As expanded background checks appear to be headed for defeat today, mired in filibuster, congressional Republicans introduced an alternative bill that can only be described as a mockery.
The Act clarifies that mentally ill people are prevented from obtaining firearms but defines that term narrowly, so as to allow patients who had been treated for mental illness to pass a federal background check and purchase guns.
For instance, federal law prohibits people who are ordered by a court into involuntary treatment, found to pose a danger to themselves or others, or lack the mental capacity to enter into legal contracts from buying weapons — even though individuals can petition to have their rights restored in 22 states. The bipartisan NICS Reporting Improvement Act would allow these people to purchase weapons immediately after being released, unless it can be proven that they pose an “imminent” danger.
As the families of Newtown watch Manchin-Toomey go down in defeat today, Republicans have introduced a counter-proposal that would allow the purchase of firearms immediately after being released from a mental institution.
I’m not suggesting that people who are committed to mental institutions by order of the court are incapable of recovering, but this represents a very twisted sense of priority.
[H/T Sahil Kapur]