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Bloomberg & Brown: Strange bedfellows or just strange?

U.S. Senator John Cornyn’s (R-TX) proposed Mental Health and Safe Communities Act (MHSCA) is drawing praise and criticism from all sides, creating a mix-and-match arcade of strange bedfellows.

Cornyn’s bill, introduced in early August as S. 2002, will provide resources to local and state governments to ensure the records of mentally ill who are legally classified as “prohibited persons” by a state court are uploaded to NICS faster and more consistently.

The proposed HMSCA drew immediate support from the National Rifle Association and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which advocates for mentally ill people, and groups representing police organizations, correctional workers and social workers.

The bill drew criticism for not going far enough from the usual suspects: Michael Bloomberg’s Every Town For Gun Safety, Michael Bloomberg’s Moms Against Guns, Michael Bloomberg’s new gun-control site, The Trace, anti-gun mouthpieces such as Media Matters — and from Dudley Brown, President of the National Association for Gun Rights, who says it goes too far.

In a call-to-action to NAGR members to sign a “Stop Cornyn’s Gun Control Act” fax petition, Brown accused Cornyn of “plotting to surrender to the Left Wing Media by pushing a major piece of anti-gun legislation.”

Brown said the bill uses “taxpayer funds to bribe state governments to funnel the names of even more Americans into the NICS, or as I call it, the Brady Registration system.”

Federal bureaucrats “will use this new power — under the guise of ‘mental health’ screenings — to create ‘just cause’ to prohibit potentially millions of individuals from purchasing a gun without authority and due process of law,” he writes. “They want to assume ALL gun buyers are CRAZY, until proven sane!”

Bob Owens, Editor of BearingArms.com, called Brown’s rant bizarre and said the NAGR’s petition against the bill is shortsighted.

“Have they lost their minds?” Owens writes in an Aug, 11 bearingarms.com blog. Brown is “certainly full of fire, but in his rush to condemn the Cornyn bill, he’s making wild accusations that simply can’t be supported with anything close to facts.”

If passed, the MHSCA will not expand the NICS system “but fix acknowledged reporting holes,” Owens continues. “Nothing remotely suggests that the bill will lead to registration or secret databases. Finally, Brown is daft for suggesting that it will manufacture a scheme to deny millions of Americans their Second Amendment rights — when it was, in fact, authored to specifically counter existing moves by Obama via the VA and SSA.”

In fact, Owens writes, Cornyn’s bill provides critical protections against Obama Administration bureaucratic decrees, praising it for “what it would do for millions being targeted by the Obama Administration via the VA and Social Security alone. The fact that it fills in the gaps in the existing NICS system and make it more difficult for the dangerously mentally ill to acquire firearms is icing on the proverbial cake.”

In July, the Obama Administration sent information on 4 million Americans receiving Social Security Administration benefits through a representative payee to the NICS as “prohibited persons” under federal firearms law.

The Veterans Administration was the first to adopt this Obama Administration bureaucratic mechanism to forward records to NICS without due process protections in place. The VA is doing so for veterans who have a fiduciary assigned to their account.

An Aug. 10 article by Alex Yablon on the Bloomberg-financed TheTrace.org cited warnings from several mental health experts that Cornyn’s proposal could actually reduce the effectiveness of the current background check system by limiting the number of records FBI inspectors can draw upon when deciding if someone can safely purchase a gun.

Involuntary commitment orders, which judges issue those deemed acutely unstable and endanger to themselves or others, expire in as few as 14 days. Under current law, people involuntarily committed to psychiatric facilities are prohibited indefinitely from possessing a firearm until they can prove to a judicial body that they are no longer a danger.

The Cornyn bill, critics told Yablon, would allow a person involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital to buy a gun once their commitment order has expired. At the same time, the files marking them as a prohibited purchaser would be removed from the database.

For more, go to:

Fringe Pushes Back Against Cornyn’s NICS Background Check Fix

Mental Health Experts Warn of Flaw in NRA-Supported Gun Background Check Bill

Editorial: Don’t sidestep push for gun law reforms

Alexander: When the NRA offers a gun bill

Gillibrand: We need serious gun trafficking laws

13 U.S. senators sent a letter about gun sales to Bass Pro. The company hasn’t responded.

BATTLE SHIFTS TO 14th AMENDMENT
Increasing anti-gun zealotry by city leaders will only fuel more urban violence

Less than two weeks after the Los Angeles City Council banned magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, the Seattle City Council on Aug. 10 unanimously voted to impose a $25 tax on guns and a 5-cent tax on bullets sold within the city limits.

The council called it a “gun violence tax,” claiming the estimated $300,000 to $500,000 in revenues it will generate each year will finance research programs to reduce gun violence in Seattle.

The law is based on a similar $25 gun tax that passed in Cook County, Ill, in 2013, and one of several significant recent anti-gun maneuvers by local governments as the battle against individual private ownership of firearms moves away from the 2nd Amendment and more into the realm of the 14th Amendment.

Gun rights advocates immediately fired back, pointing out the new tax violates state firearms laws and vowed to file suit to get it overturned.

“I am absolutely certain there will be a lawsuit filed and there could be more than one,” said Dave Workman, of the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF). “They cannot exceed what the state law allows.”

The SAF sued, and won, after Seattle tried to ban firearms in city parks. Now they intend to win this battle.

Seattle’s actions followed the Los Angeles City Council’s July 28 decision to ban magazines of more than 10 bullets. In 2013, the cities of Sunnyvale and San Francisco each passed similar high-capacity magazine bans to the one passed last month in Los Angeles.

Both were almost immediately challenged and upheld by district courts. The U.S. Supreme Court voted not to take up the Sunnyvale case in a de facto preservation of both California decisions.

The L.A. City Council will also soon vote on a new “safe gun storage” ordinance, which would mandate new procedures for how guns must be kept in Los Angeles homes. The proposed law mandates that a gun be either locked away or on the owner’s person in their home.

The Supreme Court rejected a challenge to San Francisco’s safe-storage law this year, despite striking down a similar provision in 2008’s District of Columbia v. Heller ruling.

This trend in increasing anti-gun activism by local elected officials is dangerous, as Breitbart News analysis exposed in a July 9 article that documented that gun crime was surging in Democrat-run cities of Baltimore, Chicago, Milwaukee, New Orleans, St. Louis, Houston, Philadelphia, and New York City.

“Yet,” writes Breibart News’ AWR Hawkins, “far from looking at Democrat policies like gun control as part of the problem, Darrel Stephens (executive director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association) suggests more gun control should be considered.”

For more, go to:

Gun rights advocates say Seattle’s new firearms, ammo tax is illegal, discriminatory

Tax on gun, ammo sales passes but there could be a battle ahead

Why California Is an Incubator for Tighter Gun Regulations

OTHER DEMOCRAT-RUN CITIES JOIN BALTIMORE WITH SURGING GUN CRIME

Los Angeles’ New Gun Magazine Law Makes Streets Safer… For Criminals

STATE ROUNDUP
Christie vetoes uncontroversial NJ bill to pad national pro-gun profile

New Jersey Gov. and GOP Presidential hopeful Chris Christie on Aug. 10 rejected a bill that would have required people to notify state and local police first before initiating procedures to “erase” their mental health records in order to purchase a firearm.

The bill (S2360) had received overwhelming support from Democrats and Republicans in the state Legislature, with no lawmaker voting against it in either house.

According to an Aug. 11 Associated Press article, Christie, “who has noticeably tacked to the right on gun issues as he campaigns for president,” told lawmakers in his conditional veto that he couldn’t support “fragmented statues that add further confusion to an already cumbersome area of law.”

Instead, Christie sent back language to lawmakers that proposed sweeping changes to the state’s mental health system.

The legislation proposed requiring anyone seeking to have their mental health records expunged to purchase a firearm to notify the State Police, their county prosecutor and their local police department when petitioning the court. Current gun laws prevent people with certain mental health histories from purchasing firearms.

The bill passed the Assembly by a 74-0 vote with six lawmakers not voting on the bill and it cleared the Senate by a 38-0, with 2 senators not voting. Such margins are easily enough for lawmakers to overturn Christie’s veto, but the governor has never been overridden by the Legislature since taking office in 2010.

For more, go to:

Christie vetoes gun bill supported by N.J. Republicans & Democrats

Sheriffs speak out against proposed change to gun laws

Oregon’s new gun law won’t make us safer

Florida Gun Safety Summit Fights Firearms on College Campuses

North Carolina: Pro-Gun Omnibus Bill Signed by Governor McCrory

OREGON SHERIFF: BACKGROUND CHECK LAW UNENFORCEABLE WITHOUT GUN REGISTRY

[Should concealing a gun lead to a psych eval? Attorney says no](http://www.nj.com/morris/index.ssf/2015/08/ gun_owners_attorney_no_need_for_for_mandatory_psyc.html)

Another Gun-Related Bill Gets Filed In Florida Legislature

Retailers adopt NY’s law regarding toy guns

THE MEDIA IS THE MESSAGE
Gun control works in TV Land—where many Americans, apparently, live

An Aug. 10 analysis by The Economist offers some interesting insight into how public perception of crime, guns, and gun control is influenced by the media. Two popular bubbles the analysis popped refute media-fueled myths about crime and gun violence, and confirm what many have long suspected: The media is the message.

1. “America has become a much safer place over the past two decades … but public sentiment has yet to catch on to the fact.”

According to The Economist—and, oh by the way, the annual FBI Uniform Crime Report—crime has been in steady decline for more than two decades. In 1993, according to the FBI, 7 out of every 100,000 people aged 12 and up—the firearms homicide rate—were gunned down. That number has since halved.

The nation’s homicide rate was 10.4 in 1980, according to the FBI. Yet, since then, the nation’s inmate population has increased by almost 500 percent to a point where the U.S., with less than 5 percent of the world’s population, houses 22-25 percent of the planet’s incarcerated prison inmates at a staggering annual cost of $80 billion, enough money to pay for universal pre-K for every 3-4 year old, and tuition for every student at every public college and university, in America.

2. The media’s “relentless and exaggerated focus on crime”—especially gun violence—fosters fear of crime, resulting in more people believing they need to own a forearm for protection, resulting result in more gun sales in America.”

There are a number of reasons cited for this unbalanced growth in incarceration rates and declining crime rates. Federal and state drug laws adopted in the 1980s-90s that mandate long prison sentences for drug-related lawbreakers are the most frequently cited causes. But there may be a more pervasive yet, conversely, less tangible culprit: American society is fascinated by crime.

This obsession is reflected in a ubiquitous news and entertainment media—particularly television programming—that inundates viewers on a 24/7 basis with crime, crime, crime all the time. In fact, researchers have documented an explosion in crime-centric news, dramas and documentaries since 1980 that parallels the politically expedient adoption of “get tough on crime” laws and subsequent boom in prison populations.

According to many researchers, much of what the general public “knows” about crime, courts and corrections is gleaned from the media, television programming in particular. Studies have confirmed for four decades that people who watch a large amount of television are more likely to feel more threatened by crime and believe crime is more prevalent than statistics indicate.

In an Aug, 11 Breitbart News blog, AWR Hawkins said the news media’s anti-gun bias also fuels the myth that crime and gun violence is out of control nationwide—instead of just in the places with the most gun control.

“And why has public sentiment lagged behind the reality of growing safety in America? he writes. “Largely because the media feels Obama’s presidency is their big chance to secure the gun control that has eluded them for decades; thus, they relentlessly push and keep ‘America’s firearms in headlines around the world’ via their focus on mass shootings.”

In fact, Hawkins writes, because of Obama’s “own attempts to keep gun crime front and center,” his administration “has stirred up anxiety among gun owners” that has driven gun sales through the roof.

For more, go to:

THE ECONOMIST: THE RELENTLESS FOCUS ON GUN CRIME FEEDS SURGING GUN SALES

To keep and bear arms

Two-thirds back national gun registry

Poll: Two-thirds back national gun registry

YouGov.org

Q/A: What the New York Times’ polling decision means