HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES : Brady Bill on Gun Control

The House passed a bill (HR 1025) requiring a delay of five business days before handgun buyers can receive a weapon. Under the Brady bill, law enforcement officers would use the time to determine whether the buyer is a felon or otherwise unqualified to possess a gun under federal, state or local law. The requirement would be lifted whenever a national "instant check" database of criminal records is assembled or after five years. Dealers would use the registry for point-of-sale screening of purchasers. Justice Department financial penalties would prod states to rapidly computerize their records for the database.

Supporter Constance A. Morella (R-Md.) said: "Arguments that have been made by Brady bill opponents that it will have no effect on crime since criminals don't buy guns from dealers simply are not true. . . . (The government) reported earlier this year that 27% of state prison inmates who had owned handguns had purchased them from legitimate gun dealers."

Opponent Philip M. Crane (R-Ill.) said: "If the Brady bill is passed, law-abiding Americans will see their Second Amendment rights eroded, but the criminals will still obtain guns. The black market is the hottest place for felons in search of firearms, and they need not wait for a background check in a dark alley."

The vote was 238 for and 189 against. A yes vote was to pass the bill.

How They Voted Rep. Cox (R): Nay Rep. Dornan (R): Nay Rep. Kim (R): Nay Rep. Packard (R): Nay Rep. Rohrabacher (R): Nay Rep. Royce (R): Nay

Amendment to Brady Bill

The House rejected an amendment to the Brady bill (above) that was supported by the National Rifle Assn. and opposed by the Fraternal Order of Police. Under the amendment, the computerized system for instantly screening buyers, once operational, was to have preempted state and local laws that require waiting periods on handgun purchases. Sponsor Bill McCollum (R-Fla.) said: "We don't need a waiting period anymore if you can do an instant check to find out, as this bill says it can on its face, that there is indeed a mental defect or there is a felony. . . ."

Opponent Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said: "If this amendment passes, it will be the biggest rollback of gun control legislation in history, because simply put it would wipe out laws in 23 states plus hundreds of cities and counties."

The vote was 175 for and 257 against. A yes vote was to soften the Brady bill.

How They Voted Rep. Cox (R): Nay Rep. Dornan (R): Yea Rep. Kim (R): Yea Rep. Packard (R): Yea Rep. Rohrabacher (R): Nay Rep. Royce (R): Nay

Alternative Punishment for Young Offenders

The House rejected a bill (HR 3551) that would have provided $200 million annually for developing sentences other than incarceration for first-time, nonviolent offenders not older than 22. The vote tally of 235 for and 192 against fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass the bill under a shortcut parliamentary procedure. Federal matching grants to states were to have been used for alternative punishments such as boot camps, short-term shock incarceration and community service.

Supporter Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the bill would enable states to deal with offenders who now often go free because prisons are full.

Opponent Christopher Cox (R-Newport Beach) called the bill "a new federal spending program . . . to study new ways of letting 22-year-old criminals avoid jail."

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

How They Voted Rep. Cox (R): Nay Rep. Dornan (R): Nay Rep. Kim (R): Nay Rep. Packard (R): Nay Rep. Rohrabacher (R): Nay Rep. Royce (R): Nay Source: Roll Call Report Syndicate

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