Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Enhanced Background Check for Guns Gains Momentum, Ron Paul Dissents

What do Democrats, the NRA, and President Bush have in common? A desire to see a federal gun control act that enhances background checks come into law. The bill is designed to improve states reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check aimed to prevent gun purchases by certain people, including criminals and the mentally ill.

The bill was formed in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings where Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people before taking his own life. Cho was ordered to undergo mental health treatment and should have been barred from buying the weapons he used in the slayings. However Virginia never forwarded that information to the NICBC.

If the bill moves through congress and the president signs it will be the first gun control measure since the assault weapons ban was passed in 1994, which the president recently let expire.

The NRA is reportidly on-board with the measure because it does not add any extra preventions from owning a gun, only to enhance the current system of checks. Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's executive vice president, agreed – provided lawmakers do not try to attach a lot of other gun control amendments to it.

"If this bill is kept in its present form, I predict it will pass the House and Senate and be signed into law" by President George W. Bush, LaPierre said. "But if they turn it into a gun-control wish list, we will withdraw our support," LaPierre said, adding he believes such a sweeping measure would be rejected.

The only dissenting vote came from Ron Paul, Republican from Texas, who described the bills as "a flagrantly unconstitutional expansion of restriction on the exercise of the right to bear arms.''

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