Sunday, June 10, 2007

Democrats, NRA reach deal on gun bill

From the Washington Post:

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.

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.
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.


Nat-Wu said...

I think it's ridiculous that there has to be any compromise at all to get this bill passed. These things should have been done long ago and it's only the insanity of the NRA that's been holding Congress back. The NRA is still not any kind of "good guy".

GeorgeH said...

"While I think it's ridiculous an interest group wields such power in Washington that Congressional leadership has to negotiate with them ..."

Yes, the NEA and other labor groups, the NAACP, AARP and Greenpeace all have way too much influence.

They're only a special interest group if you disagree with them.
If you agree with them, they are a group of concerned citizens.

adam said...

I tend to agree with you on that point, but I've never heard of Congressional leaders ever having direct negotiations with an interest group before. And I think the media would have a field day if it was any other group than the NRA.

Nat-Wu said...

If the NAACP had that much power over actual legislation, affirmative action would be the law of the land.