Gun-Control Plan? That Got Shelved

Proposal could fortify FBI background-check system
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2012 5:35 PM CST
Justice Dept. Shelved Gun Control Plan Last Year
United States Attorney General Eric Holder addresses the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 in San Diego.   (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

The Justice Department developed a new gun-control initiative after the Gabrielle Giffords shooting last year but shelved it in the heat of a presidential election campaign, the New York Times reports. Whether President Obama will revive it in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting is unknown. But the basic tenet is fairly old: Order federal agencies to send information to the FBI to expand its database of people barred from buying guns. That list includes the mentally "defective," illegals, drug users, felons, and domestic abusers.

For example, the Social Security Administration would tell the FBI when it was sending a check to someone because that person is mentally unwell. Such moves could improve the system, which failed to bar the gunman in the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre from buying guns despite a judge's ruling that he was mentally ill. A similar law was passed in 2008, however, and agencies either dragged their feet or said their information wasn't appropriate for the database. For more, see an Arizona Star op-ed published under Obama's name after the Giffords shooting. (Or see the latest round of rhetoric on gun control.)

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