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Wednesday, September 26, 2018



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No. 2 Senate Republican proposing gun background check bill

No. 2 Senate Republican proposing gun background check bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Backed by the National Rifle Association, the Senate's No. 2 Republican leader is introducing legislation that would reward states for sending more information about residents with serious mental problems to the federal background check system for firearms purchasers.

The bill promoted Wednesday by Sen. John Cornyn, who has an A-plus rating from the NRA for his gun rights record, is far more modest than a Senate measure expanding background check requirements that the organization and Republicans helped defeat two years ago.

Still, the legislation represents a rare effort by a leading Republican to curb some firearms purchases. The NRA, a leading force for decades against gun restrictions, has backed some bills before limiting the ability of mentally troubled people to buy firearms.

Recent shootings have drawn attention to weaknesses in the background check system. The gunman in last month's killings in a Louisiana movie theater had mental problems that went unreported to the federal database.

The bill would give state and local governments more flexibility to use federal funds to screen for mental problems in prisoners and improve training for law enforcement officers and others on handling emergencies involving the mentally ill.

Less than two weeks ago, John Russell Houser fired a handgun into a crowd of movie watchers in Lafayette, Louisiana, killing two and wounding nine. Houser's family said they knew he had mental problems and had sought court protection, but he was not involuntarily committed to a hospital.

When he purchased the weapon at a gun shop in Alabama, the background check let the sale occur. Police said Houser killed himself after they confronted him.

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