funny how this was not mentioned during the election cycle.
Bush signs long-stalled gun-control legislation
BY CAROL EISENBERG | email@example.com
January 9, 2008
WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush signed the nation's first new gun-control legislation in 14 years yesterday to help keep guns out of the hands of the dangerously mentally ill, and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy immediately announced she would take her crusade to the next step.
This time, she and others want to close the so-called "gun show loophole" that allows some dealers to sell firearms without background checks.
The Mineola Democrat, elected on a platform of gun control after her husband was slain in 1993 by a gunman on the Long Island Rail Road, said she hopes her next effort doesn't take as long.
It was more than five years ago that she and Democratic New York Sen. Charles Schumer introduced bills to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill people after the double slaying of a priest and a parishioner inside a Lynbrook church.
After years of being stalled in the Senate, the bill gained momentum in the spring after Virginia Tech student Seung-Hui Cho mowed down 32 people with two recently purchased guns - even though a judge's finding that he was "a danger to himself" should have disqualified him from buying weapons. Cho killed himself after the rampage. In the Long Island case, the gunman also was able to purchase firearms despite his diagnosis as a paranoid schizophrenic.
The law will earmark up to $250 million a year to states and state courts to automate records on mentally ill people and forward the information to the FBI for inclusion in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. That information will be used to disallow from buying a gun anyone who is seriously mentally ill, a criminal or who has a restraining order against them for domestic violence.
Schumer, who championed the bill's passage in the Senate, said that when he and McCarthy met with parishioners at Our Lady of Peace Church after that shooting, "no one imagined it would take five years."
"Had it become law earlier," he added, "it may well have saved the lives" of 32 students at Virginia Tech.
Schumer agreed that the next item on the gun-control agenda would be to require background checks in every gun sale, but predicted that would be harder to get passed because of opposition by the National Rifle As#####ion. The law signed yesterday, in contrast, had NRA support.
Next target: gun-show sales
The next item on the gun-control agenda is a bill that would require background checks for all firearms purchased at an estimated 4,000 yearly gun shows, flea markets and swap meets. While federally licensed firearms dealers are required to do criminal background checks when they sell guns at these events, unlicensed individuals who set up tables right next to them are exempt in most states. They account for a quarter to a half of all gun-show vendors and are sought out by criminals who want to buy guns with no questions asked, law enforcement officials say. The bill was introduced Jan. 4, 2007, by Rep. Michael Castle (R-Del.), with Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) as an original co-sponsor.
now that Hillery won a vote or 2 the Dems. smell Blood.