Support VSSA Advertisers

Thursday, August 6, 2015

GOP Senator Counters Schumer Mental Health Proposal With NRA Backed Effort

Just days after N.Y. Senator Chuck Schumer and his actress cousin unveiled gun control legislation dressed up as a carrot and stick approach to get states to report more mental health information to the National Instant Check System (NICS), Texas Senator John Cornyn has come out with a counter proposal that has the dual benefit of insuring those who should be included in the NICS database are reported while at the same time protecting millions of Social Security recipients who also have a  “representative payee”, as well as veterans who aren't managing their own affairs.  From the report on
The Mental Health and Safe Communities Act aims to fix the existing background check system without expanding it, said U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) in his announcement of the measure. The bill also aims to bolster treatment options for mentally-ill offenders, and response and prevention plans for local officials.

“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 Cornyn, who voted down legislation in 2013 to expand background checks to include online and certain private sales.

The NRA has endorsed the measure not because of recent string of high profile mass shootings but because of a push by the Obama administration that would ban Social Security beneficiaries from owning guns if they’re determined to lack the mental capacity to manage their own affairs.

“We thank Senator Cornyn for his leadership in standing up to the Obama administration and introducing legislation that will take meaningful steps toward fixing America’s broken mental health system,” said Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s lobbying arm.
The NRA-ILA alert notes the specific provisions of the legislation:
  • The bill will stop the Obama administration’s Social Security Administration and other agencies from defining as “prohibited persons” those who meet arbitrary criteria such as having a representative payee assigned to their account.
  • The bill will stop the Obama administration’s Veterans Administration (VA) from throwing veterans into NICS simply for having a fiduciary assigned to their account.
  • Veterans who have been swept into NICS under previous VA rules will be given the opportunity to have their case reviewed in a full hearing. Requires a specific finding that the veteran is a danger to self or others. Veterans who are not found to be a danger will have their rights restored and will be removed from NICS.
  • Requires that real adjudications take place before an individual can be determined a prohibited person under federal law. Full notice, hearing, the right to participate, and the right to counsel are required.
  • Provides funding for the states to forward records of mental health adjudications which meet the new due process requirements outlined in the bill.
  • Recognizes state orders restoring the firearms rights of individuals under state law.
  • Requires AG to remove individuals from NICS in cases where rights have been restored or procedures failed to provide adequate due process protections, as with the VA program.

No comments: