HR 2640 on the President’s desk

The Senate and the House have both finally passed HR 2640.  If you recall, it had been stalled in the Senate by Senator Coburn, who had raised legitimate questions about the funding and execution of the bill.  The link above takes you to the NRA-ILA alert, and I’ll highlight some of the pertinent points here as well.

  • Requires all federal agencies that impose mental health adjudications or commitments to provide a process for “relief from disabilities.”  Extreme anti-gun groups like the Violence Policy Center and Coalition to Stop Gun Violence have expressed “strong concerns” over this aspect of the bill—surely a sign that it represents progress for gun ownership rights.
  • Requires removal of expired, incorrect or otherwise irrelevant records. Today, totally innocent people (e.g., individuals with arrest records, who were never convicted of the crime charged) are sometimes subject to delayed or denied firearm purchases because of incomplete records in the system.
  • Prevents use of federal “adjudications” that consist only of medical diagnoses without findings that the people involved are dangerous or mentally incompetent. This would ensure that purely medical records are never used in NICS.

There were also some changes to the original bill as passed by the House, I’ve put a few of the key ones here as well.  Again, they’re all visible at the link above.

  • Requires incorrect or outdated records to be purged from the system within 30 days after the Attorney General learns of the need for correction.
  • Requires agencies to create “relief from disabilities” programs within 120 days, to prevent bureaucratic foot-dragging.
  • Provides that if a person applies for relief from disabilities and the agency fails to act on the application within a year—for any reason, including lack of funds—the applicant can seek immediate review of his application in federal court.
  • Elimination of all references to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regulations defining adjudications, commitments, or determinations related to Americans’ mental health.  Instead, the bill uses terms previously adopted by the Congress.

That last provision is one of my favorites.  The ATF had a track record of using it’s own definitions of what constituted “mentally defective” and trying to bar people from gun ownership in that manner.  HR 2640 makes it a matter of national law that the only definitions acceptable of “mentally defective” and “adjudicated” are the ones already passed by various acts of Congress.

The changes to the bill have eliminated a lot of the concerns that I was harboring.  I supported HR 2640 from Day 1 – I felt then that it was a net win for us, and I still feel that way.  With the changes that the NRA and the Senate have worked into the language of the bill, I believe that this is an excellent piece of legislation, one that will actually assist in preserving firearms rights, and restoring those rights to people from which they had been wrongly taken.

Over at Snowflakes In Hell, Sebastian points out that the VPC is not thrilled about this bill, and is more than willing to look at gift horse in the mouth.  The VPC is just proving how marginalized and meaningless they really are at this juncture.  If they were smart, they would be like the Brady Bunch (did I just say that?) and pretend that they had something to do with the passing of this bill and gain political capital from it.  Kind of like what Carolyn McCarthy is trying to do:

Here’s what Carolyn McCarthy said: “Together, we have crafted a bill that will prevent gun violence, but maintain the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens” to bear arms.”

As Dave Hardy aptly points out at the above link, since when did gun-grabbers start talking like they were on our side?  Oh yeah, when they realized that they were losing and need to do anything they could to gain political power.

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