The NRA, er... I mean, the House passes gun ownership restrictions

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070613/ap_on_go_co/congress_gun_control

Bravo.

I’m looking for the other shoe here, why did the NRA go for this? Was this about managing perceptions? They’d give a little here to buy some “we’re actually reasonable human beings” points?

Whatever, it seems to be good stuff.

The only dissenting vote in the short House debate on the bill was voiced by GOP presidential aspirant Ron Paul…
Shine on, you crazy diamond.

Yes, I’m particularly excited about the new program that restores gun rights to veterans diagnosed with mental illness.

Enjoy your shiny new assault rifle, Pvt Pyle.

It’s fashionable to bash the NRA as wanting to arm the entire world, but in fact they regularly back legislation that punishes gun offenses and prohibits obtaining guns by the wrong folks.

What they generally oppose are databases tracking gun ownership, restrictions on ownership by law-abiding citizens, and gun-centric tort reform. It’s a pretty libertarian stance, even if the NRA-ILA is an arm of the Republican party in all but name.

H.

In short, what Houngan said: AFAIK, the NRA has always supported fixing the NICS’s shortcomings (like inadequate reporting by states); it’s pretty much every other gun-control measure they oppose.

Though I do wonder if $250M/yr is enough money to get all 50 states up to snuff.

Pretty much what they said:

The NRA insisted that it was not a “gun control” bill because it does not disqualify anyone currently able to legally purchase a firearm.

They really don’t want to give out handguns at the exit doors of prisons. People only think that because they confuse them with the Gun Owners of America, who do favor giving fully-automatic assault carbines as an over-the-counter gratis with any psychiatric prescription.

Yow, hello nutjobs. I wasn’t aware of that group, thanks for pointing them out. I also see they are associated with the Front Sight training facility, which has turned into a huge real estate scheme/TaeKwonDough laughingstock.

H.

I honestly feel sorry for the GOA. They are the absurdum that people like to reductio-ad the NRA to, and just get no exposure at all. The NRA gets mockery without even trying, but these guys walk the walk, dammit.

Topically, and they have something to say about the terrible compromise the NRA traitors support. I’m especially moved by the heartfelt disgust that veterans who come back from war psychologically fucked up may have difficulty buying firearms.

So the moral here, gentle readers, is the next time you’re moved to mock the NRA, give the GOA some love. They try!

Because the mentally ill shouldn’t be allowed to defend themselves.

Can the mentally ill person adequately identify what is and what isn’t a threat?

Depending on the specific type of mental illness under discussion, yes. A housewife with clinical depression is not a budding young sociopath, is not a schizotypal 20-something post-grad, is not a lawyer with body dysmorphic disorder, is not a bulemic cheerleader, is not an discharged veteran with post traumatic stress disorder.

I’m all for a few regulations on gun ownership, but lumping all mental illness into a single category is just stupid. That said, it’s worth noting that at least part of the GOA’s objection is valid: this basically bolsters the Gun Control Act of 1968, and while I disagree with their argument that it should be repealed entirely there are some screwed-up facets of the law, including but not limited to: that blanket categorization of mental illness mentioned above, the unconstitutional “sporting purposes” standard, blanket prohibitions applying to controlled substance users (this one’s not been consistently enforced yet, which of course this amendment is supposed to help fix in addition to the mental illness fix), and so on.

Ron Paul owns you all.

I loled. Oh, you’re serious.

Prove otherwise. I’m conflicted as I am both anti-NRA and a member, so by all means show some examples where they have encouraged felons or other folks disqualified by current laws to obtain handguns, or supported legislation that prevents qualified folks from doing the same. Or are you just being fashionable?

H.

True. Good thing that’s not what the law does:

I predict fashion.

What really ticks me off is that the NRA, for all its icky good-old-boy chest beating, is extremely consistent in their message and efforts. On the other hand, the ACLU, which is about as pure a concept as you can get (who doesn’t like civil rights?) is completely hypocritical in upholding every right to the maximum EXCEPT for the second amendment.

H.

Unfortunately that’s debatable. Involuntary commital is straightforward and unambiguous. “Ajudicated as a mental defective” is not. The conditions required for a judge to rule someone as a mental defective aren’t defined either in Chapter 44 of Title 18 or, as far as I can tell, anywhere else in the USC. A quick search on the term offers the following definitions by various courts:

“A person who has never possessed a normal degree of intellectual capacity” -8th Circuit Court of Appeals, distinguishing between “mentally defective” and “insane”.

“The fact of the defendant’s conviction which in itself was evidence of homosexual tendencies of an extremely offensive and exhibitionistic nature.” (in other words, homosexuals are “mental defectives”) -2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, upholding a deportation order under the 1917 Immigration act. The ruling itself is dated 1956.

Now this is what BATFE WANTS judges to decide it means:

“a) A determination by a court,board, commission, or other lawful authority that a person, as a result of marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease: (1) Is a danger to himself or to others; or (2) Lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his own affairs.”

That last bit is actually fairly clear. Unfortunately, it’s also not actually part of the law in question. What BATFE thinks it means and what a given judge thinks it means do not need to have anything to do with each other. Some judges have decided to follow the BATFE interpretation (for example in US v Vertz, 2nd District court again), some haven’t (US v BH, that first link.)

The Supreme Court (showing its usual atavistic reaction to second amendment cases) has specifically declined to give its own interpretation of the term “mental defective” at least once.

So as I said, exactly how clear the law is on the subject of “mental defectives” is definately open to question given the variety of uses to which that term has been put.

The ACLU has far bigger problems than that. Nevertheless, consistency is not a virtue in and of itself, so I’d be wary of trumpeting that as some sort of gold standard for lobbies.