Senior Democrats have reached agreement with the National Rifle Association on what could be the first federal gun-control legislation since 1994, a measure to significantly strengthen the national system that checks the backgrounds of gun buyers.More details can be found at the linked article. While I think it's ridiculous an interest group wields such power in Washington that Congressional leadership has to negotiate with them, this is overall a good step and NRA support should ensure its passage.
The sensitive talks began in April, days after a mentally ill gunman killed 32 students and teachers at Virginia Tech University. The shooter, Seung Hui Cho, had been judicially ordered to submit to a psychiatric evaluation, which should have disqualified him from buying handguns. But the state of Virginia never forwarded that information to the federal National Instant Check System (NICS), and the massacre exposed a loophole in the 13-year-old background-check program.
Under the agreement, participating states would be given monetary enticements for the first time to keep the federal background database up to date, as well as penalties for failing to comply.
To sign on to the deal, the powerful gun lobby won significant concessions from Democratic negotiators in weeks of painstaking talks. Individuals with minor infractions in their pasts could petition their states to have their names removed from the federal database, and about 83,000 military veterans, put into the system by the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2000 for alleged mental health reasons, would have a chance to clean their records. The federal government would be permanently barred from charging gun buyers or sellers a fee for their background checks. In addition, faulty records such as duplicative names or expunged convictions would have to be scrubbed from the database.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
From the Washington Post: