House passes VT gun bill


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HUMONGO
June 13, 2007, 12:49 PM
WASHINGTON - The House Wednesday passed what could become the first major federal gun control law in over a decade, spurred by the Virginia Tech campus killings and buttressed by National Rifle Association help.

The bill, which was passed on a voice vote, would improve state reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to stop gun purchases by people, including criminals and those adjudicated as mentally defective, who are prohibited from possessing firearms.

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 two guns he used in the rampage. But the state of Virginia had never forwarded this information to the national background check system.

If it moves through the Senate and is signed into law by the president, the bill would be the most important gun control act since Congress banned some assault weapons in 1994, the last year Democrats controlled the House. In 1996, Congress added people convicted of domestic violence to the list of those banned from purchasing firearms.

The bill was the outcome of weeks of negotiations between Rep. John Dingell (news, bio, voting record), D-Mich., the most senior member of the House and a strong supporter of gun rights, and the NRA, and in turn, with Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (news, bio, voting record), D-N.Y., a leading gun-control advocate.

"This is good policy that will save lives," McCarthy said.

The NRA insisted that it was not a "gun control" bill because it does not disqualify anyone currently able to legally purchase a firearm.

The NRA has always supported the NICS, said the organization's executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre. "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."

Under a gun control act that passed in 1968, the year Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. were killed, people barred from buying guns include those convicted of a crime punishable by more than one year in prison, illegal drug users, those adjudicated as mentally disabled, and illegal aliens.

The legislation approved Wednesday would require states to automate and share disqualifying records with the FBI's NICS database. The bill also provides $250 million a year over the next three years to help states meet those goals and imposes penalties, including cuts in federal grants under an anti-crime law, to those states that fail to meet benchmarks for automating their systems and supplying information to the NICS.

The NRA did win some concessions in negotiating the final product.

It 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.

"It was necessary to make some accommodations to address the concerns of gun owners," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (news, bio, voting record), D-Mich., adding that he would be closely monitoring the provision on restoring gun rights to veterans judged to have mental disabilities.

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 licenses dealers covered by current law.

The only dissenting vote in the short House debate on the bill was voiced by GOP presidential aspirant Ron Paul (news, bio, voting record) of Texas. He described the bill as "a flagrantly unconstitutional expansion of restriction on the exercise of the right to bear arms protected under the 2nd Amendment.

McCarthy, in an emotional speech, said that "this has been a long, long journey for me." She ran for Congress on a gun control agenda after her husband was gunned down on a Long Island commuter train in 1993.


At least it sets guidelines for spending the money on NICS and appealing denials.

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Fletchette
June 13, 2007, 01:31 PM
Yuck.

Why is the NRA supporting this?

Do I have to withdraw my membership to get their attention?

HUMONGO
June 13, 2007, 01:34 PM
I think the bill may actually be a good thing. First, it sets the precident of enforcing current laws. More importantly, it offers reprieve for those wrongly denied.

Fletchette
June 13, 2007, 01:47 PM
I think the bill may actually be a good thing. First, it sets the precident of enforcing current laws

So we need new laws in order to enforce the ones we already have?!?

More importantly, it offers reprieve for those wrongly denied.

I'd rather get rid of the witch trial than add a way for a witch to apply for repreive.

helpless
June 13, 2007, 01:50 PM
Have to CONTROL those guns.

Leatherneck
June 13, 2007, 01:53 PM
I think this bill is not so bad, in and of itself. Who wants "people who are a danger to themselves or others" to have access to boomsticks?

I don't read this as a gun control bill; I see it as an information availability bill.

TC

GTSteve03
June 13, 2007, 02:02 PM
The NRA has always supported the NICS, said the organization's executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre. "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."

I'm curious who that third group might include, and whether the NRA gets to decide who gets in.

The only dissenting vote in the short House debate on the bill was voiced by GOP presidential aspirant Ron Paul (news, bio, voting record) of Texas. He described the bill as "a flagrantly unconstitutional expansion of restriction on the exercise of the right to bear arms protected under the 2nd Amendment.
I guess I should send more money to Paul than the NRA since at least he's willing to fight gun control.

jselvy
June 13, 2007, 02:23 PM
Hark to my words.
We will come to regret this in the years to come.
It is but one short step to requiring a mental health check up as a requirement for a purchase. Doctors are more easily bullied than private citizens. For further information please research the AMA's opinion on gun control.

Jefferson

GigaBuist
June 13, 2007, 02:38 PM
Under a gun control act that passed in 1968, the year Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. were killed, people barred from buying guns include those convicted of a crime punishable by more than one year in prison, illegal drug users, those adjudicated as mentally disabled, and illegal aliens.

Doctors cannot be bullied into adjudicating a patient as mentally defective. They do not have such power. Only a judge can do that.

Oana
June 13, 2007, 02:41 PM
Wow. I only just realized that this bill was actually in the House, and now it's passed. :fire: If the Brady Center, Chuck Schumer and the NRA agree on something, my first reaction isn't to say, "It's OK, the NRA is for it," but..."What on earth is wrong with the NRA?!" It sounds rather OK on its face, but then you get to the sticky situation of what constitutes "mental illness". Why is the NRA even supporting this - why not let it/help it die?

And can we clone Ron Paul?

outerlimit
June 13, 2007, 02:45 PM
This surprises anyone that the NRA is for it?


Next they'll be endorsing Rudy McRomney.

44Brent
June 13, 2007, 02:49 PM
I think this bill is not so bad, in and of itself. Who wants "people who are a danger to themselves or others" to have access to boomsticks?

This is thinking that serves as the entire basis for "gun control". As a matter of fact, there is no form of "gun control" that keeps criminals from obtaining weapons and this will not do one bit of good in stopping future massacres. However, it will expose further "loopholes" which will need to be closed (for the good of the children, of course).

This was the final straw that led me to deciding not to renew my NRA membership. The other was NRA's continuous attempts to derail Parker vs. D.C. There has to be a point when people have to wake up and realize that the NRA is a strong proponent of "gun control". The only difference between the NRA and the Brady Campaign is that the NRA wants slightly less "gun control". Individuals for both organizations make a nice living lobbying to convince legislators about the level of "gun control" that should be implemented. I've paid membership fees to the NRA for years and they've played me for a sucker.

HUMONGO
June 13, 2007, 02:57 PM
I think this bill is not so bad, in and of itself. Who wants "people who are a danger to themselves or others" to have access to boomsticks?

I don't read this as a gun control bill; I see it as an information availability bill.

TC

+1

Fletchette
June 13, 2007, 02:57 PM
I think this bill is not so bad, in and of itself. Who wants "people who are a danger to themselves or others" to have access to boomsticks?

Do you really think those in power will not abuse this? To the Brady-types EVERYONE with a gun are people that "are a danger to themselves or to others". Who gets to decide who is "dangerous"? Congress? The local police chief? An anonymous tipster?

This bill is VERY dangerous. Who do we call to kill it in the Senate (the NRA seems to be asleep)?

MrPeter
June 13, 2007, 02:59 PM
I don't know... When I read this I don't feel offended. We have been preaching for a long time now to let law-abiding citizens keep whatever they want, and keep the guns away from criminals. Isn't that just what this bill is doing?

It wouldnt make much sense if we first let everyone have a machine gun and THEN prevent the loonies from getting them. We have to put the restriction in place BEFORE we allow everything that should be allowed to us non-criminals and non-crazies.

Don't forget that for every 1 person who isn't nuts and deserves to be able to protect themselves, there are (insert large number here, i dont know the statistic exactly) more people who really ARE unfit to own a gun. If you've never met any, trust me, they are definately out there. Cho is just one extreme example. When you say that the NICS check doesn't work because we don't turn crazy people away, this is a step to fix that. It's not an end all solution, and I can see how it could be seen as anti-gun, but I believe that is a step that COULD be in the right direction, if the left foot steps correctly next time.

PILMAN
June 13, 2007, 03:06 PM
If someone is bipolar I, are they affected by this bill?

GigaBuist
June 13, 2007, 03:07 PM
Who gets to decide who is "dangerous"?

The judge presiding over the hearing in relation to whatever whacky thing one might have done to land themselves in a courtroom.

GigaBuist
June 13, 2007, 03:08 PM
If someone is bipolar I, are they affected by this bill?

Not unless they do something that brings them to the attention of the court.

Robert Hairless
June 13, 2007, 03:18 PM
The NRA needs to fight for the right of the mentally ill to own firearms. What better way is there for a paranoid person to feel safe than to let him have as many guns and as much ammunition as he wants?

Noxx
June 13, 2007, 03:20 PM
This doesn't introduce any new qualifying factors for exclusion, just insists that the state go about notifying the Fed if you've been found incompetent at a state level.

I always wonder about the Feds motives, but I'm not crawling into my bomb shelter over this one just yet.

Geno
June 13, 2007, 03:23 PM
I have said before, and I will repeat it yet once more...this will do nothing! Evil is not mental defect. Evil is just that...evil and willful disregard for society.

ZeSpectre
June 13, 2007, 03:41 PM
I'm ALWAYS disturbed when something is based on a nebulous a concept as "mental health" (can we say "thought crime"?). So people may be punished/infringed when they haven't actually committed any crimes?

This is BIG trouble.

Leatherneck
June 13, 2007, 03:58 PM
Let me caveat my lack of concern by saying that I believe there exist protocols for the medical profession to recommend to a judge that a person is mentally incompetent and/or a danger to themselves or others, and for said judge to so adjudicate. Correct me, please, if that's wrong.

Robert, do you really want the mentally ill to have firearms, or did I miss the (what I hope was) sarcasm?

TC

Fletchette
June 13, 2007, 04:00 PM
I don't know... When I read this I don't feel offended. We have been preaching for a long time now to let law-abiding citizens keep whatever they want, and keep the guns away from criminals. Isn't that just what this bill is doing?

So why do they need to pass a law that enforces the same thing as existing laws? This reminds me a lot of the immigration bill that says "give us amnesty and then we will really, truly enforce the laws already on the books".

It wouldnt make much sense if we first let everyone have a machine gun and THEN prevent the loonies from getting them. We have to put the restriction in place BEFORE we allow everything that should be allowed to us non-criminals and non-crazies.

This really, really depends on who gets to decide what is "mentally ill". It appears that in the origninal bill this was undefined - leaving a huge opportunity to gun-haters to define anyone they didn't like as "mentally ill". More recent revisions appear to have a judge do the deciding, which is presently the case so why pass a new law stating the same thing as the old law...unless they wish to actually do something else (aka just like the immigration bill)

Don't forget that for every 1 person who isn't nuts and deserves to be able to protect themselves, there are (insert large number here, i dont know the statistic exactly) more people who really ARE unfit to own a gun. If you've never met any, trust me, they are definately out there. Cho is just one extreme example. When you say that the NICS check doesn't work because we don't turn crazy people away, this is a step to fix that. It's not an end all solution, and I can see how it could be seen as anti-gun, but I believe that is a step that COULD be in the right direction, if the left foot steps correctly next time.

I really get nervous when people start deciding "who is fit" enough to excercise their rights.

jselvy
June 13, 2007, 04:06 PM
How long do you think it will take before they realize that the percentage of "legally adjudicated" is VERY low in relation to the actual numbers of those who could be classed as "mentally ill?" How long after that will we see yet a new law to "close the loophole?" This new (hypothetical) law would then require a "Mental Health Checkup" as a prerequisite to a purchase and again I say Doctors are more easily bullied than ordinary citizens. The desire to own a firearm for self-defense could easily be classified as Paranoia if you cannot cite a specific threat, and reacting out of fear if you can.

Jefferson

Fletchette
June 13, 2007, 04:23 PM
Marxist utopia: The government decides who is capable of everything, (including owning guns, speaking their mind, etc) perfectly, without overstepping their authority. Everyone is happy!

Jeffersonian reality (not a "perfect government", but only a "more perfect" one, aka a "better" government): Everyone gets to excercise their rights. Some will abuse them. Individuals will catch, try and convict the guilty using a jury of their peers. Yes, this means some innocent people will die, but tyranny will not exist.

Pick one.

Ratzinger_p38
June 13, 2007, 04:25 PM
If someone is bipolar I, are they affected by this bill?

No, the definitions are not changed one bit, if anything they have narrowed slightly. I was worried about this too, but I am not even close to the threashold.
I have noticed the BATF (who ultimately enforces this) is careful about differentiating between those who seek mental help on their own, and those who are forced.

Sometimes you people here at THR oppose a bill even if it has big gains for us. You prefer a broken system where denials can happen for stupid reasons? How about those are denied because they had a Domestic violence charge, but that was dropped, and NICS doesnt note it? Appeals for our vets? This is a win for us, and the 101st THR Tin Foil Hat Airborne division types here cant see it.

And for those of you say 'my solution is to get rid of it' it will never, ever happen so stop hoping for it.

GigaBuist
June 13, 2007, 04:29 PM
So why do they need to pass a law that enforces the same thing as existing laws?

There's no new law, just a bill that opens up funding grants to the states that increase their compliance with the existing system.

Fletchette
June 13, 2007, 04:46 PM
Quote:
So why do they need to pass a law that enforces the same thing as existing laws?

There's no new law, just a bill that opens up funding grants to the states that increase their compliance with the existing system.

So it's a tax increase?

Henry Bowman
June 13, 2007, 04:54 PM
So it's a tax increase?Nah, it's "federal money." :rolleyes:

alligator94
June 13, 2007, 06:34 PM
The fact that the NRA supported this, is tempting me to not renew my membership. While I agree that mentally unstable people should not have firearms, it is all to easy to declare someone mentally unstable. Given that any instance where mental help is administered could now disqualify someone from owning a firearm, and be reported in an FBI database I have a feeling that a lot of people will not seek the help they need. Also, the NRA's "concessions" of petitioning to restore rights are a joke. You can legally petition to restore your rights now. But guess what? No one has because that has been deliberately not funded. :banghead:

Ratzinger_p38
June 13, 2007, 06:53 PM
Given that any instance where mental help is administered could now disqualify someone from owning a firearm

Since when? I didnt see this in the bill. The rules are no different. They set the bar pretty high. And unlike before, you have a means to remove yourself from the list once youre 'no longer a danger'.

Hk91 Fan
June 13, 2007, 07:12 PM
So, hypothetically, will I now be barred from excercising my God-given inalienable rights because I checked myself into a 30-day program 18 years ago?

Ratzinger_p38
June 13, 2007, 07:16 PM
So, hypothetically, will I now be barred from excercising my God-given inalienable rights because I checked myself into a 30-day program 18 years ago?

Did you miss the part about voluntary committals? And the other part about removing people from the list once it was no longer relevant?

Noxx
June 13, 2007, 07:19 PM
So, hypothetically, will I now be barred from excercising my God-given inalienable rights because I checked myself into a 30-day program 18 years ago?

Nope.

The qualifying incident that would bar you from purchasing, being found mentally deficient by a judge in a court of law has not changed.

The new legislation is soley about making sure that information gets into the federal database in a timely manner, so that normal checks, already in place, will readily find it. That's all.

DomMega
June 13, 2007, 07:25 PM
All its doing is finally enforcing what is already on the books into the NICS. Nobody wants someone straight out of the nut hut to be buying guns when their mentally deficient, I sure don't. The VT gunman was a complete nutbar to say the least. Granted he would've retrieved guns somehow, but if it makes it harder to attain them legally, than so be it. The working order of a saturday night special is questionable at best.

Feanaro
June 13, 2007, 07:44 PM
I've never seen someone "adjudicated mentally defective" pulled away from a picket line. Their persons, houses, papers, and effects are still (supposed to be) secured from unreasonable searches and seizures. They can't be forced to incriminate themselves, their right to a speed and public trial by an impartial jury is still intact.

It is a Bill of Rights, not a Bill of Rights For People We Think Fit To Have 'Em. That said, this law does nothing to hurt us anymore and wins us several goodies.

JohnBT
June 13, 2007, 07:49 PM
"While I agree that mentally unstable people should not have firearms, it is all to easy to declare someone mentally unstable. Given that any instance where mental help is administered could now disqualify someone from owning a firearm, and be reported in an FBI database "

No. No. No.

It's not the diagnosis by the doctor, it's the judge saying you are involuntarily committed that puts you on the list.

Only 20 states currently report involuntary committments to the federal database/NICS. The courts have decreed that if the feds won't pay for gathering and submitting the info then the states don't have to do it. So only 20, or was it 22, submit involuntary committment info.

About half the committment info in NICS is from Virginia FWIW.

This new bill provides funding, money, to the states to encourage them to submit the involuntary committment info. Not voluntary treatment info, but adjudications - involuntary committments where the judge decides a person is a danger to themselves or others and orders treatment. FWIW, many of the 2- or 3-day evaluations result in the judge allowing the person to voluntarily enter treatment and that won't count. Only when the judge orders a committment does it count.

It's not about mental health, it's about the court ordered treatment. I suppose the easiest way to think about it is that if you have enough sense to realize you need treatment then you are not a danger.

John

Fletchette
June 13, 2007, 07:51 PM
The qualifying incident that would bar you from purchasing, being found mentally deficient by a judge in a court of law has not changed.

The new legislation is soley about making sure that information gets into the federal database in a timely manner, so that normal checks, already in place, will readily find it. That's all.

and

All its doing is finally enforcing what is already on the books into the NICS.

So we despirately need a new law to enforce the ones already on the books.

:confused:

Noxx
June 13, 2007, 07:54 PM
So we despirately need a new law to enforce the ones already on the books.

IF the state reporting agencies have not been voluntarily forwarding that information as they should? Then yes.

Fletchette
June 13, 2007, 08:00 PM
Quote:
"So we despirately need a new law to enforce the ones already on the books."

IF the state reporting agencies have not been voluntarily forwarding that information as they should? Then yes.

So if a state chooses not to send in said information about it's citizens, how does that effect interstate commerce?

Michael Thomson
June 13, 2007, 08:07 PM
From NRA's website

http://www.nraila.org/Issues/FactSheets/Read.aspx?id=219&issue=018

H.R. 2640, the "NICS Improvement Act"

The new version of the NICS Improvement Act (H.R. 2640) would require federal agencies to provide records of prohibited individuals for use in NICS. It would also provide financial incentives to states to do the same, by rewarding states that provide records to NICS and penalizing those that refuse to do so over an extended period of time.

Some pro-gun groups have claimed that H.R. 2640 would “prohibit” thousands of people from owning guns. This is not true; these bills would only enforce current prohibitions. In fact, H.R. 2640 would allow some people now unfairly prohibited from owning guns to have their rights restored, and to have their names removed from the instant check system.

The following are the key provisions of H.R. 2640, introduced by Reps. John Dingell (D-Mich.), Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) and Rick Boucher (D-Va.), which passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote on June 13, 2007.

Key Provisions of H.R. 2640

--H.R. 2640 would prevent use of federal “adjudications” that consist only of medical diagnoses without findings that the people involved are dangerous or mentally incompetent.

For example, NICS currently accepts Veterans' Administration decisions that a veteran or other beneficiary is an “adjudicated mental defective” where there was no “adjudication” at all--only a decision that the patient is unable to manage his own finances. Many patients may have accepted such a decision without expecting to lose their gun ownership rights.

H.R. 2640 would eliminate purely medical records from NICS. Gun ownership rights would only be lost as a result of a finding that the person is a danger to himself or others, or lacks the capacity to manage his own affairs.

--H.R. 2640 would require all federal agencies that impose mental health adjudications or commitments (such as the VA) to provide a process for “relief from disabilities.” The bill allows de novo judicial review when an agency denies relief--that is, the court would look at the application on its merits, rather than deferring to the agency's earlier decision.

As a practical matter, the mental health disability is the only firearm disqualifier that can never be removed. Criminal records can be expunged or pardoned, but mental records cannot.

While BATFE used to have the ability to accept applications to remove individuals' prohibited status, appropriations riders every year since 1992 have barred it from doing so. Allowing this process through H.R. 2640 would be an improvement over the current law.

Under H.R. 2640, even if a person is inappropriately committed or declared incompetent by a federal agency, the person would have an opportunity to correct the error--either through the agency or in court.

--H.R. 2640 would prevent reporting of mental adjudications or commitments by federal agencies when those adjudications or commitments have been removed.

--H.R. 2640 would also make clear that if a federal adjudication or commitment has expired or been removed, it would no longer bar a person from possessing or receiving firearms under the Gun Control Act.

This actually restores the person's rights, as well as deleting the record from NICS--a significant improvement over current law.

--States that receive funding would also need to have a relief from disabilities program for mental adjudications and commitments. State relief programs would have to provide for de novo judicial review, as in the federal programs.

Relief granted by a state program would remove the federal prohibition on the person possessing or receiving a firearm under the Gun Control Act--again, an improvement over current law.

Many states have processes for temporary emergency commitments that allow a short-term commitment based only on affidavits from police, doctors or family members, without opportunity for a hearing. Because federal law prohibits gun possession by a person who “has been” committed, a person committed under such a process can't possess a gun even after full release from the temporary order. By requiring participating states to have a relief program that actually removes the disability, H.R. 2640 would be a significant improvement over current law.

--The legislation would improve the accuracy and completeness of NICS by requiring federal agencies and participating states to provide relevant records. For instance, it would give states an incentive to report people such as Virginia Tech murderer Seung-Hui Cho--that is, people who were found after a full court hearing to be a danger to themselves or others, but not reported to NICS due to lack of funding or contrary state laws.

--The legislation requires removal of expired, incorrect or otherwise irrelevant records. Today, totally innocent people (e.g., individuals with arrest records, who were never convicted of the crime charged) are sometimes subject to delayed or denied firearm purchases because of incomplete records in the system.

--The legislation prohibits federal fees for NICS checks. Under current law, only annual appropriations riders prohibit the FBI from trying to impose fees by regulation (as the Clinton Administration proposed in 1998). A permanent ban on such a “gun tax” has been an NRA priority for nearly a decade.

--The legislation requires an audit by the Government Accountability Office of funds already spent for criminal history improvements. There has only been limited documentation of how hundreds of millions of dollars intended for NICS were spent on non-NICS programs such as automated fingerprint systems.

Voluntary Psychological Treatment

Neither current federal law, nor H.R. 2640, would prohibit gun possession by people who have voluntarily sought psychological counseling or checked themselves into a hospital:

--Current law only prohibits gun possession by people who have been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or “committed to any mental institution.” Current BATFE regulations specifically exclude commitments for observation and voluntary commitments. Records of voluntary treatment also would not be available under federal and state health privacy laws.

Similarly, voluntary drug or alcohol treatment would not be reported to NICS. First, voluntary treatment is not a “commitment.” Second, current federal law on gun possession by drug users, as applied in BATFE regulations, only prohibits gun ownership by those whose “unlawful [drug] use has occurred recently enough to indicate that the individual is actively engaged in such conduct.”

In short, neither current law nor this legislation would affect those who voluntarily get psychological help. No person who needs help for a mental health or substance abuse problem should be deterred from seeking that help due to fear of losing Second Amendment rights.

Noxx
June 13, 2007, 08:08 PM
how does that effect interstate commerce?

The one thing appreciate most as I get older, is how quickly I realize some arguments aren't worth having.

Fletchette
June 13, 2007, 08:20 PM
Quote:
"how does that effect interstate commerce?"

The one thing appreciate most as I get older, is how quickly I realize some arguments aren't worth having.

Yup. Some people just get set in their ways...

I find it interesting that someone could just give up a debate, one that has been civil with no name calling, simply because they are tired of it. Surely, even though you have only been a member of The High Road for 5 days, you know that people here thoroughly debate any new gun legislation that will affect their rights...

SoCalShooter
June 13, 2007, 08:33 PM
So we despirately need a new law to enforce the ones already on the books.

It seems to appear as more of a funding bill than anything else.

RE: Michael Thomson, thank you for posting that link.

TrybalRage
June 13, 2007, 08:40 PM
And for those of you say 'my solution is to get rid of it' it will never, ever happen so stop hoping for it.

Never, ever? Yeah, such a long-standing institution in this country...

Noxx
June 13, 2007, 08:49 PM
I find it interesting that someone could just give up a debate, one that has been civil with no name calling, simply because they are tired of it. Surely, even though you have only been a member of The High Road for 5 days, you know that people here thoroughly debate any new gun legislation that will effect their rights...

I'm not being less than civil, and I fail to see how the date of registration to this board affects the validity of my opinion, if we're discussing cheap shots.

I'm more than happy to participate in discussion, that's why I'm here. However at the point a discussion devolves into argument, I don't see the point.

I'm not saying your opinion isn't valid, what I am saying is that it certainly *seems* to me, that you're not interested in the merits of the legislation or lack thereof, but rather baiting an argument for the "any gun law is a bad law" camp.

I would suggest that you read the full text of the legislation available here http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:h.r.0297: , which may clear up some of your questions and move this in a positive direction.

tulsamal
June 13, 2007, 08:58 PM
I would really like to see some clarification on this point:

It 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.

But that's not what the GOA says in their recent letter:

Under the terms of this compromise, the Post says, "individuals with
minor infractions in their pasts could petition their states to have
their names removed from the federal database, and about 83,000
military veterans, put into the system by the Department of Veterans
Affairs in 2000 for alleged mental health reasons, would have a
chance to clean their records."

Oh really? The Brady law already contains a procedure for cleaning
up records. But it hasn't worked for the 83,000 veterans that are
currently prohibited from buying guns. Gun Owners of America is
aware of many people who have tried to invoke this procedure in the
Brady Law, only to get the run around -- and a form letter -- from
the FBI. The simple truth is that the FBI and the BATFE think the
83,000 veterans, and many other law-abiding Americans, should be in
the NICS system.

After all, that's what federal regulations decree. Unless these regs
are changed, Congress can create as many redundant procedures for
cleaning up these records as it wants, but the bottom line is, there
is nothing that will force the FBI to scrub gun owners' name from the
NICS system.

Not only that, there is a Schumer amendment in federal law which
prevents the BATFE from restoring the rights of individuals who are
barred from purchasing firearms. If that amendment is not repealed,
then it doesn't matter if your state stops sending your name for
inclusion in the FBI's NICS system... you are still going to be a
disqualified purchaser when you try to buy a gun.

Moreover, will gun owners who are currently being denied the ability
to purchase firearms -- such as the military veterans who have
suffered from post-traumatic stress -- be recompensed in any way for
their efforts to "clean their records"? They will, no doubt, have to
spend thousands of dollars going to a shrink for a positive
recommendation, for hiring lawyers to take their case to court, etc.

And this is not to mention the fact that this procedure turns our
whole legal system on its head. Americans are presumed innocent
until PROVEN guilty. But these brave souls, who risked their lives
defending our country, were denied the right to bear arms because of
a mental illness "loophole" in the law. Their names were added to
the prohibited purchasers' list in West Virginia without any due
process, without any trial by jury... no, their names were just added
by executive fiat. They were unilaterally, and unconstitutionally,
added into the NICS system by the Clinton administration. And now
the burden of proof is ON THEM to prove their innocence. Isn't that
backwards?

One wonders if these military veterans will be any more successful in
getting back their gun rights than the gun owners in New Orleans who
tried to get back their firearms which were confiscated in the wake
of Hurricane Katrina. (Gun owners in the Big Easy have found it very
difficult to prove their case and get their guns back, even though
the courts have ruled that the police acted improperly in
confiscating their firearms.) But isn't that the problem when honest
people are thrust into the position of PROVING their innocence to the
government, rather than vice-versa.

The fact is, current federal law -- combined with BATFE's
interpretations of that law -- will make it very unlikely that any
court will restore the Second Amendment rights of those 83,000
veterans.


So who is right?

Gregg

Fletchette
June 13, 2007, 09:00 PM
I'm not being less than civil, and I fail to see how the date of registration to this board affects the validity of my opinion, if we're discussing cheap shots.

I brought it up because you ignored my very pertinent question on how this bill is justified as a Federal action (the Fed can only enforce it's will over states if it affects interstate commerce. Otherwise it is unconstitutional according to the Tenth Amendment). You avoided that point and insinuated that I was simply being unreasonable...aka you avoided the debate and insinuated the problem was with me. So did I make a "cheap shot"? If so, I was not the intitiator. Tit for tat.

I will definitely debate the bill on it's merits (or lack there of), but when someone starts avoiding the question and attacking me I reserve the right to get suspicious.

crebralfix
June 13, 2007, 09:02 PM
After seeing this bill, I am no longer a member of the NRA or the NRA Range. This state is conditional upon them changing their tune to an absolutist view of the Second Amendment. That won't happen, so I'll have to find another range.

Noxx
June 13, 2007, 09:12 PM
I brought it up because you ignored my very pertinent question on how this bill is justified as a Federal action (the Fed can only enforce it's will over states if it affects interstate commerce. Otherwise it is unconstitutional according to the Tenth Amendment).

See, I knew that's where you were going with that, and so did you, so it's more than a bit rhetorical, which is why it resulted in some eye-rolling on my end of the internet.

You're correct about the tenth ammendment, and I won't dispute that point. However, trying to put THAT horse back in the barn is a whole nother thread, don't you think? We're well past the point where we could reasonably undo the fed's wildly overreaching power without a wholesale restructuring of the government. Now, I don't want to chase that particular rabbit, because it leads us way off-topic (fwiw it's one we would probably agree on).

In the real nuts and bolts world, the Fed already has their fingers in it, because we each are subject to a federal background check each time we purchase a firearm. Without removing that system, it's my opinion that the best we can hope for is to get it working as it was intended, which is the thrust of this most recent legislation.

Well Regulated
June 13, 2007, 09:25 PM
If the State of Virgina was one of a handful of states that was already complying with adding this data to the NICS, and that didn't stop the Murder at Virginia Tech, How is this Bill going to stop future Virginia Tech Murders?

States can already add this information to the data base. More of the same is just more of the same. If the problem is not being able to clear one's record, then they need to address that and only that.

If state law conflicts with federal law on the definitions of mental defective and commitment, what prevails federal or state law?

Fletchette
June 13, 2007, 09:27 PM
Noxx,

Thank you for recognizing the fact that this bill oversteps it's authority based on the Tenth Amendment.

Since this is the first Federal gun legislation in over a decade, I am not one to just accept that this bill is nothing to be concerned about. Considering its sponsors (Schumer et al), I think suspicion is only being responsible.

With regards to the Second Amendment, I am still not sold on this bill. Several other members have raised very valid issues with regards to how NICS has been /will be handled and I think a detailed explanation is a legitimate request. At present, the explanation is, "trust us".

So, even within the narrow confines of the Second Amendment (and disregarding how this bill is unconstitutional by violating the Tenth) I do not think it is a good idea in it's present form.

Thanks again for debating the bill, and if you haven't heard it from someone already, welcome to The High Road! ;)

Autolycus
June 13, 2007, 09:36 PM
Originally posted by DomMega:
All its doing is finally enforcing what is already on the books into the NICS. Nobody wants someone straight out of the nut hut to be buying guns when their mentally deficient, I sure don't. The VT gunman was a complete nutbar to say the least. Granted he would've retrieved guns somehow, but if it makes it harder to attain them legally, than so be it. The working order of a saturday night special is questionable at best.

First off if they are going to get guns anyway why should it be harder for me the law abiding citizen? Second I dont think you should ever complain about CA gun laws as it will only make it harder for a criminal to commit a crime.

And what are you talking about Saturday Night Specials? So because a criminal may buy a broken gun illegally its ok to make it harder for law abiding people to buy new guns legally. That is logical. :rolleyes:

ConstitutionCowboy
June 13, 2007, 10:01 PM
Those who cannot be trusted with arms belong in prison or executed, institutionalized, or under full time guardianship. No NICS needed, then.

Pretty simple, isn't it! Cheaper, too.

Woody

A law that says you cannot fire your gun in the middle of downtown unless in self defense is not unconstitutional. Laws that prohibit brandishing except in self defense or handling your gun in a threatening or unsafe manner would not be unconstitutional. Laws can be written that govern some of the uses of guns. No law can be written that infringes upon buying, keeping, storing, carrying, limiting caliber, limiting capacity, limiting quantity, limiting action, or any other act that would infringe upon the keeping or bearing of arms. That is the truth and simple reality of the limits placed upon government by the Second Amendment to the Constitution. B.E.Wood

Ratzinger_p38
June 13, 2007, 10:01 PM
First off if they are going to get guns anyway why should it be harder for me the law abiding citizen?

Have you been committed? Then how in any way does it make your getting guns harder?

petrel800
June 13, 2007, 10:06 PM
Whether or not of this bill will do anything positive or negative, I'm not sure, but I can say that anything that is passed as knee jerk reaction to a tragedy is usually a sensationalized piece of junk that does nothing but trade freedom for security.

Grey54956
June 13, 2007, 10:31 PM
Doctors and judges will probably be fairly cautious in determining who is actually mentally defective. Some are suggesting that the courts will run all willy-nilly with this, and the concern has crossed my mind a few times.

However, suppose a doctor determined that you are a nutball because he doesns't like the look of your face. A judge carelessly determines that he is correct. However, you get a second opinion from another doctor or two, take things to court, and BAM! multi-million dollar civil suit for the doctor and/or magistrate involved for violating your constititional and civil rights.

The mental health community should be very careful when determining whether someone needs to be labelled as a potential danger to self and society.

outerlimit
June 14, 2007, 07:56 AM
Why should we let someone who is mentally ill have a driver's license? After all, they might have a psychotic episode and decide to mow everyone down on the sidewalk or drive into a crowd.

Oh that's right, they could still do it anyways...

Hey wait a minute, I think that applies to firearms too..

Geeeeeeeeee...........

MilsurpShooter
June 14, 2007, 08:16 AM
I'd just like to know how this affects illegal guns and the criminals who use/obtain them. Mentally incompetent criminal is going to be so mentally incompetent that he's going to try to get a firearm from a dealer?

I honestly don't know where to stand on this. I can see the merits but I can also see where it could be used to push something more...

I just dunno :(

Autolycus
June 14, 2007, 08:39 AM
Originally posted by Ratzinger P38:
Have you been committed? Then how in any way does it make your getting guns harder?

Well eventually they may committ you for things that are not committable now. Why should I have to jump through more checks and should my tax dollars pay for another pointless government program that will not prevent or solve crime?

Just because something does not affect you personally does not mean it is ok. That is the same as saying that it is ok to require extra background checks because it may prevent a crime? How about a longer waiting period because it may prevent a crime?

I am sorry but more useless laws will not do anything but further inhibit our freedoms.

RealGun
June 14, 2007, 09:29 AM
One should note, I think, that in order for this law to really address how the VT shooting was possible, one would have to play hell getting their name off the list, and good luck with that.

Since Cho's record had been expunged by the judge, his theoretical NICS record would qualify to be removed. Some officious fed bureaucrat could then say that States' judgment on such matters cannot be trusted, and they will remove a record when it suits them. So who should really believe that being in the NICS database will not be a lifelong curse, another form of injustice and oppression by "the system". Knowing that will probably mean that there will be hesitation in committing someone.

The son of a friend of mine is just now going through the process of trying to get his guns back after his wife filed charges for spousal abuse. Now she's back, but his guns are not. There was never any evidence that the charges were valid or even that threats were made. That's the Lautenberg Amendment, but the point is that once you are on a list, good luck with getting off.

And what's with the question, [have you EVER BEEN?]. How about [are your currently?].

AugustusMcCrae
June 14, 2007, 09:48 AM
I don't like this bill but maybe some good will come of it.

Perhaps since the NRA supports this bill, maybe we'll get something in return. Like easier* ways to obtain NFA goodies. Or lowering the age requirement to 18 in order to purchase handguns so I can get that 1911 I've been coveting.

Or maybe we gun owners will be able to have universal CCL that work in every state.

*And legal.;)

Dorryn
June 14, 2007, 10:01 AM
I'm ALWAYS disturbed when something is based on a nebulous a concept as "mental health" (can we say "thought crime"?). So people may be punished/infringed when they haven't actually committed any crimes?

+1.

Not a big step toward the government redefining "mental health" any way it wishes.

Henry Bowman
June 14, 2007, 10:02 AM
Perhaps since the NRA supports this bill, maybe we'll get something in return. The quid pro quo has already been agreed to. There will be no future credit given to the NRA or us based on "goodwill."

tmccray45
June 14, 2007, 10:15 AM
Article in today's Washington Post:


A Long-Sought Advance for a Gun-Control Bid Born of Sorrow
By Lois Romano
Thursday, June 14, 2007; Page A25

Carolyn McCarthy was a content homemaker and a nurse before gun violence blew up her life. Yesterday, she found a moment of peace when a promising piece of gun-control legislation cleared the House.

Fourteen years ago, the New York Democrat's husband, Dennis, was among six people killed when a deranged gunman opened fire on a Long Island commuter train. Her only child, Kevin, was shot in the head and injured.

From that moment, McCarthy became one of the most vocal advocates of gun control, ultimately deciding to run for Congress in 1994 after her representative voted to repeal the assault weapons ban.

"I thought I'd be here for two years," she said in an interview in her office. "I thought -- one term, I'd do my work, get gun-control legislation started. . . . But it doesn't work that way."

Now in her fifth term, McCarthy can see the light. Spurred by the massacre of 32 people by a gunman at Virginia Tech in April -- and in a rare collaboration with the National Rifle Association -- the House passed legislation that would provide money for states to collect and maintain records on the mentally ill, with penalties if states don't comply.

McCarthy said the bill in essence enforces a 1968 gun-control measure that prohibits the sale of firearms to those adjudicated as mentally ill. She gives major credit to Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), a former NRA board member, for negotiating with the organization, because she was a bit wary.

"When things like Virginia Tech happen, for me it becomes very personal and very emotional," she said. "My whole family goes almost into post-traumatic stress syndrome. It all comes back, the pain and the chaos."

This is McCarthy's fourth try at the bill, which for various reasons never made it through the process. She reintroduced it again in January, and after Virginia Tech, she said, it was on a fast track. She said that though the legislation may not have prevented her husband's shooter from buying a gun, it would have caught Seung Hui Cho, whom a judge had declared mentally ill.

The bill will now head to the Senate, where members seem confident it will pass, potentially making it the first new gun-control law in 13 years. "If I can't pass this bill now, I don't know what I'm doing here," she said.

Is she confident this bill will stop the next shooter?

"Hopefully we'll never know," she said.

HonorsDaddy
June 14, 2007, 12:39 PM
You said:

Perhaps since the NRA supports this bill, maybe we'll get something in return. Like easier* ways to obtain NFA goodies. Or lowering the age requirement to 18 in order to purchase handguns so I can get that 1911 I've been coveting.

Or maybe we gun owners will be able to have universal CCL that work in every state.

All i can say to that is - i am grateful for the optimism of youth...

(in other words, the above have less chance of happening legislatively than Satan having a snowball fight in his backyard)

CountGlockula
June 14, 2007, 01:12 PM
Here's the latest news...sorry if this has been repeated.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-guns14_jun14,1,5342176,print.story?coll=la-headlines-nation

House, with NRA's backing, passes gun bill
Following Virginia Tech shootings, measure would make it easier to track mental patients, others who cannot buy firearms.
By Joel Havemann
Times Staff Writer

June 14, 2007

WASHINGTON — The House on Wednesday passed what could become the first significant gun legislation in a decade, directing states to streamline the system for keeping track of criminals, mental patients and others barred from buying firearms, and providing $250 million a year for the central database and grants to states to contribute to it.

The bill, which was passed by acclamation, was the product of rare cooperation between gun-control advocates and the National Rifle Assn. It is intended to address problems highlighted by the April 16 mass shooting at Virginia Tech by a student with a history of mental health problems.

The measure is expected to pass the Senate.

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), a sponsor of the bill, said the current state records system was so flawed that "millions of criminal records are not accessible" by the national database that is supposed to notify gun dealers of disqualified buyers.

"I came to Congress in 1997, in the wake of my own personal tragedy, to help prevent gun violence," said McCarthy, referring to her husband's death at the hands of a gunman on a Long Island commuter train in 1993.

A spokesman for the NRA insisted that the bill did not amount to gun control and said the group endorsed it because it would improve enforcement of current gun restrictions, rather than adding more. "There's nothing in this bill that's a step backwards," said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.

Stricter gun-control efforts began after President Kennedy was slain in 1963 and culminated in a significant revision of gun laws in 1968, after the assassinations of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

The last major changes came in 1994 — the last year, until now, that both houses of Congress were under Democratic control — when a five-day waiting period and background checks on potential handgun purchasers were imposed and the sale of some assault weapons was banned.

But since 1996, when individuals convicted of domestic violence were added to the list of prohibited purchasers, gun rights organizations have successfully fended off attempts to impose additional controls. Even after the Columbine High School shootings in 1999, an effort to make sales of guns at gun shows subject to rules similar to those governing licensed dealers failed in Congress. The ban on selling assault weapons was allowed to lapse in 2004.

The latest legislation passed the House as President Bush received a report on the Virginia Tech shootings recommending broader action. The report endorsed the key goal of the House legislation: better reporting by the states to the FBI's database of the names of people not allowed to purchase a gun because of a mental disability.

"The focus of discussions related to gun policy was on increasing the effectiveness of current federal firearms regulation, which is limited by divergent state practices," said the report by the departments of Health and Human Services, Justice and Education. For example, the report noted that only 23 states provide information to the FBI on people who, under federal law, cannot buy a gun because of mental health issues.

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said that the president "very much" supported the goals of the House bill, but that his aides had some concerns about its $250-million annual price tag.

The House acted after a parade of legislators from both parties praised the legislation. Only Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a presidential candidate, spoke out against the bill, calling it "flagrantly unconstitutional" for undermining the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms as well as a violation of privacy rights of those whose medical records go into the FBI database.

The bill would require states to enter into that database the names of persons whom a court has deemed a danger to themselves or others.

Seung-hui Cho, who killed 32 students and teachers at Virginia Tech before taking his own life, had been ordered by a court to undergo outpatient mental health therapy and should have been barred from buying the two handguns he used. But because he was ordered to get only outpatient care, his name was not sent to the FBI.

"The Virginia Tech shootings tragically demonstrated the gaps in the system that allowed a dangerous person to be armed," said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

LaPierre, in the uncustomary position of being in accord with Helmke, said the bill would not infringe on the right of qualified people to buy guns; it would merely tighten enforcement of existing laws that are supposed to deny unqualified persons the opportunity to buy guns. "We've always been vigorous about keeping guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them," he said.

But he warned the Senate not to amend the bill to include tougher gun controls. Such a strategy, he said, could cost the support of the gun lobby.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
joel.havemann@latimes.com

Times staff writer Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar contributed to this report.

Vermonter
June 14, 2007, 01:18 PM
If someone is so "dangerous" they can't own a gun, they shouldn't be on the street.

Self defense is a basic human right.

Phetro
June 14, 2007, 01:19 PM
This new bill provides funding, money, to the states to encourage them to submit the involuntary committment info. Not voluntary treatment info, but adjudications - involuntary committments where the judge decides a person is a danger to themselves or others and orders treatment. FWIW, many of the 2- or 3-day evaluations result in the judge allowing the person to voluntarily enter treatment and that won't count. Only when the judge orders a committment does it count.

Ah, great! So now all we need is an agenda-driven judge to start committing people for less-than-valid reasons. But that could never happen...could it? :uhoh:

The judge presiding over the hearing in relation to whatever whacky thing one might have done to land themselves in a courtroom.

Uh huh. No one ever ends up in a courtroom staring down the wrong end of the System unless they've done some "whacky" thing. The System never makes mistakes in arrests. Never in trials. Never in convictions. Never in involuntary commitments. And agenda-driven Systemites would never intentionally violate citizens' rights. :rolleyes:

AugustusMcCrae
June 14, 2007, 01:36 PM
HonorsDaddy, I know my hopes are probably not going to happen.

I'd prefer to be able to get 1911's from vending machines & suppressor's at the Dollar General.:D

However a wise man once said this, "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of all things. And no good thing ever dies." Yes I stole that from "The Shawshank Redemption" but I still stand by it. :)

However if we petition, vote, march, debate, educate & persevere through the black night that looms before us, maybe our grandchildren may be able to wake up one morning, go to their local grocery stores & pick up their MP5's with suppressors with their Raisin bran & Pepsi.:)

DomMega
June 14, 2007, 03:03 PM
I think one of the other things some of you against this bill are failing to realize is that if someone who is by all definitions a "nut" and is a danger to themselves and everyone else, gets a hold of a gun, what do you think is going to happen? All of us will be attacked because of it. Just as always predicted, when violence of gun crime happens, everyone says, "Get rid of guns, they're so dangerous and scary!" Now imagine if some guy who has been in mental instutitions involuntarily and has to be medicated all the time is allowed to purchase firearms because the law allows him to, all of us will have a lot of explaining to do if we were the ones who said we don't stand by the bill.

The NRA is backing this thing up for a reason, and one of those reasons is to protect all of us. It's not really that hard to comprehend. After all the evidence was displayed after the tragedy at Virginia Tech and they realized that this kid was mental but it didn't show that in the NICS, I said this is something that needs to change immediately. And it did, and I'm happy about it. It does NOT affect any of you, at least I hope it doesn't. ;)

Henry Bowman
June 14, 2007, 03:33 PM
Now imagine if some guy who has been in mental instutitions involuntarily and has to be medicated all the time is allowed to purchase firearms because the law allows him to, all of us will have a lot of explaining to do if we were the ones who said we don't stand by the bill.Freedom is not without danger. Sorry if you find that cold and callous, but there is no amount of freedom that can be sacrificed that will guarantee safety.

I think one of the other things some of you against this bill are failing to realize is that if someone who is by all definitions a "nut" and is a danger to themselves and everyone else, gets a hold of a gun, what do you think is going to happen? What if someone who is by all definitions a "nut" and is a danger to themselves and everyone else gets a hold of a car, a baseball bat, a knife, a bag of fertilizer and can of heating oil, or a voter registration card? Where are the fact-based (as opposed to emotion-based) priorities? Where does it end?

leadcounsel
June 14, 2007, 04:56 PM
Reasonable Gun Control sounds good enough, however you have to look more closely. The closer you look the more UNREASONABLE it becomes.

The reason is this:

First, categories of people prohibited from ownership are created (EG felons, mentally defective, etc.)

Second, those categories are made liberally expansive. For instance, someone who is arrested for public urination can be prosecuted as a sex offender, which may one day be a bar on gun ownership.

On the surface it sounds reasonable that domestic violence should be a bar to gun ownership. However, domestic violence may include pleading guilty to a misdemeanor for arguing with your spouse where the police responded and were required to arrest someone. So if you look under the surface, it's less reasonable than one might think.

I just now realized that US veterans claiming mental problems for benefits are barred from gun ownership! That is a sad state of affairs!

rugerman07
June 14, 2007, 06:45 PM
If this bill makes it through the senate and I'm sure it will, does that mean the FBI will make this new information available to the ATF, have them contact FFL dealers requesting copies of alleged offenders form 4473 and start rounding up alleged offenders that are deemed mentally unstable or convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence?

TCB in TN
June 14, 2007, 06:47 PM
If you are such a danger to society that you should no long have your rights then you should be incarcerated or institutionalized. NO more gun control laws.

DomMega
June 15, 2007, 05:11 AM
Freedom is not without danger. Sorry if you find that cold and callous, but there is no amount of freedom that can be sacrificed that will guarantee safety.

Oh, it takes a lot for me to find something cold and callous my friend. You're just stating an opinion which is fine, thats what we do around here, especially in this particular forum and I understand the point you're trying to make. But you're basically saying that its ok to knowingly allow someone who has had evidence of destructive behavior against themselves and others to lawfully have an instrument of death which I think is something that can only be owned by a lawful SANE person, which they are not. In the grand scheme of things it will just make all those anti-gun paranoid people more upset and more angry with us legal folk who try to tell them how stupid gun control is, which is something I still believe whole heartedly. We just have to keep the symbolism of it all legit and not compromise it in any way. And thats what we would be doing if we were to ever go along with something like this. The judge is the one who would have to declare you mentally deficient.


What if someone who is by all definitions a "nut" and is a danger to themselves and everyone else gets a hold of a car, a baseball bat, a knife, a bag of fertilizer and can of heating oil, or a voter registration card? Where are the fact-based (as opposed to emotion-based) priorities? Where does it end?

I think we're just splitting hairs here with this one. People get drunk and drive and kill people every day of the week. And if they do it enough they go to jail and are removed from society. People that have been declared mentally deficient have already been removed from society at some point in most cases. I just see this entire thing as more watching out for us and ensuring our rights to be able to carry and be able to protect our families. Imagine if some other guy who was a nut job had the same right and just went nuts one day because he was mad, started shooting up everyone in a grocery store and had attained his weapons legally. People would have a field day with that one and they'd put pressure on the people who made it possible to defend ourselves. No thanks.

Brett Bellmore
June 15, 2007, 06:58 AM
This is a bad bill. How do I know this?

They don't pass good bills secretly by voice vote. GOOD bills they're proud of, they WANT their names on them.

This isn't one of those cases where the NRA's usual "Something was going to pass, we helped write it to minimize the damage." rational applies. Nothing was going to pass without the NRA's active support, and even with that support they were so scared of voter backlash they felt the need to keep us from knowing who actually voted for it. Backlash from US, folks; They're coming to understand that the NRA doesn't really represent gun owners anymore, that the NRA's support for a bill doesn't mean it won't piss us off.

With this step, the NRA has officially made the transition from fighting against gun control, to fighting for it. To thinking moderate INCREASES in gun control are desirable. I've stomached a lot from the NRA over the years, but I think this is the time for me to cut my life membership card up, and mail it in.

RealGun
June 15, 2007, 09:18 AM
But you're basically saying that its ok to knowingly allow someone who has had evidence of destructive behavior against themselves and others to lawfully have an instrument of death which I think is something that can only be owned by a lawful SANE person, which they are not. - DonMega

Did anyone say that? I don't believe the law says that. I believe the language is "a threat to himself or others". If actually having a record of being a danger, a restriction is a no brainer, until such time as officially deemed a normal member of society. In order for RKBA to be sacred, there would need to be a genuine provision for conditions under which rights would be restored. That will not happen unless the law is explicit. Leaving it up to regulatory discretion is no different than saying the restriction will be permanent...sorry.

JohnBT
June 15, 2007, 04:28 PM
"They're coming to understand that the NRA doesn't really represent gun owners anymore"

The NRA does represent gun owners.

Federal law has prohibited firearms purchase and possession by individuals adjudicated mentally ill/involuntarily committed since 1968.

Are we close enough to next year to just call it 40 years?

Now they're working on a law to encourage the other 28 states to computerize their records of the folks who fall in the legally adjudicated group. Only 22 states have been reporting any info and none of those complete info on persons prohibited by the 1968 law.

Good luck getting the '68 GCA overturned. I'm not saying I'd mind it, just good luck.

John

ravnew
June 15, 2007, 06:11 PM
I have to agree with JohnBT. Their is nothing I see in this bill that adds any additional restriction to our gun rights. It merely enfoces what is already there. Keeping in mind what could have happened after VT I think we got off easy.

.45&TKD
June 15, 2007, 06:22 PM
Keeping in mind what could have happened after VT I think we got off easy.

Why give the anti-gunners anything if we don't have to? Even if it is small (and that's debatable).

Hardly anyone in Congress wanted to go on record for any gun control even after VT. Note the sneaky voice vote, so no one knows who voted for it.

Even when we are winning in public opinion, the NRA is still compromising. I'm sick of it. Gun Owners of America more accurately reflects my views and gets my support.

It merely enforces what is already there.

How about rolling back what is already there? Do you think the Libs will ever settle for the status quo?

Fletchette
June 15, 2007, 06:31 PM
How about rolling back what is already there? Do you think the Libs will ever settle for the status quo?

Bravo!

We will never get our rights back (and yes, we have lost a bunch of them) unless we are willing to go on the offensive. After a long, bitter and difficult Klinton administration, the Second Amendment rights groups managed a very successful defensive campaign. We managed to prevent most new gun legislation and convince even Klinton himself that gun control was a losing issue. But it was not really a 'victory'; it was merely effective defense.

Once you stop the enemy advance it is not the time to lay back and rest - you must immediately go on the offensive or else the enemy will re-group and attack you again.

We HAVE to get comfortable with the fact that we need to go on the offensive and repeal the multitude of unconstitutional laws and not become content with "brokering deals" that allow for the passage of new gun control laws, however small the incremental change is. That is why I am against this bill, even if it in its current form does not interoduce anything "new", it should be defeated on principle and a gun law repeal bill immediately submitted to Congress.

helpless
June 15, 2007, 07:17 PM
A poster here said that they dont think it is so bad because who wants "people who are a danger to themselves or others" to be able to have firearms.

That could be a pretty broad blanket. I do not see any thing about that in the Second amendment.

Brett Bellmore
June 15, 2007, 07:38 PM
Note the sneaky voice vote, so no one knows who voted for it.

The other purpose of "sneaky voice votes" is to prevent you from being able to prove in court that there wasn't a quorum present when they held the vote. You may be quite certain that relatively few members were actually present to vote for that bill.

And considering that the members most likely to vote against this bill are our best allies, keep in mind that the NRA was party to deliberately engineering a vote with pro-gun House members absent. Which is why I say they've crossed the line: They actually conspired with the anti-gunners against us in this case.

JohnBT
June 15, 2007, 11:26 PM
"How about rolling back what is already there? Do you think the Libs will ever settle for the status quo?"

Not while the Democrats are winning the Congressional elections and setting their sights on the Oval Office.

Some people seem to think the NRA runs Congress and votes on laws. Why they think that is beyond explanation.

Regarding GOA, well, send them your money and see what you get for it other than a bunch of e-mails slamming the NRA. Uh-oh, now I've done it.

John

.45&TKD
June 16, 2007, 12:32 AM
Regarding GOA, well, send them your money and see what you get for it other than a bunch of e-mails slamming the NRA.

Actually, the thing I like about GOA is that they spend most of their efforts alerting me via email to call and write elected officals about pending legislation, whether my membership is up to date or not.

All I ever get from the NRA is expensive solicitations to send the NRA more money.

Unfortunately, the NRA needs to be bashed over this recent bill.

FlaXD
June 16, 2007, 01:14 AM
Here's what happened to a poor guy that was lost and looking for the gun range.

http://www.tampabays10.com/news/local/article.aspx?storyid=56748

Sarasota, Florida - On Tuesday, Sarasota police officers spotted a 38-year-old man driving a Chevy Pick-up truck at 18th Street and Central Avenue driving suspiciously. Officers had spotted the same man driving in the same area earlier in the day.

Just before 1:00 PM the driver showed up again, following a police partrol car. The officers stopped the driver and walked up to the vehicle. That's when the driver told them he had weapons.

Located in the truck was a Remington 7400 rifle, a Mossberg
shotgun, a Smith & Wesson .38cal. revolver, a Ruger 357 handgun, a Bryco
380 Handgun, and a Springfield 1911 .45cal. revolver. All of the weapons
were loaded. Also found in the truck was in excess of 500 rounds of
ammunition.

The driver of the vehicle was taken into custody and detained
under the Baker Act.

Edited to add - the "Baker Act" is Florida's M.H. Act, F.S. 394. Being "Baker Acted" typically means being taken in for psychiatric observation and evaluation. If the psych./facility feels it is warranted they can petition the state to hold an involuntary commitment(treatment) hearing.

.45&TKD
June 16, 2007, 01:26 AM
the Baker Act

Great. What the @#!& is the Baker Act?

FlaXD
June 16, 2007, 01:42 AM
Posters have been ok with this bill because it doesn't add new restrictions and/or fixes a broken system and it's ok because people can petition to get off the ban list.

1. Does fixing an injust system make it better? That it hasn't been functional has been a saving grace. Sure there are some people who received a MH commitment probably shouldn't be allowed to own a gun. I bet there are a lot more who have moved past their problems and don't deserve this.

2. The feds position is that a person EVER committed, even as a minor, for treatment, even for 1 day, is FOREVER barred from the right to protect him/herself. There is no getting better. Petty criminals can petition to get off the list. "Mental defectives" can't.

3. People do not understand how capricious the MH system really is. People are committed all the time for unbelievable reasons. Little things like greed and doctors on power trips (ie. you dare disagree with their treatment plan.)

4. Contrary to what someone posted - it is almost impossible to prove you were improperly committed, let alone win a multi-million $ judgement.

5. People forget how easy it is for regimes to use state run psychiatry to eliminate opposition and silence dissent. Remember the Soviet Union and Cuba? Think it would never happen here?

6. Imagine if the litmus test question for deciding mental illness became "Do you believe your .gov always acts in your best interest?" No - you are labeled a paranoid conspiratorialist and deemed to dangerous to be allowed to own weapons. Yes - you are a sheeple and don't need to own guns because the .gov will take care of you.


Do YOU suffer from RTKBAitis?

gc70
June 16, 2007, 04:16 AM
Here is a word-for-word comparison (http://www.hotlinkfiles.com/files/81221_drqqb/HR297-2640.pdf]HR297-2640.pdf) of the original HR 297 versus HR 2640 as passed by the House. Verbiage deleted from HR 297 is struck through and shown in red. Verbiage added by HR 2640 is underlined.

Read and judge for yourself.

FlaXD
June 16, 2007, 04:56 AM
gc70 - I wasn't aware the bill had been changed so much. (Perhaps because they did it in SECRET.) It seems they did a reasonable job working with the mental health groups to get some decent protections built in. Thanks for the update.

Assuming this passes, hopefully it will actually work as written.

RealGun
June 16, 2007, 06:59 AM
Regarding GOA, well, send them your money and see what you get for it other than a bunch of e-mails slamming the NRA. Uh-oh, now I've done it. - JohnBT

I recall statements of fact regarding NRA actions or positions. I also recall inferring that GOA by comparison was tougher. I do not recall any outright "bashing" of NRA nor any constant effort to discredit them as a means of promoting GOA as an alternative. GOA needs to justify itself and to remind members why it is a valuable organization. Obviously they are not going to promote the notion that all one has to do is join the NRA.

RealGun
June 16, 2007, 07:23 AM
Well yeah, keeping track of mentally defective people sounds like a good idea, and coordinating State action sounds right too. The problem is the federal government does not have legitimate jurisdiction. This is all based upon the income tax. If States want their appropriations, they will comply. It's blackmail. Furthermore, the law is an unfunded mandate. Instead of providing funding for another State burden, they just blackmail the States. They have done routinely and will rely upon that strategy and those precedents again. The country took a hard left turn when they empowered the federal government with massive amounts of tax dollars.

"Interstate commerce" is often an illegitimate regulatory power as well.

I just have a problem with gaming the Constitution with the aid of the courts. If there needs to be a method of coordinating action among the States, why can't they do it right instead of creating so much disdain for the law?

I wouldn't be satisfied with this law or the provisions of GCA 1968 in this regard unless it was the State that said who will or will not be on the list. If a State can put someone on the list, they should be the authority to remove the person's name. The federal agency is not a higher authority in my opinion. To me, they have no legitimate jurisdicton beyond being the keeper of the list. The Feds should not be able to override the State's own list. If your State says you are good to go, and you are not on any other State's list (NICS), the Feds should not be able to rule otherwise, saying you cannot be removed from your own State's record.

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