The NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007, signed into law by Republican President George W. Bush, implemented a common sense reform of gun safety background checks. The law added a new category to the list of people who ought to receive an extra review before buying a gun: People whose mental competence has degraded to such an extent that they have been registered with the Social Security Administration as needing payments to fund special assistance because they are no longer capable of managing their household affairs.
The idea was that if people have been legally declared mentally incompetent, it’s not a good plan to provide them with handguns. This aspect of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act didn’t violate the Second Amendment, because people who are declared mentally incompetent are a special group of people who lose many ordinary legal rights, in order to keep them safe.
Some of the people in this group are dangerously mentally ill. Others have entered into states of dementia.
What all reasonable Americans can agree upon is that it’s a very bad idea to sell guns to people who are mentally incompetent. The Republicans who currently control Congress, unfortunately, cannot be counted as reasonable Americans.
Yesterday afternoon, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve a resolution preventing the enforcement of this specific provision of the NCIS Improvements Amendments Act of 2007. They voted to put guns into the hands of individuals who have been judged to be mentally incompetent.
How many people will die as a result of this vote?