Tags: Gun Control | Gun Rights | nra | cornyn | gun | law | mental

Mental Health Overhaul Runs Afoul of Gun Control Fears

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By    |   Friday, 27 Nov 2015 01:25 PM

A bipartisan bill on mental health reforms, aimed at stemming the growth of gun violence in the United States, is gaining ground in the Senate, but Sen. John Cornyn is pushing his own legislation that includes language that's been endorsed by the National Rifle Association.

According to the Texas senator, his bill would prevent people with serious mental illnesses from getting guns by boosting the federal background check system, reports Politico,  but critics complain that his legislation insteads loosens gun purchases.

“The net effect of this bill would be to weaken, not strengthen, our background check system," said Mark Prentice, spokesman for Americans for Responsible Solutions, the advocacy group headed by former Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona, who was nearly killed by a gunman in 2011.

Cornyn said he has discussed combining the two Senate bills with Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., who sponsors the bipartisan initiative, and an aide said he reportedly is open to the idea. Further, HELP committee Chairman Lamar Alexander has also recently discussed the idea of combining the bill.

However, Sen. Chris Murphy, a co-sponsor of the bipartisan bill, does not like the idea, even though he thinks there are many good ideas involved, spokesman Chris Harris told Politico.

"Ultimately, he believes the final product has the greatest chance of passage if it maintains its singular focus on mental health, rather than venturing into other complex issues," said Harris.

The Senate last tried to pass mental health legislation after the attacks on Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut., but several proposals were added and removed and finally the measure was defeated in 2013. Some smaller bills have since passed, but none comprehensive.

Cornyn's proposal would allow incentives for states that share mental health records throug the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in hopes of preventing anyone who has determined mentally ill by a court from buying a gun, which the NRA says will protect citizens' Second Amendment rights.

It also include other mental health provisions, but some Democrats, like Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken, say they won't sign off on it because of the gun issue.

"We have issues with some language in the bill, so I am not signing on as a co-sponsor,” Franken who also has sponsored a bill on mental health and criminal justice told Politico.

Meanwhile, Arizona Republican Rep. Martha McSally is pushing for a companion bill to Cornyn's, which has been approved by the House Energy and Commerce’s health subcommittee and is awaiting consideration by the full committee.

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A bipartisan bill on mental health reforms, aimed at stemming the growth of gun violence in the United States, is gaining ground in the Senate, but Sen. John Cornyn is pushing his own legislation that includes language that's been endorsed by the National Rifle...
nra, cornyn, gun, law, mental, health
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2015-25-27
Friday, 27 Nov 2015 01:25 PM
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