Who You Calling "Mentally Ill?"

Congress Passes Bill to Stop Mentally Ill From Getting Guns

Prompted by the Virginia Tech University shootings, Congress yesterday approved legislation that would help states more quickly and accurately identify potential firearms buyers with mental health problems that disqualify them from gun ownership under federal law.

The deaths of 32 people in a shooting rampage by a mentally ill student on the Virginia Tech campus spurred Congress to address long-standing gaps in state records reporting that allowed the killer to purchase two guns.

The resulting bill -- based on legislation that had languished for years -- drew overwhelming bipartisan support, and the backing of both the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the National Rifle Association. Its Democratic sponsors worked for months to bring it to a vote, after Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) placed a hold on it.

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