Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
For Immediate Release
Contact: Brendan Kelly, bkelly [at] bradymail [dot] org
MARCH MADNESS AS HOUSE TO WEAKEN BACKGROUND CHECKS, AGAIN, TODAY
WASHINGTON - Later today, the House will vote on a bill that would allow at-risk former military service members who are currently prohibited from buying guns because they are deemed "mentally incompetent" by the Department of Veterans Affairs to once again buy and possess guns. With gun homicides and suicides on the rise, this will be the third time in as many weeks Trump's administration and the new Congress have taken action to allow people to buy guns who have long been prohibited because they pose a heightened risk to themselves or others.
The administration recently approved measures to reverse a Social Security rule that would have prohibited mentally ill disability beneficiaries who are unable to administer their own benefits from purchasing guns and narrowed the interpretation of who can be viewed as a "fugitive from justice" for purposes of limiting gun purchases or possession. In their first months, Congress and Administration are leading the charge to ensure that individuals who are a danger to themselves or others have access to guns. This makes no sense. It is bad policy and flies in the face of public opinion that the background check system is an important tool--93% of Americans support background checks that keep guns out of dangerous hands.
The bill being voted on today, H.R. 1181, would result in the F.B.I deleting more than 174,000 records of individuals the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has already reported to the Brady background check system. The small percentage of veterans reported by the VA are those individuals deemed "adjudicated mentally defective" under longstanding ATF and VA determinations of law. In addition to removing the names of individuals already in the background check system, the bill bars the VA from reporting additional names of individuals in the future who are at-risk.
Brady Campaign president Dan Gross said, "This is not, and never will be, what it means to 'take care of our veterans.' Twenty American veterans die by suicide every day, and two-thirds use guns. In addition to treatment and help for our most at-risk veterans, Brady background checks have been a vital safety net to protect those who may be a danger to themselves."
"This month, the real March Madness is the fact that this will be the third time in as many weeks Trump's administration and Congress have taken steps to give people access to guns who may be a danger to themselves or others. And we all stand to lose. This piecemeal dismantling of the Brady Law may be good for the gun lobby, but it's flat-out deadly for the rest of us."
The Brady Campaign expects a similar or companion bill to be introduced in the Senate.
The mission of the Brady organization and its Million Mom March is to create a safer America by cutting gun deaths in half by 2025. For more insight on gun violence prevention, follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BradyBuzz.
About Us: The Brady Campaign and Center, united with the Million Mom March, is a national network of over 90 grassroots chapter affiliates mobilized to prevent gun violence at the community level. The network has played a vital role in expanding Brady background checks in the six states that have passed legislation since the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut and produced the largest national protest of gun violence in U.S. history - The Million Mom March, Mother's Day 2000.