Congress to Pass Gun Control Bill

Prompted by the recent carnage at Virginia Tech, in which an apparently mentally disturbed student shot and killed more than 30 people, Congress reportedly is likely to pass the first major federal gun control legislation in more than a decade. Drafted with the help of the National Rifle Association, a traditional opponent of firearms restrictions, it is intended to prevent guns from being sold to persons who are mentally ill.

The fast-track bill, which was introduced today, is scheduled is scheduled for a vote tomorrow by the House of Representatives, and officials say it likely will pass both there and in the Senate, according to Reuters. It is already illegal, under a 1968 law, to sell a gun to “a mental defective,” the news agency reports, but the new law would provide mechanisms and funding to make it easier for states to participate in a national computerized recordkeeping program to identify those to whom firearms should not be sold.

“We’ve always been vigilant about protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens, but we have been equally vigilant about keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and mental defectives and other people who shouldn’t have them,” says Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s executive vice president.

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