The Senate’s second most powerful Republican is pitching his own plan to prevent the mentally ill from obtaining firearms — and he’s gotten the National Rifle Association to endorse the measure.
The new legislation from Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn tries to patch some holes in the current national background checks system by encouraging states, through the promise of federal funding, to send more information on mental-health records to the national database.
Cornyn’s bill would also create a path for people who may be mentally ill to be ordered into treatment by a judge without being involuntarily committed. That provision, the Texas senator said, would boost access to treatment options to strike at some of the root causes of gun-fueled violence, such as the recent shootings at a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana, by a man who authorities say had a history of mental illness.
Still, under Cornyn’s legislation, the person getting treatment wouldn’t be officially determined to be mentally ill and could, in theory, still purchase firearms. Under current law, a person would have to be adjudicated as mentally ill in order to be barred from purchasing a gun. Read more
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