Special Interests Aim at Toomey-Manchin Background Check Bill

 

shutterstock_228936508Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) have proposed a bill to expand background checks, which they claim are necessary to ensure the safety of schoolchildren. Special interests, however, have come out against the plan, claiming that inaccuracies occur in the databases used for background checks and that complying with the requirement would place an undue burden on law-abiding citizens.

This has nothing to do with guns, however. The bill targets teachers, coaches, and other school employees who have been convicted of sex offenses and seek to regain employment in a different state to avoid detection. The American Federation of Teachers expressed skepticism about the bill, citing concerns about false accusations against teachers. To be fair, there are also concerns  — cited by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) the chairman of the committee that would handle the bill — about the federal government imposing mandates on local school districts, but Sen. Toomey points out that it would only restrict non-complying schools from receiving federal money. A similar measure passed the House unanimously last year, but stalled in the Senate committee, at the time led by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).

When Sens. Toomey and Manchin proposed a bill in April 2013 on background checks for gun purchases, its failure was lamented everywhere from The New York Daily News to The Onion. Now, there’s another background-check bill before the Senate that cites the same justification (protecting schoolchildren) and has the same sponsors but — this time — it aggravates teachers’ unions instead of gun-rights groups.  Somehow, if this new effort fails, I doubt we’ll see the same amount of outrage from the press.

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  1. Devereaux Inactive
    Devereaux
    @Devereaux

    ?So why do we need to have all this government interference anyway. If government shows anything near its usual “efficiency” the database will consist mostly of regular people.

    • #1
  2. Byron Horatio Inactive
    Byron Horatio
    @ByronHoratio

    Even if it were a perfect system, the effort should be vigorously opposed. “Federal funding would be denied for non-compliance…”

    Read “extortion”. It’s an affront to federalism.

    • #2
  3. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Little League International requires all of their local affiliates to do background checks on volunteer coaches. I have a fairly common name so it wasn’t surprising that my check came back with a couple of hits. The stupidity arose afterwords when I was forced to prove it wasn’t me.

    Somehow the mug shots of the two black “gentlemen” next to my pale, white face wasn’t enough. There was an “established procedure” that had to be followed. Background checks are worthless if the people receiving them don’t have enough common sense to rationally interpret the information.

    • #3
  4. user_428379 Thatcher
    user_428379
    @AlSparks

    The feds should stay out of this.  The states can make their own decisions regarding this issue.

    • #4
  5. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Sounds like a law that should be enacted at the state level – the feds have enough on their plate already. I admire Toomey and Manchin, but they need to learn that sometimes the right response is “don’t just do something, stand there.”

    • #5
  6. Ross C Member
    Ross C
    @RossC

    Petty Boozswha:Sounds like a law that should be enacted at the state level – the feds have enough on their plate already.

    I don’t know this bill but if the purpose is to identify sex offenders who cross state lines to leave their past behind.  It seems to me that this is a specific instance where federal regulation is appropriate.

    • #6
  7. JimGoneWild Coolidge
    JimGoneWild
    @JimGoneWild

    And let me guess: The background checks would be conducted by government bureaucrats located in West Virginia?

    • #7
  8. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Ross C:

    Petty Boozswha:Sounds like a law that should be enacted at the state level – the feds have enough on their plate already.

    I don’t know this bill but if the purpose is to identify sex offenders who cross state lines to leave their past behind. It seems to me that this is a specific instance where federal regulation is appropriate.

    I’ll accept that as a valid exception.

    • #8
  9. The Lost Dutchman Member
    The Lost Dutchman
    @TheLostDutchman

    EJHill: Background checks are worthless if the people receiving them don’t have enough common sense to rationally interpret the information.

    Good point, and school administrators are not a population known for having vast amounts of common sense.

    JimGoneWild:And let me guess: The background checks would be conducted by government bureaucrats located in West Virginia?

    True, Manchin is in Robert Byrd’s old seat.  o_O

    • #9
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