Day 18: Tell your Senators to Vote NO on HJ Resolution 40

A common-sense background check rule is on the chopping block.

DAY 18 ACTION: Tell your Senators to vote NO on H.J. Res. 40. The CRA resolution takes aim at modest gun control.


Credit: Tom Toles

Yesterday we learned about the Congressional Review Act. The CRA is an extreme tool, and before last week, had been used just once in 21 years. Now, in three days, Congress has used it twice … and the Republicans show no sign of slowing down.

On Thursday, the House voted on party lines to kill a rule that alerts the federal background check system when someone is prohibited from buying guns for severe mental health reasons. The rule implements the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Improvement Acts of 2007, a law passed in the wake of the Virginia Tech mass shooting. (Unlike Kellyanne Conway’s Bowling Green Massacre, this horrific event actually happened.) The killer in the Virginia Tech shootings was able to buy guns because information about his mental health history – which would have prohibited him from purchasing a firearm – was not available to the vendors.

The rule does not prohibit anyone with a mental health history from buying a gun. It is a common sense requirement for federal agencies to identify people to the NICS in the limited circumstances where their mental capacity prohibits them from having a gun. A “court, board, commission or other lawful authority” must have determined that the person is “a danger to himself or to others” or “lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his or her own affairs.” The person’s diagnosis is not shared with the NICS. And, a person may appeal inclusion on the list. The rule is modest, carefully crafted, and could be one effective way to curb gun violence.

Today’s Action: Call your Senators (through the Switchboard – +1-202-224-3121) and tell them to vote NO on House Joint Resolution 40 and to support common sense gun controls. You can also ask them to join the floor debate in favor of this rule and against any attempt to gut it.

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