As Reported by The (WASHINGTON) AP:
Backed by the National Rifle Association, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican leader introduced legislation Wednesday that would reward states for sending more information about residents with serious mental problems to the federal background check system for firearms purchasers.
The bill by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, would also bolster programs for treating mentally ill people and handling confrontations with them.
The killings in a Louisiana movie theater last month by a gunman with mental problems put a fresh spotlight on holes in the background check system.
Cornyn’s legislation is far more modest than a Senate measure expanding background check requirements that Republicans and the NRA helped defeat two years ago. It’s also narrower than a bill a top Senate Democrat announced this week.
Still, it represents a rare effort by a leading Republican to propose steps that could curb some firearms purchases. Cornyn has an A-plus rating for his gun-rights voting record from the NRA, which long has fought gun restrictions yet has backed some bills limiting the ability of mentally troubled people to buy firearms.
“Gaps in existing law or inadequate resources prevent our communities from taking proactive steps to prevent them from becoming violent,” said Cornyn, R-Texas, in a written statement.
Jennifer Baker, spokeswoman for NRA legislative affairs, said the bill took “meaningful steps toward fixing the system and making our communities safer.”
Arkadi Gerney, a gun policy expert for the liberal Center for American Progress, said prodding states to submit additional data to the background check system is “a good and smart notion,” but it would be better to push broader legislation “that covers all the gaps.”
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