June 15, 2007
Gun Bill controls Gunmen not Guns
Responding to the murder of 32 Virginia Tech students and faculty by madman Seung-Hui Cho in April, the House all but unanimously passed a bill (HR 2640) Wednesday aimed at preventing the similarly deranged from purchasing firearms. Under its umbrella, states would be required to automate and share their records with the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) database.
This would effectively prevent legal gun purchases by those prohibited from owning firearms -- including criminals, illegal immigrants and those adjudicated as mentally ill, as had been Cho.
Some on the left are lauding and some on the right are reprehending this as "Gun Control" legislation pushed by the Democrat-controlled Congress.
Those on both sides are mistaken on both counts.
True, the bill's sponsor is Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), who was elected on a strong pro-gun-control platform after enduring her husband killed and son critically injured by another infamous gunman on the Long Island Railroad in 1993. However, as it doesn't restrict persons currently eligible to legally purchase firearms, but rather strengthens enforcement of existing law, even the National Rifle Association has blessed its passage.
And, as it transcends the interminable "tastes great / less filling" debate over the 2nd Amendment intentions of the framers (militia versus individual), the bill is, in truth, party neutral.
In fact, the lone dissenting vote was heard from Texas Representative and 2008 Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul. And while there's a joke somewhere in his voting against keeping guns out of the hands of mental patients, I'll leave Jon Stewart to find it.
As implausible as it sounds, even stalwart anti-gun crusader Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) approves of this NRA-backed bill. Amazingly, knowing that the NRA's Wayne LaPierre has threatened to pull his organization's support otherwise, Schumer has promised not to amend the bill in any way as he facilitates its passage by the Senate.
As to be expected, a few hard-line gun rights and mental health advocacy groups are whining. But both the slippery slope and privacy arguments wear thin quickly when stretched to the very limits of reason.
Besides, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt dismissed the privacy issues Wednesday when he told reporters that the law permits information sharing among mental health professionals,
"when a person's safety or a community's safety is in fact potentially threatened."
Likewise, this is not crazy Rosie O'Donnell arguing, as she once did, that:
"there are 200 million guns in America and 20,000 gun laws. So the guns are winning."
In fact, judging by her frequent emotional outbursts, this measure would likely help keep weapons out of her looney conspiracy-theory-guided hands. Show me where to sign. .
Nor is this an opening salvo in a government conspiracy to confiscate the very arms which the Constitution guarantees the right of my fellow law-abiding citizens to bear.
Indeed, we on the right have appropriately castigated the left's predilection to confront outlaws with new laws in lieu of enforcing existent laws.
Consequently, as this statute rather conforms to our basic tenets by fortifying the arm of law enforcement, it behooves us now to lend our support and, of course -- stick to our guns.