Skip to comments.House takes action on gun checks
Posted on 05/29/2014 4:30:58 PM PDT by Second Amendment First
The House on Thursday approved a funding increase for the national background check system in response to last weeks mass shooting in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Adopted 260-145, the amendment to a 2015 appropriations bill provides an additional $19.5 million in grant funding for the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which is intended to prevent the sale of guns to criminals and the mentally ill.
The vote represents one of the most significant legislative action taken by the House on guns since the 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Members of the GOP leadership were split on the amendment. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) voted for it despite facing a primary challenge, as did GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.). But House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) voted against it.
Only four Democrats voted against the amendment, including Reps. John Barrow of Georgia and Nick Rahall of West Virginia, who both face tough reelection races this year.
The National Rifle Association was neutral on the NICS amendment, according to spokesman Andrew Arulanandam. Opposition from the gun rights group could have sunk the proposal.
Amendment sponsor Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) said the additional grant funding would strengthen the background check system and keep dangerous people from buying firearms.
"Right now, all of the information isn't getting in. When the information doesn't get into the system, we can't enforce the law, and dangerous people who otherwise wouldn't pass a background check can slip through the cracks and buy guns," Thompson said.
The California Democrat said the amendment would help states that do not have adequate funding or resources to submit comprehensive data to the NICS database.
Thompson cited the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, when the state of Virginia did not report a judge's evaluation that Seung-Hui Cho was mentally ill. Because the judge's evaluation was never submitted to NICS, Cho passed a background check to purchase a firearm before attacking the university campus.
Similarly, Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old former Santa Barbara City College student, had reportedly been suffering from mental health problems before he went on a shooting spree that ended in four deaths, including his own.
"Our states need more resources to get all their information into the NICS system. If we give them the resources, we can stop dangerous people from getting guns, and we can save lives," Thompson said.
Under current law, licensed gun dealers are required to run potential weapons buyers through NICS to screen out felons, illegal immigrants, spousal abusers, the severely mentally ill, or another category that would bar them from buying or owning weapons. States are encouraged, but not required, to report such information to NICS.
Following the Virginia Tech shooting, Congress unanimously passed legislation providing states with financial incentives to report red-flag cases to the FBI. But reporting by states remains voluntary, and there are huge discrepancies between the states when it comes to the number of submissions made.
The funding proposal approved Thursday aims to close the gap by bringing NICS grant funding up to $78 million for fiscal 2015, up from $59 million this year and $18 million in fiscal 2013.
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), the chairman of the House Appropriations Commerce-Justice-Science subcommittee, said the extra funding would help prevent criminals and the mentally ill from buying guns.
"Enforcing existing laws that keeps guns out of the hands of prohibited individuals is a goal we all share," Wolf said.
The increased funding for the NICS would be offset with cuts to other accounts, including the Commerce Department's management account and the Justice Department's information technology fund.
The other sponsors of the amendment were Reps. Peter King (R-N.Y.), Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), Joe Heck (R-Nev.), Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Mike Quigley (D-Ill.).
The House debated the amendment for seven minutes starting at 10:35 p.m. Wednesday. A recorded vote was postponed until Thursday evening.
This should stop those stabbings.
Meaningless waste of money.
Are they linking it to the DMV Database?
Those Black Assault BMW’s are a menace.
They should eliminate background checks altogether. Violent criminals should be removed from the street permanently.
Reasonable gun control is reasonably stupid.
In some states the CCW permit-application also asks “have you ever been diagnosed with a mental illness,” with a check-box for “yes” or “no.” The application states that by signing it, you aagree and consent for them to check all records, public, private, privileged or otherwise; and if they find anything incorrect, then you’re guilty of perjury and other felonies subject to fine and imprisonment.
Note that the applicant also has no way of finding out if there’s some “record” which could be construed in this manner; they are basically held responsible for knowing.
The legislation-reform process on “shall-issue” CCW laws, likewise defends CCW’s on the grounds that it will “respect long-standing prohibitions regarding persons with mental illnesses.”
As to the definition of “mental illness,” the law defines as “any nervous or mental condition interfering with everyday life.” This is incredibly vague.
Likewise, this applies even to diagnoses made BEFORE the law was passed— a clear ex post facto law, since the person had no way of knowing this risk of such a positive diagnosis, prior to subjecting themself to it; it’s also a violation of Due Process, since they had no fair warning.
Finally, this is likewise a state’s denial of equal protection under the law, in violation of the 14th Amendment.
Note that NONE of these stipulations pertain to whether a particular person is actually proven to be a threat to themselves or others: on the contrary, it’s a 100% arbitrary.
Basically, the state is imposing a medieval stigma, and catering to public prejudice and ignorance, by sacrificing an unpopular minority against whom society holds an irrational fear, in order to get a law passed.
Despite that the ACLU has produced breakthroughs against public oppression of diagnosed “mental illness” to prevent persecution of persons who are not actually proven to be a threat to themselves or others— or who are likewise duly convicted of any crime— this area of persecution still exists in the right of persons to defend themselves.
Likewise, it excludes those persons who simply fail to get medical attention for such conditions— and likewise discourages such persons from doing so, by risking such a diagnosis and thereby effectively disarming themselves from being able to defend themselves by carrying concealed— which they usually need all the more due to being underprivileged and disadvantaged of finances, support, etc. due to their condition.
Background checks are unconstitutional and useless anyway. Criminals don’t limit themselves to legal guns. Hanging is what keeps down violent crime. Crazy people are crazynot stupid.
The only scary part is that the same bunch of people who consider homosexuality "normal" will be the ones doing the evaluating. There is so much subjectivity, depending on who considers what abnormal, that this could become cause to deny virtually anyone a firearm.
It might sound like a good idea to better separate lunatics and guns... except that it's very hard to tell if a given person is crazy or not. It is a voluntary action to go and talk to a psychiatrist. However many insane people think that they are perfectly healthy; they honestly feel no need to go see a doctor. And then there is that issue of buying a gun and then going crazy ten years later. There doesn't seem to be a way to protect the society from one lunatic out of a million without treading upon freedoms of everyone else. Freedom comes with risks; if you want to eliminate risks then you also lose your freedom. The society is being pushed toward the latter by carefully playing on its basic fears.
Now you're profiling....you might be accused of racism.
What country is this “ congress” group that voted for more gun controls? I know it can’t be USA Because USA has a constitution providing that: “... The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. So, perhaps this “ congress” is in communist China, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, or Cuba perhaps? Just curious.
Just pass a law making it illegal to break any of the other millions of laws on the books.
That will immediately stop all crime dead in its tracks.
Nothing like giving Hairy Reid an opening to load it up with more gun control provisions in the Senate companion bill.
A waste of money without some meaningful guidelines for inputting mental health issues. Again, focusing on guns when a truly ill person will simply find an alternative means of wrecking havoc. Case in point; a knife and a BMW.
I think, ultimately,
all this will do is make people who think they might like to a shrink
to choose not do it because of the record it would leave behind.
The Feds are cutting us checks for guns?
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