A Sensible Senate Gun Deal - WSJ


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  vic-eldred  •  6 days ago  •  5 comments

By:   The Editorial Board (WSJ)

A Sensible Senate Gun Deal - WSJ
The bill focuses on denying guns to those who pose a serious risk, offering money to states for red-flag laws.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

The Senate voted 64-34 late Tuesday to debate a bipartisan gun violence bill, and its principal virtue is that it focuses on the source of too many mass shootings: young, troubled men.

The bill covers three main areas: money for states to implement so-called red-flag laws and beef up mental-health services; money for enhanced school safety; and additional scrutiny of gun buyers who are under the age of 21 or domestic abusers, as well as enhanced penalties for purchasing a gun as a straw buyer or trafficking in guns.

The Senate deal is a long way from the gun-control package that Speaker  Nancy Pelosi  rushed through the House two weeks ago. That bill is a nonstarter in the Senate, with some Democrats and nearly all Republicans opposed. GOP negotiators led by Texas Sen. John Cornyn also blocked several Democratic Senate demands, including a ban on the purchase of so-called assault weapons for anyone under age 21, licensing requirements, and mandatory waiting periods for all buyers.

One useful provision in the bill would correct a hole in background-check screening for those under 21. The current system doesn’t access juvenile records, though those records often contain mental-health or criminal histories that would bar an adult from obtaining a firearm. Mental-health problems often appear before age 18, and mass shooters with disturbing records have bought guns legally.

The compromise will push into the background-check system only juvenile records that are “disqualifying” for a gun purchase under current federal firearms statutes. There are no mandatory waiting periods, though the FBI would have up to 10 days to investigate possibly disqualifying juvenile records. Eighteen-year-olds with no troubling histories will have no difficulty passing the background check.

The deal would also give money to states to implement red-flag laws, which let courts remove firearms from individuals deemed a danger to themselves or others. The state laws must contain due-process protections—including the right to an in-person hearing, to know the evidence used to justify a red-flag order, and to have counsel present. States that don’t pass red-flag laws can use the money for other crisis-intervention programs, such as veterans, drug or mental-health courts. The legislation also devotes $240 million to mental-health support for children, $60 million to better train primary care providers in mental-health issues, and $150 million for suicide prevention.

The bill also changes the background system’s “boyfriend loophole.” Currently, only domestic abusers who are married to, living with, or have a child with a victim are barred from obtaining a firearm, and the left wants that definition expanded. The bill expands this to cover those in a “dating relationship,” defined as individuals who “have or have recently had a continuing serious relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.” The change won’t be retroactive, and the bill lets certain first-time offenders regain the ability to purchase after five years.

The one sour note is the rush to pass the bill. Negotiators had barely unveiled the 80 pages of text on Tuesday before Majority Leader Chuck Schumer held the vote to proceed. Democrats want to move on to another tax-and-spend reconciliation bill, but legislators deserve time to consider the biggest change in gun and safety laws in decades.

The Senate compromise makes sense politically for both parties. Democrats can claim progress on the issue after decades of failure, while Republicans can point to their bipartisan cooperation and then focus on the economy and other issues in the fall campaign. The gun lobby and those who want to ban guns aren’t happy, but the bill preserves gun rights while trying to keep guns away from the dangerous. That’s a step forward.


jrDiscussion - desc
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Vic Eldred    6 days ago

I agree with the editorial board. This is progress. A small step forward.

Senior Guide
1.1  Snuffy  replied to  Vic Eldred @1    6 days ago

Yeah,  I can agree but I think it's also a small step indeed.  I would liked to have seen more put into the background check system, put some teeth into the system for insuring that all states and reporting agencies get the data sent in in a timely manner.  The NICS system is only as good as the data it holds and when a reporting agency is lax on sending in data the system misses things.  As for the red flags, I do like them so long as due process is followed as part of it.  

Professor Expert
2  Tacos!    6 days ago

There’s undoubtedly more that could be done, but I’ll take a modest compromise step over doing nothing at all. This won’t solve all gun problems, but it could solve some.

Jeremy Retired in NC
PhD Guide
3  Jeremy Retired in NC    6 days ago
The bill also changes the background system’s “boyfriend loophole.” Currently, only domestic abusers who are married to, living with, or have a child with a victim are barred from obtaining a firearm

It's sad when the "law makers" don't know what laws are on the books and just arbitrarily add more BS to the pile.  The whole thing they are pushing for already exists under 18 U.S.C. § 922. 

(g) It shall be unlawful for any person- 

     (1) who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;

     (2) who is a fugitive from justice;

      (3) who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act ( 21 U.S.C. 802 ));

      (4) who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been committed to a mental institution;

      (5) who, being an alien-

            (A) is illegally or unlawfully in the United States; or

            (B) except as provided in subsection (y)(2), has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa (as that term is defined in section 101(a)(26) of the Immigration and Nationality Act ( 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(26) ));

      (6) who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;

      (7) who, having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced his citizenship;

      (8) who is subject to a court order that-

            (A) was issued after a hearing of which such person received actual notice, and at which such person had an opportunity to participate;

            (B) restrains such person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of such person or child of such intimate partner or person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child; and


                  (i) includes a finding that such person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of such intimate partner or child; or

                  (ii) by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against such intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury; or

      (9) who has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence,

to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.

If people would only learn to research and read.

Professor Expert
3.1  Tacos!  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @3    5 days ago

I agree that on its face, this section would seem to apply to anyone convicted of DV. However, the loophole exists in a different subsection. It’s in 18 USC 921(a)(33) where “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” is specifically defined.

misdemeanor crime of domestic violence

(33) (A) Except as provided in subparagraph (C), the term “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” means an offense that— (i) is a misdemeanor under Federal, State,, Tribal, or local law; and (ii) has, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon, committed by a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, parent, or guardian, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim. (B) (i) A person shall not be considered to have been convicted of such an offense for purposes of this chapter, unless— (I) the person was represented by counsel in the case, or knowingly and intelligently waived the right to counsel in the case; and (II) in the case of a prosecution for an offense described in this paragraph for which a person was entitled to a jury trial in the jurisdiction in which the case was tried, either (aa) the case was tried by a jury, or (bb) the person knowingly and intelligently waived the right to have the case tried by a jury, by guilty plea or otherwise. (ii) A person shall not be considered to have been convicted of such an offense for purposes of this chapter if the conviction has been expunged or set aside, or is an offense for which the person has been pardoned or has had civil rights restored (if the law of the applicable jurisdiction provides for the loss of civil rights under such an offense) unless the pardon, expungement, or restoration of civil rights expressly provides that the person may not ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms.

Note that none of the bolded section would apply to a boyfriend, i.e. someone a person has a more casual relationship with - meaning, as per this section, that they aren’t a former or current spouse, aren’t a guardian of the victim, aren’t a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, aren’t someone living with the victim, or something similar.


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