This post was assigned by DC Bureau Chief David Corn, who is very good at passing on newsworthy, underreported stories for me to flesh out. While I’m a journalist not a gun control activist, after having examined what is by all appearances a tremendously misguided policy proposal I wouldn’t mind if my piece stirred up a bit of righteous indignation.
UPDATE: My story is featured on The Huffington Post home page and the top story on its politics page. It is featured on SodaHead, Signs of the Times, linked to in a Raw Story report on the bill and, um, reposted on a Howard Stern fan site. It is also my second Top Story for Mother Jones.
Major Nidal Hasan, accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood Army base, has been described by former colleagues as “psychotic.” As more details emerge about Hasan’s troubled state, gun safety advocates are launching fresh attacks on a Senate bill they say would make it easier for mentally unstable veterans to buy firearms.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) says his “Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act” will protect veterans’ gun rights. But the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence calls it a “dangerous” proposal that could allow “over 100,000 mentally incapacitated or incompetent persons” to buy guns—people who would previously have been barred from doing so by the Veterans Administration (VA).
With debate over Fort Hood still raging on cable news, one might think that Burr might try to quietly shelve the measure, whose co-sponsors include Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.). Instead, Burr fired back at the Brady Campaign in an interview with Fox News, accusing its president, Paul Helmke, of using the tragedy to “exploit the senseless murder of American soldiers in the quest to secure personal triumph.”
Responding to Burr Thursday in an open letter, Helmke wrote, “it is hardly ‘exploitative’ to have an honest debate” about the proposal, which would cancel out key provisions of the Gun Control Act of 1968 and override standards used by the VA for nearly four decades.
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Photo credit: Hoggheff (via Flickr)