Recently I received a response from Senator Burr to my request that he support broader background checks. I would like to thank him for his personal letter and for supporting Senator Grassley’s amendment SA 275 to improve and reauthorize the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to criminalize the straw purchasing of firearms and gun trafficking and addressing mental illness in the criminal justice system. Even though this amendment did not pass, I appreciate Senator Burr voting for it.
It was a disappointment that Senator Burr did not support increased requirements for background checks on private transactions of firearms or the Manchin/Toomey amendment expanding background checks due to serious concerns about how this proposal would affect both privacy of mental health records and due process for our nations veterans. The exemption of mental health records submitted to NICS from current Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements is a concern to Senator Burr that this could jeopardize the privacy of certain individuals medical records and may deter patients from seeking the mental health care that they may need. To me this is saying the privacy of mental health patients is more important than the safety of our nations children and citizens. Furthermore, he believes these individuals with mental health issues should be allowed to buy firearms up to and including assault weapons. I will never agree with this argument and urge Senator Burr to reconsider his approach to preventing violence with guns.
Regarding the due process for our veterans, I think getting veterans the medical help they need and deserve on a timely basis is a much more important issue he should address than who refers veterans that should be placed in the NICS system.
Our country desperately needs to close the loop hole and provide background checks for all firearm sales whether at a certified gun dealer, a gun fair or on the internet. Congress can not continue killing our children for such weak arguments as put forth by Senator Burr. The rights of the victims of gun violence whose numbers are continuing to grow every year in this country must be given a much higher consideration and weight than is currently being done by Congress and Senator Burr in particular.