Democrats threaten to scuttle mental health bill over gun rights

There’s still a clear divide between conservatives and liberals on gun control issues and how the nation should respond to mass shootings which continue to shock the country. But out of all the debates and disputes there was at least one point which emerged where it seemed that everyone could agree. Many of the shootings which take place involve mentally ill individuals and we don’t do enough to help people suffering from such problems. While you might not be able to tell in the midst of all the election news, Congress is still conducting the nation’s business and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is working on a bill designed to provide some relief on that front.

This should be a fairly easy sell, right? Both sides recognize that there’s a need to do more so we might finally witness one of those rare moments of bipartisan cooperation. Unfortunately that still might not happen because Democrats are fighting tooth and claw to defeat provisions which would require the government to actually prove that someone is crazy before suspending their Second Amendment rights. (The Hill)

The fight over gun control is threatening to scuttle a bipartisan mental health reform effort in the Senate as lawmakers rush to get the issue to the floor.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is in talks with leaders of the Senate health committee to combine his mental health bill with one that passed the committee last month.

But Democrats object to certain sections of Cornyn’s bill that they say would make it easier for mentally ill people to acquire guns, and the controversial provisions could shatter Democratic support for the bill.

The horrific provisions under discussion are one which would require a court hearing where a person suspected of being a danger to themselves or others could be adjudicated as being too dangerously incompetent or mentally unstable to be trusted with a weapon. They would also restore the gun rights of individuals who had reached the end of such a court order unless it could be demonstrated that they were still a danger to society. These requirements led Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut to say, “Obviously I can’t support a bill on the floor that has those provisions in it.

Well… obviously. I mean, who needs a provision like that? Of course, there are tens of thousands of people in New York who might argue the point after Andrew Cuomo placed countless residents on the No Guns For You list without a single medical professional weighing in on their competence under the provisions of the NY SAFE Act.

Look, I’m not arguing that certifiably insane people should have guns. Nobody in the pro-gun rights camp is that crazy, no matter how Democrats want to portray us. But at the same time, we can’t allow a national policy such as the one in New York where you can have your Constitutional rights suspended based on nothing more than a call from a therapist saying you were once prescribed medicine for depression twenty years ago. (Yes, that has happened in New York.) If Democrats torpedo this bill based on nothing more than those common sense provisions to protect citizens from liberal government overreach then they’re not serious about helping the mentally ill at all. Of course, some of us suspected as much already, but it would be nice to be proven wrong for a change.


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