On Wednesday (December 7), legislation was advanced by House Democrats to establish a federally controlled list of people who voluntarily decide to block their ability to purchase guns.
Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and John Curtis (R-Utah) co-authored the bill intending to curb gun suicides, which current data shows claims roughly 25,000 Americans yearly. Those concerned they may attempt to kill themselves with a gun can add their names to the federally-controlled list if legislation is passed.
After Democrats debated with their Republican counterparts — who argued that the legislation is the latest attempt to institute a gun ban — the legislation passed in the House on party lines.
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio) queried whether it was necessary to have a “federal statute” permitting Americans to voluntarily “give up their fundamental liberty?”
Jordan acknowledged that “mental health is important… especially as it relates to suicide” but indicated the bill was taking those efforts too far before asserting his belief Democrats were conducting “just another attack” on Second Amendment rights.
Republican Rep. Tom Massie (Kentucky) noted that the bill would make those who gift others guns criminals if they unknowingly give it to someone on the list. Democrats insisted that wasn’t the legislation’s purpose adding they would be willing to rectify the bill’s ambiguous statements later. However, Republicans were adamant that uncertainty surrounding potential criminality is another reason lawmakers shouldn’t pass the bill.
The legislation would require the Attorney General to establish a list of those choosing to block themselves from purchasing a firearm on the “voluntary purchase delay database.”
Then, should they want their name removed from the list, they would need a letter from a mental health professional vouching that they no longer pose a risk to themselves. The AG will be required to process those requests in 21 days.
But GOP lawmakers believe once a person is on the list, it would be nearly impossible to be removed from the list.