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US Congress approves tighter gun control law
1 day ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The US Congress has approved the first major gun control legislation in more than a decade, broadening background checks for gun buyers in the wake of a deadly campus shooting earlier this year by a mentally ill student.

The legislation approved Wednesday by the Senate provides government funds to improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), the main way gun purchases are monitored in America.

It also allocates funds for gun owners and potential gun owners who are prevented from owning weapons due to mental illness so that they may challenge the ruling in court.

Existing laws prevent mentally ill people and convicted felons from legally owning firearms, but many states lack the funds to keep their information up to date and report it to the NICS.

The measure, the first gun legislation approved since 1994, passed by voice vote in both the Senate and House of Representatives.

"A credible... federal database to provide accurate background checks benefits everyone," said Senator Patrick Leahy, one of the co-sponsors of a bill that arose following the deadliest campus shooting in US history.

Improving the background check system and culling erroneous records "will help curb the number of firearms that get into the hands of troubled individuals," Leahy said.

In April, a mentally deranged gunman shot and killed 31 people and then himself at Virginia Tech university in the United States, sparking widespread calls for tighter gun control laws.

The shooter, South Korea-born Seung Hui-Cho, 23, an English major, bought two handguns even after police and professors recognized that he was mentally disturbed.

The campus shooting "made it clear" that the background check system for potential gun buyers "needs to have better information, better technology, and clearer standards," said Representative John Dingell, a Democrat who co-authored the bill that passed the House in June.

The measure, which added a number of changes after the House version passed, was supported by the powerful gun lobby, the National Rifle Association (NRA), and now awaits President George W. Bush's signature to become law.

"The end product is a win for American gun owners," the NRA said in a statement, describing the measure as "pro-gun legislation."

A number of safeguards were built into the legislation so that people who have "overcome a disqualifying mental illness or disability may reclaim their rights" of gun ownership through federal "relief from disabilities programs."

The NRA pointed out that the bill "prevents use of federal 'adjudications' that consist only of medical diagnoses without findings that the people involved are dangerous or mentally incompetent.

"This would ensure that purely medical records are never used in NICS. Gun ownership rights would only be lost as a result of a finding that the person is a danger to themselves or others, or lacks the capacity to manage his own affairs," the gun lobby said in a statement.

Kristen Rand, legislative director of the Violence Policy Center, which advocates tighter gun control, said this shows that the legislation was "hijacked by the gun lobby and would now do far more harm than good.

"Rather than focusing on improving the current laws prohibiting people with certain mental health disabilities from buying guns, the bill... will waste millions of taxpayer dollars restoring the gun privileges of persons previously determined to present a danger to themselves or others," Rand said.

"Once a solution, the bill is now part of the problem," she said.

However another gun control group, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, urged Bush to sign the measure.

"Every day that passes until this legislation becomes law, dangerous people will go into gun stores and not be blocked from buying deadly weapons, thus putting lives at risk," the group said in a statement.
Link:http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jYvWbX83mR3u4k7KDnXmHNXPzo-Q
 
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I really don't have a problem with it The only problem I have is the N.R.A., who I am a proud life member of, would get in bed with, if only for a short while, with sarah brady, the enemy. I don't think mentaly unstable folks oughta own guns. Just my opinion. -I :--- -I :---
 

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I don't like to see any new/more restrictive gun legislation, but in light of the VA Tech, and mall shootings, 2640 isn't near as bad as it could have been. Without the NRA compromise, public opinion could have dealt serious damage to the Second Amendment.
 

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Harley Dude
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I truly have mixed emotions about this change in the law. The NCIS program was supposed to included restrictions on individuals that had been committed or were being treated for mental illness.
Individuals that resort to mass murder are all mentally ill in my opinion. A normal or even semi-normal person would never resort to this type of behavior.

I do agree that this action was necessary to shore up the requirement that the mentally ill people are kept away from guns. At least from the public purchase of firearms from dealers. I worry about where this is headed and the extent to which it will be enforced on the soldiers that suffer from war time issues.

Any time the NRA sides with the likes of Brady, Schumer, Kennedy and McCarthy we lose, and it hurts their image. But on the other hand I suspect they did it to salvage what they could from this assault on our rights. Now it is up to the Supreme Court to save those rights. If they fail us we are in big trouble.
 

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I'm not thrilled with the new law, nor do I want a constitional confrontation, which could well occur after the travesty at Virginia Tech. I'm still researching and still confused about the effect this will have on veterans with any mental health issues, including PTSD. It appears at the outset to really sock it to anyone who even visited a shrink in the military, and God knows we don't want to discourage troops from seeking the help they may need. Obviously, the impact from that would be far worse.

I've watched for years how quickly some gun owners are to indict the NRA, anytime a situation like this arises. I still haven't seen any substantial thing that the GOA has accomplished in Washington. I don't "bleed NRA" as some do, but I do see the efforts made to negotiate laws like this new one. Many of the claims I read in my GOA notice don't agree with what NRA says. I looked up the bill itself in Thomas and the text is not yet available. There may be some provisions in the law that offend, but I'll reserve judgement until I can read the actual text of HR 2640.
 

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Harley Dude
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gunrnr said:
I'm not thrilled with the new law, nor do I want a constitutional confrontation, which could well occur after the travesty at Virginia Tech. I'm still researching and still confused about the effect this will have on veterans with any mental health issues, including PTSD. It appears at the outset to really sock it to anyone who even visited a shrink in the military, and God knows we don't want to discourage troops from seeking the help they may need. Obviously, the impact from that would be far worse.

I've watched for years how quickly some gun owners are to indict the NRA, anytime a situation like this arises. I still haven't seen any substantial thing that the GOA has accomplished in Washington. I don't "bleed NRA" as some do, but I do see the efforts made to negotiate laws like this new one. Many of the claims I read in my GOA notice don't agree with what NRA says. I looked up the bill itself in Thomas and the text is not yet available. There may be some provisions in the law that offend, but I'll reserve judgement until I can read the actual text of HR 2640.


I agree 100% with your assessment! I never slam the NRA until the facts are in and don't think many really have a good grasp of what their role is as a gun rights group. They are tiny and do what they can.

Few gun owners support the NRA but they are always quick to say "Duh! How cone the NRA don't protect our gun rights!" Well "joe sixpack" its because they don't have the Horsepower to do much of anything. Give them your support and they will have more clout than a large minority group, since there is over 80 million gun owners. With only 4 million members they don't scare Congress very much.

GOA or the Second Amendment Foundation! They have less than one million members each. Not much of a force for change. But hey join any group is better than sitting on your haunches and complaining. I support all of them including the Oregon Gun Owners.

IF YOU WANT RESULTS FOLKS YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO SIDE UP WITH ONE OF THE GUN GROUPS AND GET INVOLVED TO FORCE CHANGE THROUGH VOTES FOR POLITICIANS THAT SIDE WITH YOUR THINKING!
 
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