Cornyn Details Due Process Protections in Mental Health, School Safety Bill

This week on the floor, I discussed my mental health and school safety legislation and the due process protections it provides. Excerpts of my remarks are below, and video can be found here

Unless a person is convicted of a crime or is adjudicated mentally ill, their ability to purchase a firearm will not be impacted by this legislation. Now, some have suggested provisions that I believe would infringe on Second Amendment rights and really not get to the root of the problem.

What we're trying do is prevent dangerous individuals from unleashing violence on their communities, and one way of achieving that goal is through more robust crisis intervention programs.

Now, some of our colleagues wanted to focus this money solely on the 19 states that passed some form of ‘red flag’ law, and frankly, that’s the choice that’s up to the state. But we are not introducing a national ‘red flag’ law, but we are providing the availability of law enforcement-related grants to crisis intervention programs, whether you adopted a ‘red flag’ program or not.

One of the things that we've agreed upon is they have to have robust due process protections because we're talking about a constitutional right. So if the new law does not include due process protections, it will not be eligible for these grants, no matter what form that crisis intervention program takes.

Our bill also provides increased protection for domestic violence victims. It shouldn't matter whether a person is married to their abuser if the abuser is convicted of domestic violence. And many people have what I will call, ‘nontraditional relationships.’

This doesn't limit law-abiding gun owners’ rights unless somebody is convicted of domestic abuse under state laws. Their gun laws will not be impacted. Again, this portion of the bill includes critical due process protections, which, as we all know, is part of our Constitution. You shall not be deprived of your rights without due process of law.

One new feature that we've proposed is that those who are convicted of non-spousal misdemeanor domestic abuse - not a felony, but misdemeanor domestic violence -will have an opportunity after five years to have their Second Amendment rights restored. But they have to have a clean record, and this is an incentive, in fact, I think, for people who have made a mistake and committed domestic violence and received a misdemeanor conviction to straighten up their act and to not repeat it.

I know this bill is not going to please everyone. Some think it goes too far. Others think it doesn't go far enough. And I get it. But the nature of compromise and the nature of actually wanting to get a result requires that everybody try to find common ground where we can.


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