A rare political alliance between the National Rifle Association and its foes on the left after the Virginia Tech massacre produced a bill in Congress to tighten gun-buyer background checks for people with records of mental illness. Now the bill is in jeopardy, says the Wall Street Journal. Says Paul Helmke of the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence: “I get concerned that the longer we are away from Virginia Tech, folks are going to ignore the problem.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who dislikes federal mandates, complained that his small state would be hard-pressed to meet the House deadlines for sharing information, and risked being penalized. Leahy would make it easier for retired police to carry weapons across state lines, lowering the years of service needed to qualify to carry concealed weapons from 15 to 10. “It’s outrageous; this makes no sense,” Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) told the Journal. Sheriff and police-chief lobbies oppose reopening the issue. “We warned the senators that it was something we had a lot of heartburn with,” says Gene Voegtlin of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.