NRA A+ Rated Republican Announces New Gun Control Measure

By Dave Dolbee published on in General, News

It is not often The Shooter’s Log finds new gun control legislation being offered by the Republicans. Even more rare is a Senator with an NRA A+ rating proposing new gun control measures. However, before you get your dander standing on end, look at the details and make an informed decision. Then, leave your comments below to give your “informed” two cents.

Sen. John Cornyn

Sen. Cornyn (R-TX) has received an A+ rating for the NRA. His current proposed legislation also has the backing of the NRA.

While millions of gun owners are blamed and slandered by politicians and the media every time there is a high profile shooting, there has been a strong link in each case to mental health that is for the most part, if not completely, ignored. This fact has not evaded the radar screens of gun owners, politicians or the media. The difference has been that the mainstream media and many politicians pushing gun control have chosen to ignore it.

Even pro Second Amendment lawmakers have not taken action on mental health until recently. As a knee-jerk reaction, I would say that was a good thing. Legislation is good when it is well thought out and well reasoned, not when it is slapped together in response to a news headline the day before. That is what makes Sen. John Cornyn’s (No. 2 Republican in the Senate) proposal worthy of a look.

Misleading Measure or Misleading Media?

Cornyn’s proposed the Mental Health and Safe Communities Act, which address the heart of the problem behind high profile mass shootings—mental health. The bill seeks to reward states for sending more information regarding their residents with serious mental health issues to the federal background check system. Beyond simply data collection—because we all know passing a law will not prevent another tragedy—the new proposed bill would also bolster programs designed to treat mentally ill people and handling confrontations with the mentally ill.

“This legislation will strengthen programs that promote preventative screening and crisis response training so that we can better understand and treat the factors which may endanger public safety,” Sen. Cornyn continued. “By giving our communities the resources necessary to recognize and prevent acts of violence, we not only protect American families, but help those affected by mental illness.”

Mental health is a touchy subject. While it sounds common sense on the surface, and is often billed that way by gun control advocates and politicians, the definition is often too broad. Many veterans return from overseas tours carrying a weapon one day with the government’s blessing, then deemed unfit to own a firearm the next when they are stateside. Why? Because they sought needed help for depression or stress and in the process had their rights stripped from them.

ATF Form 4473

Sen. Cornyn’s new bill would not change requirements already in place. It would provide an incentive for states to share mental health information for background checks.

Two years ago, the NRA and Republicans soundly defeated a Senate measure that would have expanded background check requirements; Cornyn was a big factor in ensuring that defeat. Cornyn’s bill will now compete with a new Democrat sponsored bill that was introduced about a week ago. The Democrat-led effort seeks to go much further than Sen. Cornyn’s. Nevertheless, Sen. Cornyn is breaking new ground that has some pro Second Amendment forces wary. He’s marching through seldom-charted territory by a Republican by broaching anything that could be considered gun control.

If the bill passes, some firearm purchases will be stopped. Many Second Amendment proponents do not believe there should be any sort of background check as our rights are granted by the Second Amendment. This has gun owners debating whether this the common sense legislation that is needed, or whether Sen. Cornyn betrayed his NRA A+ rating? Cornyn has a rich history of opposing measures that sought to restrict firearm ownership, but supported others that limited firearm ownership of the mentally ill. This new bill follows that line.

“Gaps in existing law or inadequate resources prevent our communities from taking proactive steps to prevent them from becoming violent,” said Cornyn, R-Texas, in a written statement.

The NRA is backing Cornyn’s proposed bill. This is not much of a surprise. NRA leaders have been on the record for some time stating the high profile shootings are not a gun issues but instead a mental health issues. Will Sen. Cornyn’s bill advance the effort to prevent the next tragedy?

1 Gun Store Etiquette

Jennifer Baker, spokeswoman for NRA legislative affairs, said the bill took “meaningful steps toward fixing the system and making our communities safer.”

Mental Health and Safe Communities Act of 2015

The Mental Health and Safe Communities Act of 2015 is designed to improve outcomes for people with mental health disorders that come in contact with the criminal justice system through a number of actions, including:

  • The authorization of pretrial screening, assessment, and supervision programs to improve outcomes for people with mental illnesses by ensuring they are accurately diagnosed and receive appropriate need-based treatment that focuses on increasing public safety.
  • An increase in the use of treatment-based alternatives to incarceration for people with mental illnesses.
  • The establishment of a pilot program to determine the effectiveness of diverting eligible offenders from federal prosecution, federal probation, or a federal corrections facility, and placing those eligible people in drug or mental health courts.
  • Improvements to reentry programming for people with mental illnesses who are released into the community by authorizing the deployment of Forensic Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) Initiatives, which are designed to ensure that people with mental illnesses receive treatment-based interventions.
  • The expansion of specialized law enforcement crisis intervention teams, which respond to and de-escalate mental health crises for federal law enforcement personnel.

The Mental Health and Safe Communities Act of 2015 also includes reauthorization of the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA), an essential funding mechanism that supports the use of mental health courts and crisis intervention teams in local law enforcement agencies. The bill would extend MIOTCRA for an additional four years, effectively filling critical gaps in the system, including providing additional resources for veterans’ treatment courts to help those suffering from behavioral or post-traumatic stress disorders. The bill also offers broader training during police academies and orientation as well as increased focus on prison- and jail-based transitional services and reentry programs that can help reduce the likelihood of recidivism.

Police Making an Arrest

The Mental Health and Safe Communities Act of 2015 seeks to increase the odds of preventing a mentally ill person from passing a background check through increased mental health reporting.

Would Anything Change?

Arkadi Gerney, a gun policy expert for the liberal Center for American Progress, said prodding states to submit additional data to the background check system is “a good and smart notion,” but it would be better to push broader legislation “that covers all the gaps.”

If the antis agree, but think it does not go far enough, does that mean we should decide or oppose it? The current background check system already bars firearm purchases to people legally determined to be “mentally defective” and those who have been committed to mental institutions. Sen. Cornyn’s new bill would not change this. It would, however, provide more information on individuals who have already met the legal standard to have their gun rights suspended. Currently, states do not have any responsibility to share mental health information. This creates a gap in safeguarding the public versus practices.

“While potentially dangerous mentally-ill individuals are often known to law enforcement and local officials, gaps in existing law or inadequate resources prevent our communities from taking proactive steps to prevent them from becoming violent,” said Sen. Cornyn.

While Cornyn’s bill would not change the law or force state’s to comply, it purportedly would (these details are unconfirmed at this time) increase grants under the government’s main law enforcement program by up to 5 percent for states that send the federal system at least 90 percent of their records on people with serious mental problems. States providing less data could see grants from a broad range of justice programs penalized by the same amounts at the attorneys’ general’s discretion.

Well, that is about the long and short of what we know so far. How would you vote? Share your thoughts and concerns in the comment section.

SLRule

Growing up in Pennsylvania’s game-rich Allegany region, Dave Dolbee was introduced to whitetail hunting at a young age. At age 19 he bought his first bow while serving in the U.S. Navy, and began bowhunting after returning from Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Dave was a sponsored Pro Staff Shooter for several top archery companies during the 1990s and an Olympic hopeful holding up to 16 archery records at one point. During Dave’s writing career, he has written for several smaller publications as well as many major content providers such as Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Outdoor Life, Petersen’s Hunting, Rifle Shooter, Petersen’s Bowhunting, Bowhunter, Game & Fish magazines, Handguns, F.O.P Fraternal Order of Police, Archery Business, SHOT Business, OutdoorRoadmap.com, TheGearExpert.com and others. Dave is currently a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!

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Comments (618)

  • Erick

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    This is the typical, wrong-headed approach to “solving” problems that we’ve heard for over 100 years: more government.

    From the very beginning (early 1900’s, and probably before that), when lawmakers proposed banning guns, background checks, registration, etc. etc. it never curbed violence or prevented criminals from causing evil. It didn’t work back then, it doesn’t work today.

    Why in the hell would more of the SAME create a different effect?

    It’s always the same for EVERY problem, “We need more government!” Yet, problems worsen, or at best, see no improvement. Agencies, bureaucrats, politicians, etc. cry “We need more money! We need more laws! We need more regulations! We need more agencies! We need more! MORE!” And most often, they get what they demand…but the same problems continue at the same rate or even get worse.

    I’m tired of this spinning merry-go-round we call history…and I’m beginning to believe these “common-sense” gun laws are really not intended to deter criminals or terrorists, but the law-abiders that look at government with a wary eye instead.

    Perhaps with a carefully crafted definition – backed by bureaucrats with PhD’s and paid by our own tax dollars – we will all be diagnosed with a “mental illness” and lose the few rights we have left.

    Those with good intentions can unwittingly support very bad legislation. (i.e. Why didn’t the massive NSA/FBI surveillance program [Patriot Act] prevent the recent California Muslim terrorist attack, along with the others?) As the saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for, you just may get it.”

    Reply

  • Jim

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    I no longer trust Cornyn and if NRA supports this “do nothing” piece of legislation, I have paid my last NRA dues. To me, this is an attempt to be PC. With all the words in this legislation, there still is no real obligation for states to submit mental health information. Look at what already falls through the cracks. Besides, once on a list how do you get off if you were wrongly placed there or are “cured”? This is just a pure piece of crap legislation, besides it’s the perfect scenario for the anti-gunners to add the amendments the really want to destroy the 2nd Amendment. I’ve said this already, but I’m going to say it again just to be sure you know, I DO NOT trust John Cornyn and especially the piece of legislation.

    Reply

  • Denny

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    I don’t trust anyone with any kind of gun control measure whether it is Democrat or Republican it all adds up to losing our rights!

    Reply

  • Bill from the North

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    We do need to address the mental health issue but much like the terrorist watch list it needs to be refined in such a way that prevents overreach by the anti gun establishment and focuses only on those who pose a dangerous threat to self and others.

    Reply

  • Denny B

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    How right you are. There will be nothing left but a memory of this once great nation that I and my friends and fore fathers fought to keep free. Freedom is not free. It comes at a very high price. Please think about that when you go to vote. And vote for freedom!

    Reply

  • Jack Russell

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    What a horror show this would authorize…It’s an open door for corrupt Government and trumped up charges against individuals behind their backs at the Government’s …Where are the indivualsl privacy rights…gone with this excuice. Just go back and look at the rules Nazi Germany came up with, not to mention Russia, what short memories we have, I guess a totalaterian government will eventally come here if this type of legislation is conrinually considered just think of buracricy this would create, in an effort to subjate our 2nd Ammendment Consr
    titonal rights…If this type of legislation conrinues there will be nothing left of the Constitution and this once great country will nothing but a memory and the progressive liberalsc would have won and most of us will be living in FEMA camp on the Government’s dole…Orwell was way ahead of his time…It’s almost time to LOCK&LOAD!!!

    Germany, Russia

    Reply

  • fair

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    The following is just a heartbeat away from happening to anyone: Patrick Coyle, a Deserted Spouse has been “imprisoned in mental health” for simply asking the State to help where his Wife is in desertion and for the children to be returned to the Family Home with him and the two children she left behind.

    This case opens up a horrifying parallel with what happened when Stalin imprisoned millions of Russians in the Gulags in Siberia claiming they must be mentally ill if they did not agree with Communism and the State taking control of everyone’s lives and Family.

    Patrick Coyle DOB 5th October 1973 is the Deserted Spouse and Husband in the Coyle Family and has been in mental health unit since 31 July 2015 against his wishes and without any evidence of a mental illness. His diabetes is poorly managed. He was wrestled to the ground by 9 staff, his mobile was robbed and returned broken. His second mobile has been robbed. He has been denied phone calls and visits. He has refused consent to being admitted there, to the assessment, to the diagnosis and to the prescribed medication and has requested release many times.

    He believes that he has been kidnapped to traffic his 4 offspring, 7, 8, 13 & 14 into the hands of the Social Services and his Wife who deserted him and took two of the children with her. You know the rest of the story.

    Reply

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