New Push for Expanding Gun Control

Another push to expand the background database for gun purchases. The three cases noted in this article are over multiple years and the question is rarely asked about whether it is likely that these killers would have gotten weapons elsewhere. For example, there are no studies that I know of that find that background checks generally reduce violent crime rates. We all want to keep guns away from those who would do harm, but just because a person had a problem at one time doesn't mean that will be so forever and there are obvious costs and benefits to these restrictions. In any case, there are a lot of privacy opponents to having a central database on mental illness records.

In Alabama, a man with a history of mental illness killed two police officers with a rifle he bought on Christmas Eve.

In suburban New York, a schizophrenic walked into a church during Mass and shot to death a priest and a parishioner.

In Texas, a woman taking anti-psychotic medication used a shotgun to kill herself.

Not one of their names was in a database that licensed gun dealers must check before making sales _ even though federal law prohibits the mentally ill from purchasing guns.

Most states have privacy laws barring such information from being shared with law enforcement. Legislation pending in Congress that has bipartisan support seeks to get more of the disqualifying records in the database.

In addition to mandating the sharing of mental health records, the legislation would require that states improve their computerized record-keeping for felony records and domestic violence restraining orders and convictions, which also are supposed to bar people from purchasing guns.

Similar measures, opposed by some advocates for the mentally ill and gun-rights groups, did not pass Congress in 2002 and 2004.

The FBI, which maintains the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, has not taken a position on the bill, but the bureau is blunt about what adding names to its database would do. . . .

Thanks to Andrew Breitbart for sending this.


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