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Gun-debate sides make public appeals



Published: Mon, March 25, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Associated Press

WASHINGTON

Two of the loudest voices in the gun debate say it’s up to voters now to make their position known to Congress.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and National Rifle Associate Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre say their opposing views on guns have the support of the overwhelming number of Americans. They are looking at the next two weeks as critical to the debate, when lawmakers head home to hear from constituents ahead of next month’s anticipated Senate vote on gun control.

Bloomberg, a former Republican-turned-independent, has just sunk $12 million for Mayors Against Illegal Guns to run television ads and phone banks in 13 states urging voters to tell their senators to pass legislation requiring universal background checks for gun buyers.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday that legislation would likely be debated in his chamber next month that will include expanded federal background checks, tougher laws and stiffer sentences for gun trafficking and increased school safety grants. A ban on assault-style weapons was dropped from the bill, fearing it would sink the broader bill. But Reid has said he’d let the ban be voted on separately as an amendment. President Barack Obama called for a vote on the assault-weapons ban in his weekly address Saturday.

Recalling the horrific shooting three months ago at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, Bloomberg said it would be a great tragedy if Congress, through inaction, lost the moment to make the country safer from gun violence. Bloomberg said that 90 percent of Americans and 80 percent of NRA members support universal background checks for gun purchases.

The NRA’s LaPierre counters that universal background checks are “a dishonest premise.” For example, mental-health records are exempt from databases and criminals won’t submit to the checks.


Comments

1dmacker(341 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

"The NRA’s LaPierre counters that universal background checks are “a dishonest premise.” For example, mental-health records are exempt from databases and criminals won’t submit to the checks".
Isn't this the biggest problem with the current background check process?
How will passing a new law keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill if one is exempt and the other will not comply?
We don't need any more "feel good" laws passed just to make politicians look like they are doing something.

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2KSUgrad(144 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

@dmacker,

LaPierre says that "criminals won't submit to background checks".

Actual data contradicts this.

Several weeks ago this was posted in the Vindicator: "NRA’s Lapierre says that “criminals will not subject themselves to background.” Not so. Actually criminals are amazingly stupid. Case in point, in Colorado last year 16 applications for a firearm came from persons who had been convicted of homicide. 578 applications were from persons who had been convicted of assault. Even more astounding was that 20 applications were made by persons who were fugitives on assault charges, 11 were fugitives on burglary charges. All together, local law enforcement made 236 arrests for persons applying for a firearm while an active warrant was on the applicant."

Data published by the Pennsylvania State police tells a similar story. In 2011 PSP reports that 110 persons were arrested in the gunstore while they were trying to purchase a gun. The PSP was alerted because they were being background checked. Since the PSP program began over 1100 fugitives were arrested in the process of being background checked.

Similar data from the Florida Firearms Purchase program of criminals submitting to background checks.

So who is being "dishonest" about background checks?

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3KSUgrad(144 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

@dmacker,
LaPierre says that: “mental-health records are exempt from databases”.

Actual data contradicts this statement.

Admittedly the Federal government can’t mandate that states submit records to the background check database, although, like Virginia, the states may require themselves to do so.

Seung Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech senior behind the worst school shooting in the nation’s history, was able to purchase a pair of semi-automatic pistols that he used to kill 32 people on campus in April 2007 because he passed a federal background check. That’s because the state of Virginia didn’t submit a crucial piece of information: that a court had earlier ordered Cho to seek treatment for mental illness.

Virginia quickly passed a law requiring that type of data to be sent.

At the time of the Virginia Tech shooting, only four states had required agencies to send mental health records to the database. After the shooting, 18 states required it. And four states that hadn’t permitted the information to be sent began to allow it.

Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, recently acknowledged that problem and asked his state lawmakers to allow Louisiana to report severely mentally ill residents to the database.

The number of mental health records submitted by states from August 2010 to October 2011 rose 35 percent. Five states – Texas, Washington, California, Missouri and Virginia – increased their submissions by more than 20,000 records, the study said.

That led to an increase in the number of denials. In 2004, only 365 gun sales were declined for mental health reasons. In 2011 that number increased to 2,124, according to the FBI.

So who is being "dishonest" about background checks?

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4HappyBob(285 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

"As of October 2011, Ohio had submitted 26,876 mental health records to NICS. According to a state official, Ohio made no effort to submit mental health records for many years due to a lack of political will. In 2004, when the state legislature was considering a concealed carry gun law, officials expressed new concern about the background check system. Included in the final concealed carry gun legislation was a requirement that mental health providers and probate courts send mental health records to the state Bureau of Criminal Identification & Information in the state attorney general’s office.(Ohio Revised Code 5122.311) Since then, with regular receipt of records from mental health providers and probate courts, the attorney general has been able to submit significantly more records to NICS, although Ohio state law still does not explicitly require as much. According to the state official interviewed in 2011, Ohio was working on automating its record submission system to further improve its record collection and submission." - per research report FDIS-6541(a) DOJ (2012)

I guess that Wayne doesn't know about Ohio.

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