Having Issues With McCarthy’s Sponsorship

I am rather nonplussed at Carolyn McCarthy’s sponsorship of H.R.2640. I would have sincerely hoped that any deal that could be worked out would have sidelined her, and relegated her to a co-sponsorship, rather than being sponsor.

I don’t really like personality politics. I’d much rather judge a bill according to its merits, rather than by the person sponsoring it, but there are important political considerations at work in wanting to keep McCarthy sidelined, and out of the process.

McCarthy is rabidly anti-gun. She doesn’t have a modicum of trust with gun owners. Any political deal with her is automatically suspect. Her pet issue is gun control. To date, she’s accomplished exactly nothing in regards to getting any major gun legislation passed. This is good for us. If she gets a reputation for getting things done, she’ll gain more political clout.

With McCarthy out there as the leader on this legislation, even if that leadership is entirely symbolic, the media and anti-gun groups will spin this as a big victory for gun control, even though it’s no such thing in the current form. This is a net loss for our cause, because the NRA will be seen as complicit in it, and folks won’t bother to check on the details.

I do think Dingell, Boucher, and the NRA have worked out a favorable deal with this bill, but I think they’ve made a big error in letting Congresswoman McCarthy take possession of it. It’s certainly making me reconsider my decision to not oppose the bill, based on the information I have now. Tomorrow I may contact the NRA, and see if I can get an explanation here.

2 thoughts on “Having Issues With McCarthy’s Sponsorship”

  1. http://www.nraila.org/Legislation/Read.aspx?ID=3097

    H.R. 2640, The “NICS Improvement Act,” Passes House By Voice Vote

    Wednesday, June 13, 2007

    On June 13, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed H.R. 2640 by a voice vote. H.R. 2640, the “NICS Improvement Act,” is consistent with NRA’s decades long support for measures to keep guns out of the hands of those who have been adjudicated by a court as mentally incompetent. Additionally, H.R. 2640 makes some much needed, and long overdue, improvements to the NICS.

    The basic premise of the bill is to provide an effective mechanism to help screen would-be gun buyers with adjudicated mental illness records. H.R. 2640would require federal agencies to provide records of prohibited individuals for use in the NICS, providing financial incentives to states to do so. It would not prohibit any additional people from owning guns. Those blocked from buying a gun due to newly provided and updated records in the NICS are already prohibited under current law.

    No piece of legislation will stop a madman bent on committing horrific crimes. However, those who have been found mentally incompetent by a court should to be included in the NICS. In addition, the NICS should be as instant, fair, and accurate as possible.

    Among the numerous improvements contained in H.R. 2640 are:

    Certain types of mental health orders will no longer prohibit a person from possessing or receiving firearms. Adjudications that have expired or been removed, or commitments from which a person has been completely released with no further supervision required, will no longer prohibit the legal purchase of a firearm.
    Excluding federal decisions about a person’s mental health that consist only of a medical diagnosis, without a specific finding that the person is dangerous or mentally incompetent. This provision is intended to address concerns about disability decisions by the Veterans Administration concerning our brave men and women in uniform.
    Requiring all participating federal or state agencies to establish “relief from disability” programs that would allow a person to get the mental health prohibition removed, either administratively or in court. This type of relief has not been available at the federal level for the past 15 years.
    Ensuring—as a permanent part of federal law—that no fee or tax is associated with a NICS check, an NRA priority for nearly a decade. While NRA has supported annual appropriations amendments with the same effect, those amendments must be renewed every year. This provision would not expire.
    Requiring an audit of past spending on NICS projects to find out if funds appropriated for NICS were misused for unrelated purposes.
    This bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. NRA will continue to work throughout the process and vigilantly monitor this legislation to ensure that any changes to the NICS benefit lawful gun purchasers, while ensuring that those presently adjudicated by the courts as mentally incompetent are included in the system.

    If anti-gun Members of Congress succeed in attaching any adverse amendments to this bill, we will withdraw support and strongly oppose it!

    For additional information, please click here.

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