Relentless Pursuit of Wisdom and Liberty

The weblog companion of, dedicated to pondering, "If Patrick Henry could see us now..."

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A retraction of my opinion on HR 2640

I'm a little late to the party here, but it looks like I and a ton of others jumped the gun on excoriating HR 2640. Clayton Cramer, friend to gun owners across the nation, had this to say in correcting those of us who did jump the gun:
1. Current law and regulation (as I have previously discussed) required a person to be adjudicated by a court or other due process situation. The D.A. calling the police and telling them, "lock this guy up" doesn't qualify. At a minimum, this guy may have some trouble getting his carry permit back, but if the D.A. thinks this makes him permanently ineligible to own a gun, he better go check the federal statutes and regulations on this.

2. HR 2640 hasn't been passed--and yet this guy has already been disarmed for life, according to Gun Owners of America. HR 2640 doesn't change the existing law at all about what categories of commitment disable you from gun ownership. It only expands the reporting. Let's say that somehow the D.A. managed to persuade a court (not the police) to involuntarily commit this guy. Anywhere in America, under the current federal law, he can't own a gun. Since many states are failing to report this, he might pass the federal background check, and be able to buy a gun. But if he comes to the attention of authorities, he's now in the same pile of trouble as a convicted felon in possession. HR 2640 doesn't change anything in terms of legality.

3. However: HR 2640 provides a procedure by which someone involuntarily committed might be able to get his rights back again (assuming that Congress funds the program, which they might or might not do). Right now, once you have been adjudicated mentally incompetent or involuntarily committed with appropriate due process, you are unable to ever own a gun. There is no procedure for getting this straightened out--ever. HR 2640 makes it at least possible.
I still don't like HOW the bill was passed (unrecorded voice votes = Reps unaccountable to their constituents), but I feel much better about the bill BEING passed.


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