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 110th; backgroundchecks; banglist; mentalhealth; veterans
Trojan Horse Gun Control: The NRA Wins on the NICS Bill

These grabbers don't like it. That speaks for itself.

1 posted on 01/02/2008 5:30:42 PM PST by neverdem
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: neverdem
The VA legislature can fix what happened at VT very easily. Allow CCW for students at colleges and universities. But that would require a spine for a majority of solons.
2 posted on 01/02/2008 5:34:51 PM PST by AlaskaErik (I served and protected my country for 31 years. Democrats spent that time trying to destroy it.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem
It’s all window dressing. They are still for it but have to complain about it. They raised little or no fuss when it went through Congress.
3 posted on 01/02/2008 5:37:04 PM PST by mad_as_he$$ ("Has there been a code nine? Have you heard from the Doctor?")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Unbelievable that they can even put this stuff out.

They seemed shocked that there would be any process to recover gun ownership rights and furthermore, that the govt only has 365 days to complete the process.

Wow, blood will be flowing in the streets etc etc

I hate these VPC morons.


4 posted on 01/02/2008 5:39:17 PM PST by Radio_Silence
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Wow, at a cost of a whole four million dollars, I’m stuned.

Bwahahahahahah~!!


5 posted on 01/02/2008 5:40:06 PM PST by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

I know this is not related, but how bout this for a headline “Environazis hijack energy bill intended to make U.S. less dependent on foriegn sources of energy.” I wish these idiots would move out of the country. If it is so bad then go to Cuba. IDIOTS!!!!


6 posted on 01/02/2008 5:44:52 PM PST by Stayingawayfromthedarkside
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mad_as_he$$
It’s all window dressing.

Josh Sugarmann wrote more than window dressing on my link. He's defaming veterans with claims using vague sources.

"The concerns over these aspects of the bill are not abstract. According to research published earlier this year, male U.S. veterans are twice as likely to commit suicide as men with no military service and are more likely to kill themselves with a gun than others who commit suicide. The men with a military background were 58 percent more likely to have used a firearm to kill themselves than non-veterans who committed suicide. Add to this the fact that veterans are more likely to own guns than the general population.

"Veterans with mental health problems may present special risks for gun violence. In 2000, the New York Times examined 100 rampage shootings and found that the majority (52 percent) of such killers had been in the military. The Times' review also found that 47 percent of rampage killers had a history of mental problems, with 42 percent having been seen by mental health professionals.

"When the inevitable tragedies occur as a result of this bill, and veterans with mental health disabilities--given guns instead of help--turn these weapons on themselves, their families, or the public, the inevitable question will be, "How did this happen?" When that question is asked, who will be willing to answer it?"

7 posted on 01/02/2008 5:57:06 PM PST by neverdem (Call talk radio. We need a Constitutional Amendment for Congressional term limits. Let's Roll!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: AlaskaErik

“The VA legislature can fix what happened at VT very easily. Allow CCW for students at colleges and universities.”

Concealed carry with a permit on a university campus is already legal in VA. The problem is, the universities can impose administrative sanctions on students who carry in violation of their administrative policy (i.e. expel the student). That situation cries out for a legislative fix.

The great irony is that one of our state level gun rights groups (VCDL) tried to get this fixed the year before the Virginia Tech shootings in response to situation where a student with a permit was administratively punished for carrying. The bill died in committee at the General Assembly.

Oh, and I’ll give you one guess as to which public university the incident with the student carrying with a permit happened at.


8 posted on 01/02/2008 6:07:06 PM PST by RKBA Democrat (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

I watched a show called “The First 48” that goes with the police through the first 48 hours of a homicide investigation. In one case, a guy is dragged from a barber’s chair into an alley where three guys are probably going to kill him. The only thing is that he was armed and shot two of them, killing one. The cops KNEW that it was a plain case of self defense. The problem was that the guy was an ex-con living among a very rough bunch of people. He either armed himself illegally or died. So he goes to jail for defending his life! What the heck kind of country makes people make that choice?


9 posted on 01/02/2008 6:21:47 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (G-d is not a Republican. But Satan is definitely a Democrat.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem
I believe that such “studies” are not as accurate as one might be lead to believe and have half truths have become the tool most used by the gun grabbers. So 58% kill themselves with a gun. Do the others kill themselves in car accidents or with pills? Was there a gun available to commit suicide with? Was the person a neat nick and did not want to make a mess or was the suicide a mess on purpose to make a statement?

Statistics are like bikini's. what the show is interesting and what the do not show is VERY interesting.

10 posted on 01/02/2008 6:52:20 PM PST by mad_as_he$$ ("Has there been a code nine? Have you heard from the Doctor?")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

WorldNUTDaily has an article claiming exactly the opposite...that this new law (it was passed already) disarms verterans.

Of course, WorldNUTDaily thinks we’re all living in Y2K bunkers while munching on vast stores of MRE’s from the past 8 years...


11 posted on 01/02/2008 7:33:14 PM PST by Southack (Media Bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

How is it that GOA wound up on the same side of this argument as HCI?


12 posted on 01/02/2008 7:36:07 PM PST by Redcloak (Dingos ate my tagline.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All

Found it! Here’s the WorldNUTDaily article claiming exactly the opposite: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1943570/posts


13 posted on 01/02/2008 7:44:43 PM PST by Southack (Media Bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Redcloak
"ow is it that GOA wound up on the same side of this argument as HCI?"

In a vain attmept to appear relevant by throwing stones at a truly effective defender of the Second Amendment - the NRA.

14 posted on 01/02/2008 7:59:55 PM PST by Redbob
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Redcloak
How is it that GOA wound up on the same side of this argument as HCI?

Simple. HCI knows that this legislation goes against their interest, but since it's a fait-accompli, they can improve their fund-raising by claiming that it goes against them. After all, if the "gun-lobby" can push through their own legislation when Democrats control Congress, that really shows the urgency of stepping up to stop them, doesn't it?

15 posted on 01/02/2008 8:02:07 PM PST by supercat (Sony delenda est.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Redbob

Well said!


16 posted on 01/02/2008 8:07:18 PM PST by ExpatGator (Extending logic since 1961.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: neverdem
These grabbers don't like it. That speaks for itself. Well, yes, but the grabbers at the larger and more influential Brady Campaign Like the bill.

The orgininal sponser of the bill, the notoriously anti arms rights Representative Carolyn McCarthy had this to say about it's passage:

"To me, this is the best Christmas present I could ever receive" -- Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), CBS News, December 20, 2007

The VPC says the "Gun Lobby" hijacked the bill, but the NRA supported it from the git go. even though after the Senate added some definite improvements, they hinted that they were responsible for them, via Senator Coburn, although I could not find where Senator Coburn initiated any amendments to the bill. Of course they didn't exactly say that either, they said they worked with Senator Coburn to address his concerns about the bill. Probably thus heading off an effort to hold up the bill in the Senate.

17 posted on 01/02/2008 8:54:42 PM PST by El Gato ("The Second Amendment is the RESET button of the United States Constitution." -- Doug McKay)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Redcloak
How is it that GOA wound up on the same side of this argument as HCI?

I guess the same way the NRA wound up on the same side as the Brady Campaign.

Talk about strange bedfellows, in both directions.

18 posted on 01/02/2008 8:58:05 PM PST by El Gato ("The Second Amendment is the RESET button of the United States Constitution." -- Doug McKay)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: neverdem
Probably part of the plan all along. use the reinstatement to get the rest passed, then before the ink is even dry, start crying for closing the loophole...

Like this reinstatment part would ever be followed in the first place in a timely manner...

19 posted on 01/03/2008 5:34:16 AM PST by Gilbo_3 (A few Rams must look after the sheep 'til the Good Shepherd returns...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: El Gato
Talk about strange bedfellows, in both directions.

That's politics. In this case, making the best of a bad situation, IMHO, even though I have my doubts about it. Schumer and McCarthy, of all people, were for it. But the GOP had controlled the Congress for most of the time from 1994 to 2006, excepting the time when Jeffords defected in the Senate, and couldn't get anything done on the restoration of Second Amendment rights for anyone. They were left in limbo without any funding from Congress.

Republicans need a net gain of just one seat to take back control of the Senate, but they have 22 seats to defend, and campaign cash is conspicuously lacking. Warner's retirement raised to two the number of open Republican seats, and both of them -- in Virginia and Colorado -- are prime targets for Democrats.

WaPo could be wrong, but I have seen or heard of a number in the low 20s of current GOP Senate seats at risk in 2008 often enough.

With respect to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: The only treatment that has been shown to work, the panel said, is exposure therapy, a gradual, step-by-step process in which patients are asked to confront memories of a trauma by recounting it in detail. Veterans Affairs hospitals now use that treatment.

The same source also states: "Drugs studied included anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, tranquilizers and antidepressants." I wonder how many lost their Second Amendment rights due to adverse drug effects? I saw a segment on the news in which an Army doc in Iraq stated in effect that antidepressants were prescribed fairly liberally.

20 posted on 01/03/2008 11:37:40 AM PST by neverdem (Call talk radio. We need a Constitutional Amendment for Congressional term limits. Let's Roll!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Instead of just taking a few bad things out of a terrible bill, why doesn’t the NRA just kill it entirely. It’s not like Virginia is demanding gun control after the Tech massacre. Virtually every polls shows voters don’t even want the NRA’s gun control lite.

THIS is why I refuse to give to or support the NRA. While other gun groups are trying to kill a beatable gun ban the NRA just wants to put some makeup and earrings on it.


21 posted on 01/03/2008 11:42:30 AM PST by VirginiaConstitutionalist (The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of the Individual against the State.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem
These grabbers don't like it. That speaks for itself.

Yep.

22 posted on 01/03/2008 11:47:38 AM PST by Lancey Howard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson