The Senate approved to debate the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act. The 50-page legislation is being dubbed the gun compromise bill.
The bill would expand background checks to include sales in gun shows and on the internet with the exemption of sales between family members.
Republican Representative Tom Cotton, of the 4th Congressional District, was in the 3rd Congressional District in Rogers Saturday (April 13) at the Conservative Arkansas monthly meeting.
Cotton doesn’t think this bill will make a difference in mass violence.
“The laws as I understand them being proposed in the Senate right now would not have stopped mass murder at Sandy Hook or Virginia Tech or in Aurora, Colorado,” Cotton said.
Tyler Clark, Chairman of the Washington County Democrats, said he believes legislation would help curb violence.
“We have to do something to prevent these massacres from happening again and I don’t think there is one solution but parts of it would definitely help,” Tyler Clark said.
Both parties agree on the importance of having a mental health component with any gun legislation.
“Making sure that although someone isn’t a felon, they have been adjudged mentally ill by court, then they shouldn’t be getting access to a firearm either,” Cotton said.
The bill would require states and the federal government to submit criminal and mental health records to a national background check system. Clark said that system would be beneficial.
“Each database is communicating with each other that way if you are from Arkansas you can’t go to Oklahoma if you have a mental illness and get the weapons,” Clark said.
The legislation expands current background checks.
“The bill only requires background checks for those who are buying from trade shows or gun owners,” Clark said. “If you are selling from family member to family member there is no background check necessary.”
Cotton said it wouldn’t make sense to put neighbors and friends through a background check.
“I don’t think for instance a constituent of mine living in Clifty in Northern Madison County should have to drive to Springdale to get to a federally licensed fire arm dealer to sell their firearm to someone he’s known for 25 years,” Cotton said.
About 60 people attended the Conservative Arkansas meeting in Benton County.
The bill is expected to remain in the Senate for the next few weeks. The bill prohibits a national firearms registry.