Senate Votes to Ease Gun Access for Veterans with Mental Disabilities Hours Before Deadly Shooting in Maine

The Senate voted 53-45 on Wednesday to adopt an amendment that makes it easier for veterans with mental disabilities to obtain firearms. The amendment, introduced by Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), overturns the requirement for the Department of Veteran Affairs to send the names of veterans who need assistance managing their benefits to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Hours after the Senate vote, a deadly shooting occurred in Maine, where Army reservist Robert Card, who has a history of mental health issues, is suspected of killing at least 18 people at multiple locations. The shooting has raised questions about the timing and implications of the Senate’s decision.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mt.) and Sen. Angus King, an Independent representing Maine, were among the senators who voted in favor of the amendment. Sen. Susan Collins, a long-serving Republican from Maine, also supported the measure. However, their offices have not yet responded to requests for comment on the vote.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Ct.), a prominent gun control advocate, argued against the amendment, emphasizing that the standard used by the VA to determine mental competence is crucial. He expressed concern that the amendment would restore gun rights to veterans diagnosed with serious mental illnesses, including schizophrenia.

Following the shooting in Maine, Murphy reiterated his opposition to the amendment, stating that individuals who pose a danger to themselves or others should not have access to firearms. He emphasized the need for further efforts to ensure the safety of families and communities.

The ongoing tragedy in Lewiston, Maine, serves as a stark reminder of the challenges in balancing veterans’ rights and public safety concerns.

Author: CrimeDoor

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