Sen. Chuck Schumer, a long-time advocate of "rational gun-control laws," is putting his legislative money where his mouth is when it comes to gun laws: he told reporters that he is drafting legislation to require all gun buyers to undergo a thorough background check. And he wants to increase penalties to any states that don't contribute names to the national background-check system.
Schumer presented his plan, which he said was modeled after the proposals of Mayor Bloomberg's national gun-control coalition, at Manhattan police headquarters yesterday. Schumer was inspired into action after the tragic shooting in Tucson, Arizona last month, which left six people dead and 14 others injured: "All we're talking about here is making sure that certain individuals who demonstrated violent behavior in the past, who have documented mental illness, who could be inclined to terrorism, or who have a history of drug abuse, don't get a weapon," Schumer said.
According to the AP, more than half the states are not complying with a law requiring them to share the names of mentally ill people with the national background-check system. In addition to tougher background checks and penalties for non-compliant states, the legislation will close the so-called gun-show loophole by requiring even private sellers to perform background checks. There are more than 37,000 people licensed to have a handgun in the city, including several notable celebrities, politicians and prominent businessmen. At least we know that if need be, Sen. Schumer is prepared to grab his shotgun to get this legislation passed.