The gutless wonders at the NRA are waiting to break their silence on the Newtown shootings until the last weekday before a holiday weekend, hoping the public is too focused on other things to respond with the hate the NRA deserves. From an NRA statement released today:
The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.Charles Johnson has a prediction:
The NRA is planning to hold a major news conference in the Washington, DC area on Friday, December 21.
At the NRA presser, watch for a strong emphasis on the "mental illness" angle. They've had proxies pushing this to the media all week.— Charles Johnson (@Green_Footballs) December 18, 2012
Sounds plausible -- and it worked like a charm for the gun lobby after the Virginia Tech shootings, as John Flowers explains:
Back in 2007, after what is still the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, Washington needed to act. And so Congress passed The NCIS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007. The law requires all states to submit mental health records to national databases maintained by the FBI.As The New York Times reported last year after examining this process, judges with little expertise and inadequate access to petitioners' mental health records make these decisions -- with predictable results:
.... The NRA said, essentially, it wouldn't oppose any deal...PROVIDED the bill did two main things.
The first, was to more narrowly define who could be considered a "mental defective" (and, yes, that's the bill's language).... a person could be granted his right to bear arms again were he, for instance, "rehabilitated through any procedure available under law" -- which could mean just about anything.
The second was something called a "Relief from Disabilities" program. This is the mechanism by which the mentally ill can re-establish their mental health bona- fides to buy guns again.
The Times found multiple instances over the last decade in which people who won back their gun rights went on to be charged with or convicted of violent or gun-related crimes, including spousal battery, negligent discharge of a firearm or assault with a firearm.Perhaps this is because not nearly enough information gets into the federal database:
There is no guarantee, however, that a formal record of adjudication or involuntary commitment will find its way into the NICS database. Often disqualifying mental health records go unreported by the states. In Colorado, for example, only about 1% of people who have disqualifying mental health histories have been reported to NICS.No contact with the system, no record. In fact, even a voluntary commitment doesn't register as a disqualifier under the law.
Another problem is that few Americans suffering from serious mental illness ever come into contact with the "system" or receive treatment for their condition(s).
The bad cop in all this is Gun Owners of America, which opposed the 2007 law, even as the NRA supported it while working to weaken it. Nice one-two punch, guys. And we can probably expect more of the same this time around.