Too often, the left and center-right posit that there is a magic solution to gun violence- that what is required to end the scourge of scumbags shooting innocent people is that gun owners must be willing to compromise and that federal supervision must be heightened.
This is precisely the point behind moderate Republican Sen. John Cornyn’s recent push.
On Wednesday, the senior senator from Texas, a lawmaker much softer on conservative issues than his counterpart, Ted Cruz, proposed legislation that would encourage a strengthening of a federal database for background checks.
The measure is backed by the National Rifle Association who has awarded Cornyn an A+ rating. However, the measure is sure to raise eyebrows with strict constructionists who understand the danger of bolstering federal power on background checks.
Currently, gun sales are prohibited to people who have been legally ruled “mentally defective” or been committed to mental health facilities. However, states are not forced to offer these records to the federal government- a fact Cornyn hopes to change.
Cornyn’s bill would incentivize such record sharing as those who share at least 90% of their mental health records would receive federal law enforcement grant increases of up to 5%.
What the bill also does, however, is offer the federal government a larger role in background checks at a time when the federal government is augmenting their definitions of “mental illness” to restrict more Americans from having access to firearms.
Already, thousands of American veterans are denied lawful ownership of firearms under flimsy pretenses of mental deficiency.
Last month, the Obama Administration announced their intention to rob millions of law-abiding citizens of the right to bear arms because they receive Social Security through a third party- a sign, the Obama Administration alleges, that they cannot be trusted with firearms.
The same people who have sought to augment what it means to be “mentally ill” are now being offered a chance to become more involved in assessing the mental faculties of millions of Americans.
Cornyn’s bill, however, has also received push-back from anti-Second Amendment groups as his bill does require court approval for a prohibition on gun purchases for those who have been deemed mentally unfit by the Veterans Administration.
Calls for “reasonable” laws on gun ownership run into two inherent problems:
First, the national conversation over what are “reasonable” gun laws is moot. We had this debate over 200 years ago and we decided that an individual right to keep and bear arms should be a right free from infringements. Those that do not like the Second Amendment are welcomed to try and repeal it.
Second, those calling for “reasonable” increases in gun laws are being disingenuous. Since gun control emerged on a policy level in the 1930’s, Americans have witnessed a ratchet effect of laws. Those who clamor for more laws, when they get them, soon begin clamoring for additional laws. Feeding the beast of liberalism only seems to make it hungrier. If gun owners had not been burned a thousand times already, perhaps many would be more-open to a discussion over these “reasonable” gun laws.
John Cornyn knows this and while his bill is not the most radically anti-Second Amendment proposal the Senate has ever seen, it is a step in the wrong direction as it welcomes more federal oversight and a more-corruptible relationship between the federal government and the states.