WASHINGTON, DC – The National Rifle Association (NRA) on Monday called for new legislation to improve background checks to identify people with violent mental illness and endorsed emergency court orders to temporarily disarm people on the verge of violence, coupled with robust due-process protections to guarantee that peaceable Americans are not deprived of their Second Amendment rights.
The Second Amendment guarantees that every adult American citizen who is law-abiding and peaceable has the right to keep and bear firearms for any lawful purpose, including self-defense. One of the greatest challenges government officials who support the Second Amendment have is how to identify people who are not law-abiding or peaceable – that is, people with violent mental illness that poses a risk to themselves or others – without disarming any citizen who is covered by the Second Amendment.
“The Second Amendment … what does it mean to you?,” begins Chris Cox, the executive director the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. Whether hunting, competition, or self-defense, “It means all those things to the National Rifle Association of America.”
“We represent all backgrounds, all faiths and all ethnicities,” Cox continues. “We are moms and dads, first responders, veterans, teachers, doctors and farmers. And we are in every community in this great nation.”
“The NRA proudly protects the rights of law-abiding Americans. And we’re the nation’s leader in firearm safety and training,” he declares.
“Recently, we’ve witnessed horrific acts committed by dangerous individuals with mental illness,” says Cox. “The government has failed to address this problem. And unfortunately, there’s no easy button to fix it.”
“All of us, gun owners and non-gun owners alike, want to live in safe communities and send our kids to safe schools,” he goes on. “No one disagrees with that. But the question is, how do we do it?”
“Blaming good, honest people for the acts of murderers is wrong, divisive and not the answer,” adds Cox. “Passing new gun control laws won’t protect our kids, because criminals willing to commit murder will never obey the law.”
But action is absolutely necessary, Cox declares. “Our nation can’t afford to repeat the mistakes of the past. And there are meaningful steps we can take – right now.”
Cox reaffirmed its support for certain laws and policies to protect innocent people, as well as announced its support for additional measures.
“Let’s work together to secure our schools and stop school violence,” begins Cox, saying they must be protected.
“Every school is different, and every school security plan is different,” he explains. “But relying on a sticker in a window that says ‘no guns allowed’ is not a security plan. It’s an invitation to tragedy.”
“Training, intervention, communication, reporting,” Cox lists as elements of an effective plan. “Congress needs to immediately pass legislation, like the STOP School Violence Act, to give these programs the critical funding they need.”
“Let’s also fix our broken mental health system and create better background checks,” says Cox, turning to the next issue. “We must have more treatment centers so [people with problems] can get help, before they become a danger to themselves or others.”
“For those who are dangerous, not only do they need to be put into a mental health facility, they need to be put into the background check system,” adds Cox. “Let me be clear on this. The NRA believes that anyone who is a danger to themselves or others should not be allowed to have a firearm – any firearm. Period.”
“That’s why Congress needs to immediately pass Senator Cornyn’s bill to make the background check system better and stronger by making sure it has all the records of violent criminals and those who are found by a court to have a dangerous mental illness,” elaborates Cox.
“But more importantly, we need to stop dangerous people before they act,” says Cox, pivoting to the NRA’s final proposal. “So Congress should provide funding for states to adopt Risk Protection Orders. This can help prevent violent behavior before it turns into a tragedy.”
“These laws allow a court to intervene and temporarily remove firearms when a person threatens violence to themselves or others,” he explains. “To be effective and constitutional, they should have strong due-process protections and require that the person get treatment.”
The NRA is supporting such legislation at the state level, rather than any sort of national program based on a federal database of gun owners.
“These proposals can be done right now,” the NRA’s chief lobbyist declares. “While they won’t solve everything, they will help lead to a broader discussion on how to address a culture of violence in America, which is desperately needed.”
“There will always be evil in this world, that won’t change,” admits Cox. “But we can change our response. We can take action to prevent violence and protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans at the same time.”
“That’s what the five million men and women of the NRA are committed to do,” he declares. “And we hope you’ll join us in getting it done.”
Watch the full video here:
Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.