Senate majority whip John Cornyn (R-TX) is promoting a bill he says would reduce violence without changing gun laws. Cornyn introduced legislation he says would unite the disparate groups in the gun debate by focusing on the identification and treatment of mental health problems rather than the laws governing who may buy guns and where, the Wall Street Journal reports. Cornyn said his legislation aims to avert gun violence by ensuring would-be offenders get treatment and by giving authorities the information to enforce existing law, rather than creating new restrictions on the sale of firearms.
The bill would clarify which mental health records states are asked to send to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and encourage state and local governments to provide more records to the national database. It would create incentives for states to establish new screening and treatment methods and crisis response strategies. The gunman in a deadly shooting last month in Lafayette, La., had a history of mental-health problems that should have been documented and tracked, Cornyn said. The National Rifle Association, which gives Cornyn an A-plus rating, has endorsed the legislation, potentially giving pro-gun senators in both parties leave to vote for it. Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said Cornyn’s bill falls short by doing “nothing to prevent dangerous people from purchasing guns online or at gun shows.”