Congressman Steve Stockman says that he is organizing opposition to a bill to be introduced this year by U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Lindsay Graham that appears to mimic an executive action proposed last week by the Obama Administration that seemingly opens the door to declaring almost anyone too mentally incompetent to own a gun.
According to Cornyn the “Graham-Cornyn Mental Health and Criminal Justice Reform Act” expands the National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) system to include Americans who have sought treatment for mental health issues. The bill seems to be nearly identical to an Executive Order issued last Friday by Obama.
“Cornyn’s Bloomberg Bill is the Holy Grail of gun control,” said Stockman. “Cornyn’s Bloomberg Bill is an aggressive expansion of the anti-gun agenda. Unable to ban guns they are now banning law-abiding gun owners, and Cornyn is leading the charge.”
“John Cornyn has opened a new front in the Left’s War on Guns by now seeking to ban law-abiding gun owners. Cornyn’s Bloomberg Bill is the same gun control bill demanded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and appears to be nearly identical to Barack Obama’s latest Executive Order,” said Stockman. “With Republicans like Cornyn who needs Democrats?”
Cornyn’s examples of those to be stripped of their Second Amendment rights under his bill were people who sought treatment, but had no criminal record and had never been deemed a threat by doctors or a court.
Stockman is know for over-the-top rhetoric and is currently battling Cornyn (to be honest, he’s getting his butt handed to him) in a Republican Senate primary in Texas, so it is perhaps worthwhile to consider his claim with a grain of salt.
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But is there any substance to Stockman’s claim?
Simply put, we can’t know, because the “Graham-Cornyn Mental Health and Criminal Justice Reform Act” is the legislative equivalent of vaporware at this point, and does not presently in a publicly released form.
If it does emulate the sort of ideas mentioned in Obama’s asked for executive actions, they could form the legislative vehicle Obama needs to get around HIPAA privacy laws. As Obama’s executive actions are so broadly written, they (like the Graham-Cornyn vaporware) could mean just about anything, depending on the specific wording that comes out.
It theoretically could result in legislation that actually helps ensure that the dangerously mentally ill are entered into the NICS background check database (as I think most of us agree they should be), but is so broadly proposed at this point that it isn’t completely unfair to think that it amounts to stripping away rights due to “thought-crime,” or could be applied to individuals without a criminal record or arrest simply because they’ve been ordered to anger management or even marital counseling.
A very narrowly tailored law that prevents the dangerously mentally ill people of this world from being able to legally acquire firearms is something all but the dangerously mentally ill should support, but like so much of the legislation being rammed into law lately, it is likely to be ill-considered, shoddily-written, and over-broad.
Until the actual legislation is proposed where it can be reviewed, it’s better to view it with a great deal of skepticism.
[Photo of Rep. Stockman with Ted Nugent via Rep. Stockman's Flickr photostream]