Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.
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Monday, January 10, 2011

So now what?

Well, I'm exhausted. As someone who has lost a loved one so suddenly and unexpectedly and violently to bullets, it was a tough week-end. I have a network of friends who are in my exclusive club. We've talked. We all felt the same way- shaken and vulnerable all over again. I have immersed myself in the news stories and have been writing and doing a press interview. It would probably be a good thing to forget about it and move on. But no, that can't happen. I don't want the public to forget about this incident because if they forget they will move on and not demand change. Change. What should it be? Will new laws make a difference? They certainly could but will we have the will to enact them? That, too, will be exhausting. Some have said it's just not going to happen. Others think it's a must. Lives actually do depend on what our leaders decide they will do. That remains to be seen but I will do my best to have my voice heard.


I could link to dozens of cogent and articulate articles. I have read most of them and tweeted them and shared them on Facebook. I am exhausting my friends as well. Everywhere I went today, people said they had thought about me on Saturday because they know how passionate I am about the gun issue. People with whom I associate at church, on various boards, in 3 book clubs, in a walking group, at the exercise club, just friends, at the doctor's office, and almost everyplace I go are sane and reasonable people. Some own guns. Most do not. To a person, they all think that having such easy access to guns for a young man so clearly mentally ill and with such strange political thoughts is insane. Why then, is it our national policy to allow this to happen?


Sometimes pictures are worth a thousand words. There were a few cartoons that resonated for me today. This one, "Don't go blaming guns" posted on Salon.com speaks to the real problem with guns and gun laws in the U.S. Another posted in several places is by Cagle Cartoons which you can check on the web. On the left side is a woman with tears in her eyes laying a rose down in front of photos of victims with the words- "What is the answer to gun violence?" On the right side is the woman looking back with at a group of guys with guns raised and holstered, one with an NRA hat on, and the words: "More Guns!" That is the divide in this country over guns.


Several people who wrote things today brought me up short. One was this local view article in my own newspaper. I'm quite sure this was pre-planned to appear today before the Tucson shooting happened. The irony of the article's headline is " Give conservatives a chance." In the article a local man claiming to be a policy analyst, who I have never heard of before, said this about Republicans and their views on guns: " Guns get a bad rap because bad guys occasionally use them to forcibly redistribute wealth. Only the government is allowed to distribute wealth. Guns are a symbol of freedom, and they give meaning to the words, “consent of the governed.”" If someone can tell me what this really means, I'd love to know. I have an eerie feeling that it means something quite scary after Saturday's shooting.


The second thing that brought me up short was this awful article about "Reverend" Fred Phelps intending to picket the funerals of the Tucson shooting victims. Come on. In all decency, how can this happen after all of the talk about civility and stopping the hate talk? But here we have a hate group who actually celebrated the shootings on their web page: " Phelps, in a video on his group's web site, thanks God for the "marvelous work in Tucson, " which he says is part of God's vengeance on America. He says his church prays for "more shooters...more dead." Not only is this inexcusable and scary, it sounds like a terrorist organization. The third incident is the revelation that the Colorado office staff of Democratic Senator Michael Bennett  had been threatened by a man who said he would shoot them and set fire to the office. These are real threats. How many more of our leaders will be shot? President Obama cancelled some appearances this week because of the shooting and concerns over security. And the last one ( but not the least) was this double shooting homicide of two people near Duluth which has shaken that small community. This article does not reveal the cause of death but a local T.V. station reported that it was a shooting.


But the day ended with my thoughts turning more inward as I realized that mostly what I had heard and read all day agreed with my views expressed on this blog.  Most people believe this incident was not just another horrific mass shooting the likes of which we see regularly in our country. In 2010 alone, there were 68 shootings of 4 or more people killed and/or injured! Most believe this one was different. It came on the heels of a politically heated campaign and some politically heated debates about policy issues in our country. It involved a sitting U.S. Congresswoman and it took the lives of 6 totally innocent people in a matter of seconds. We must believe there will be something different and better that comes from this. What we have now is just not working.

59 comments:

  1. Sorry- it's Michael Bennet, not Bennett.

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  2. I keep thinking about the parts of the country where it would have been harder for this kind of thing to happen. In some parts of the country, you need a permit from the police to purchase a handgun. In other places, you can't purchase a magazine that holds over 10 bullets.

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  3. Gun-rights author Clayton Cramer has an article up saying that the problem is in how we treat (or rather, don't) severe mental illness.

    http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/mental-illness-and-mass-murder/

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  4. "I could link to dozens of cogent and articulate articles."

    So far I have not seen a single the mainstream media article mentioning the AWB in conjunction with this event that manages to correctly describe the law.

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  5. Yes I agree with that. That is one of the problems that contributed to this tragedy but the gun is one of them as well. We have to address everything here.

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  6. I'm not going to list them here. I have read probably a dozen articles on NYTimes, Washington Post, Huffington Post, on NBC T.V., MSNBC and others in local papers all over the country- many articles and editorials. I know you hate those sources but they are certainly not bought and paid for by the Brady Campaign. They came by their opinions on their own.

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  7. I think this guy was crazy. Period. Crazy is what happened here.

    It seems like everyone was in a rush to label this guy liberal crazy or conservative crazy. This guys views seem to lean left, with some right thrown in for good measure. So maybe he's moderate crazy. Which makes no sense, since Giffords could most fairly be labeled as a moderate Democrat. Ironically, her voting record and public statements seem to put her in the pro-gun category.

    How do we prevent crazy? I know most of us are getting our information through the media and it is all over the place, but what seems to be consistent is that this guys exhibited several warning signs. So whose fault is it?

    Do we blame the FBI for failing to do any true background investigation?

    Do we blame those who knew him personally for failure to report his apparent mental state?

    Do we blame a gun?

    I think we have to blame the individual, who by his own choice, made a conscious, determined effort to take the life of a Congresswoman and as many others as he could.

    I think justice should be carried out swiftly in this case. The death penalty seems to be the only reasonable punishment regardless of his mental state.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to those who lost a loved one, those injured, and those still fighting for life.

    Another thing I noticed in the news was that his 30 round magazine apparently jammed, creating a pause that let to the end of this rampage. Thirty round magazines for handguns are not know for their reliability and could actually have been a factor in fewer people being shoot. Had he reloaded the standard magazines he had with him, he most likely would have gotten off 15 more shots.

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  8. Why should we take your proposals seriously when you yourself say that they wouldn't have stopped this tragic attack?

    Put forth some real solutions and I -- and many others -- will take you more seriously. For example, I think you can make a very credible case for better integration of mental health records with NICS. We don't know if Loughner had formal contact with a mental health professional but at least that is relevant and perhaps helpful. Brady Campaign has pushed this but for some reason they don't seem to focus on it.

    It is kind of bizarre to me that you have a preset list of agenda items (AWB reinstatement, check; registration, check; going after lawful concealed carry, check; curtailing access to semiautomatic firearms, check; prohibit private sales, check) that you are willing to push using any tragedy for evidence, regardless of whether they would have mattered at all. Is that all this tragedy is? A chance to push a pre-set laundry list of agenda items? You wanted all those things last week, too, before this event.

    I'm actually willing to buy off on better integration of state mental health databases with the NICS system. That's "common sense." I'm willing to support advocacy for victims of terroristic threats to encourage them to file restraining orders and get their stalkers put onto the NICS list. Such measures might have even helped prevent this tragic crime and others like it. But when your side starts calling for a legislative wish list of things that even you say probably wouldn't have mattered -- that's not common sense. It feels exploitative, like you're using the victims to push your agenda, regardless of the facts or what the victims want. I'm sure you don't intend your message to be that way, but that is how it comes across.

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  9. For once I agree with Clayton. One of the first things we should do for those poor mentally ill folks is remove their gun rights.

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  10. But none of them has correctly described what the AWB actually did -- and what it didn't do.

    The AWB would NOT have prevented this tragedy.

    What about more accurately defining mentally ill persons - they're already a prohibited category of people...what stopped this lunatic from falling into that category? His college thought he was a danger to himself and others. His parents were afraid of him as well...

    He even failed a Army drug screen...also putting him into the prohibited category.

    Just how many ways does this guy need to disqualify himself. Your anger should be focused on the college and the Army recruiter for not more vigorously pursuing prosecution or at least getting him committed for mental evaluation.

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  11. Thanks Chris for your remarks. It's always good to know how an organization comes across to people like you. I, of course, could do the same for the NRA and you would likely disagree that what they say makes it look like all of you feel the same or that their agenda is this when it might be that. But: "It is kind of bizarre to me that you have a preset list of agenda items (AWB reinstatement, check; registration, check; going after lawful concealed carry, check; curtailing access to semiautomatic firearms, check; prohibit private sales, check)" We have simply not proposed some of your list here. That is hyperbole coming from your side. We have proposed a bunch of laws for many years now that would not have "covered" what happened in individual shooting events but would work to reduce the shootings in others. All of the events are different. We need to deal with a myriad of things here, including sending those mental health records to NICS, which we did and continue to work to make sure it is effectively done. Not all states are on board with this. But Loughner would not have qualified so here is a case where that particular provision would not have worked. We have never said we could stop ALL shootings. But if we don't attempt to stop at least SOME of the carnage, who are we as a country? You and I disagree on how we get there. That does not make you right and me wrong. Your side is more powerful and well funded and so you have won the messaging and the influence. That does not mean it is right.

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  12. Would you all support sending the name of someone like Loughner to NICS? It seems like there would be an outcry about sending his name because he does not fit the definition of "adjudicated" or court ordered mentally ill.

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  13. "Would you all support sending the name of someone like Loughner to NICS? It seems like there would be an outcry about sending his name because he does not fit the definition of "adjudicated" or court ordered mentally ill. "

    The biggest problem I see with calling for targeting mental health issues after occurrences such as this is the reactionary nature of such a call and the possibility of a slope as slippery as banning 'some' firearms based on looks alone. What of the trend of increasingly diagnosing children with mental health issues where none truly exist?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wv49RFo1ckQ

    I fear such diagnosis will saddle these innocents with a stigma that will last far beyond their childhood years. Criminal records might be sealed at 18, but people enjoy no such protection of their medical records, and in my experience, mental health histories are taken at face value by subsequent readers. Pass me a tin foil hat if you like, but is it really that hard to imagine parlaying the accusation of millions of people having mental health issues before they are even old enough to own a gun (much less effectively defend themselves against such accusations) into a vast swath of 'prohibited persons'?

    How about those adults who are falsely accused?

    http://www.ncc-1776.org/tle2011/tle602-20110109-02.html

    That story deals only with a mental health accusation, but had it proceeded further, there's little doubt that lies of child abuse (read: domestic violence) would have been brought forward as well. Enter the Lautenberg Amendment.

    Please don't misunderstand...I'm not advocating free access to firearms for truly dangerous cases of mental illness, but I think the bar should be set rather high to protect innocent people from being caught up in the sweep...just like 'domestic violence' charges have swept up many innocent victims (I personally know of one instance where the man was violently attacked by his wife, and SHE leveled charges of DV against HIM in a vindictive move to separate him from his beloved antique English shotgun collection...which he never actually shot).

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  14. No, because we still have this thing called 'Due Process'.The same reason why I oppose adding the 'Terror Watch List' names to NICS. Who would have added his name since he apparently never saw a mental health professional?

    Loughner should have been sent to a medical professional. He should have been prosecuted for his multiple crimes.

    But he wasn't.

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  15. Carry your guns people.

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  16. So "GET" him court ordered mentally ill, or push for drug charges. SOMETHING to get it on his record.

    The college, Army, and his own parents failed in that respect. Too many dropped balls to enforce existing law in this case.

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  17. "Would you all support sending the name of someone like Loughner to NICS? "

    I would, but there is a problem: The incompetence of people like Sheriff Dupnik. His department has had contact with Loughner in the past for making death threats, yet they failed to act. No charges were filed, he was never put on trial, never adjudicated mentally ill, and as a result, would never become a prohibited person.

    All the gun control laws in the world won't mean jack if our so-called "law enforcement officers" fail to enforce the law.

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  18. If it could be managed without violating privacy or other personal liberties I would strongly support denying NICS checks to mentally "unsafe" persons.

    I think the delicate part, would be who and how the determination is made to include a person on that list. Would a troubled married couple seeking counseling qualify? In severe cases we know it should, but in many more it might not.

    We don't want to deter people from seeking mental health care. Even if there's a perception of "if I talk to the shrink, I'll get on a FBI list", there are some people who won't seek help. I personally know a woman who was apprehensive to seek counseling for depression. She feared her husband might use it against her during divorce proceedings regarding child custody.

    Point is, many people, already don't seek mental health care, even when they know they should.

    To digress just a bit further, what if that "list" is used for other things beyond regulating firearm purchases?

    I don't think any of us would want to board a commercial airliner with Jared Loughner - so if he's on a "not safe to own a gun" list, seems sensible to place him on a "do not fly" list.

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  19. Would you all support sending the name of someone like Loughner to NICS?

    Short Answer: If he met a prohibited person category and got due process, sure. Which it seems like he well might have been if he'd gotten into the justice or mental health system!


    Long Answer: There were a bunch of ways he could have entered the system as a prohibited person.
    - JUSTICE SYSTEM: He used illegal drugs, apparently even after his '07 wrist slap. The government knew about it (US Army drug screen) and did nothing. That easily could have become a more extensive criminal record.

    - MENTAL HEALTH: His friends and teachers knew that he was disturbed (at least one to the point of calling the police), yet none had an effective intervention that led him to get help. Mental illness is hard for everyone to deal with and it is uncomfortable to discuss in our society, but actively involved friends are really important.

    His parents were at best clueless. When your kid gets thrown out of college for mental health issues, builds a death shrine in the backyard, and posts really bizarre stuff on his YouTube channel/MySpace which then escalates to violent threats about killing police officers and brandishing handguns, maybe that is a hint that he needs help.

    - BOTH: Local law enforcement knew that (A) he was making death threats against people and (B) knew that he was having mental health issues at the school (they were called to remove him from class at one point). Apparently, none of those multiple law enforcement contacts/detentions ever became charges. He could have been arrested for making terroristic threats, assault, or stalking. If one of the victims of death threats had a restraining order should have added him to the NICS list. If he had been arrested and charged with a lesser misdemeanor like assault it would not have been a prohibiting offense but it would have gotten him into the justice system; the DA could easily have cut a deal that involved a suspended sentence in exchange for him getting mental health evaluation and treatment -- or put him in jail for awhile, where at least he couldn't hurt anyone. That might have woken up the parents.

    EMERGENCY ADDITION: Even in the interrim without going through the requirements of due process, a concerned friend or family member or teacher could potentially have called the NICS hotline for a short term emergency addition to the list while a more permanent fix in line with due process was in the works. The FBI's site talks about that as an option.

    I'm fine with educating people about mental illness and what community resources are available to help. That's something that can increase the chances that someone notices the problem and gets professional help involved. Too long has mental illness been stigmatized and mysterious.

    Likewise, I think this illustrates the importance of victims of stalking/threats filing police reports, documenting it, and taking out protective orders. That piece of paper won't necessarily protect you if the stalker decides to take violent action, but they do increase the chances of getting the perp into the justice and/or mental health system. Often police are so busy with today's violent crimes that unless the victims of stalking/threats are assertive their cases get left as lower priority. That's where victim advocates and education that helps victims know what their options are can both come in.

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  20. No, I would not support sending his name to the NICS because there is that little thing called "due process".

    I'm sure you've heard of it. Well, I hope you've heard of it.

    1.) There are mechanisms in place to properly determine the mental health of an individual.
    Those weren't followed.

    Since they weren't followed, does it make sense to have another layer of complexity and bureaucracy to the equation?

    2.) Sending a person's name in would be done by who? Trained mental health experts or people who lack the proper background in evaluating mental health?

    Seems to me that doing so would open the system up to huge levels of abuse, malfeasance and simple incompetence.

    3.) That "Due Process" thing is a biggie. Sending his name into the NICS is taking away his rights without ever letting him defend himself.

    Isn't that turning the whole concept of "innocent until proven guilty" upside down?

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  21. AWB reinstatement, check; registration, check; going after lawful concealed carry, check; curtailing access to semiautomatic firearms, check; prohibit private sales, check)" We have simply not proposed some of your list here.

    Except you just did, in your previous post.

    - AWB: "It needs to be said here that if the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 had not been allowed to lapse in 2004..." (Note that the AWB also affected access to a whole bunch of semiauto firearms!)
    - Lawful Concealed Carry: "As to Arizona gun laws, people who carry guns don't need a permit to do so..."

    \\

    I guess it is fair to say that you didn't push for private sales in the above post. I was thinking of a statement by a pro-gun control legislator:

    "Another vocal supporter of gun control, Illinois Rep. Mike Quigley, told POLITICO that he hopes “something good” can come from the Arizona tragedy — perhaps discussion of a new assault weapons ban, sales at gun shows and tracing measures."

    And the tags on the Brady Campaign Blog's latest post about the Giffords shooting (http://blog.bradycampaign.org/?p=3078):

    Posted in Brady Background Checks, Closing The Gun Show Loophole, General, Gun, Gun Crime, Gun deaths, Second Amendment, nra

    As we've discussed, most plans to close the gun show loophole are really efforts to restrict or close the private sales loophole, and most of those also require some sort of registration scheme and/or "lost & stolen" measure to be effective.

    So, I apologize for tossing the private sales and registration ones in there. I know that not everyone in your camp holds uniform opinions. I've just been reading so many news stories and blog posts that it must have blurred together.

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  22. "Would you all support sending the name of someone like Loughner to NICS?"

    I'd not oppose sending Loughner to NICS, but I'd not expect it to make much of a difference. Failing a NICS check would not have kept him from getting a gun, or finding some other more lethal tool if he could not.

    The real question is why was Loughner left free to wander the streets.

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  23. Let's see Virginia Tech, the shooter used a legally purchased firearm.

    In this situation, the shooter also used a legally purchased firearm.

    This was despite the concerns over mental illness in both cases. Neither rose to the level where the shooters could be barred from purchasing firearms under existing laws.

    In other jurisdictions with a British Common law heritage, there is no concept of "gun rights"--note the reactions post-Hungerford, dDunblane, and Port Arthur.

    In the US, there will be a lot of talk, but it will ignore the elephant in the room, which is easy access to firearms. Firearms that make killing multiple people easy.

    Being held at gunpoint is not my idea of freedom, but that is what is held out as freedom in the US.

    The Tom Tomorrow Cartoon was far to accurate as to how the US reacts.

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  24. Words- I could write volumes about your links. The first one is really interesting. I really can't see the source for it. I spent a lot of years working in a school district with special education children. I can tell you that we were very careful not to mislabel any children. On the other hand, we assessed many children who truly had mental disabilities for which they needed extra help. The only way to get some of these children the services they needed was to have a label. That is the way our system works. The DSMV manual specifically looks at attributes of various mental disabilities and how to arrive at naming the disability. I may agree that there is over labeling but I would be concerned on the other end that we are not identifying children early enough who need help and who have serious problems. Thus we have Jared Loughner who perhaps could have been identified earlier. The problem with that is that some mental illnesses don't manifest themselves until early adulthood. Schizophrenia comes to mind. As to your second link, pardon me if I am suspicious of a "university" with the name Individual Sovereignty University. They believe in agorism- " Ideologically, it is a term representing a revolutionary type of free-market anarchism.[2] Schulman integrated the idea of counter-economics, the advocacy of untaxed black market activity, into Konkin's libertarian philosophy.[" So I am not sure what I think of the validity of that link. Surely this is a case of domestic abuse gone wrong. Sometimes people are committed by others but it is rare and people cannot be held against their will unless there are some circumstances requiring it. This does sound a bit like the Steig Larson series- "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", etc. Lisbeth was held as a child against her will in a mental facility by those who were evil and did not have her interests in mind. It can happen, but surely rare. This link was an eye opener to me. I didn't realize there were folks out there who actually believe in the ideas promoted by the "university" in the link. I actually find that to be scary given that they believe in a revolutionary type of anarchism. That should speak for itself. I don't know where you guys find stuff like this. It is surely not representative of main stream thought.

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  25. Aztec- is there proof that the Tucson area sheriff failed to enforce any laws?

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  26. Sean- " a concerned friend or family member or teacher could potentially have called the NICS hotline for a short term emergency addition to the list while a more permanent fix in line with due process was in the works. The FBI's site talks about that as an option." Interesting.

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  27. I remind you all that I am not the one who suggested that Loughner's name be sent to NICS. I am questioning you all since you have raised the issue as well and there are plenty of questions about this.

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  28. "Aztec- is there proof that the Tucson area sheriff failed to enforce any laws?"

    Yes. Loughner has a history of making public death threats against people which is a crime (and felony) in Arizona. The sheriff's department was contacted about the threats and they in turn made contact with Loughner. The sheriff's department has admitted to that much.

    What isn't known is why the sheriff's department failed to act. There should be an investigation into why someone who was committing multiple felonies was basically allowed to walk away from the law.

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  29. "is there proof that the Tucson area sheriff failed to enforce any laws?"

    Apparently, Loughner had a history of making public death threats, of which the Pima County Sheriff's Department was informed a number of times, and their response was the case was being adequately managed by the mental health system.

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  30. I hadn't heard that anything Lougner did rose to the level of a felony. Have you heard differently?

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  31. As I said, jedge- do you have actual proof of that?

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  32. We need different standards for determining mentally ill. There needs to be due process, but the standard needs to be different for a temporary emergency ban than it does for a lifetime ban, and there must be an appeals process. There also needs to be safeguards to keep this from being used maliciously--to expand a definition of mental illness to exclude minor, treatable or curable conditions, or as protection orders are often used, as a weapon in a divorce or custody battle.

    But...I have a neighbor across the street who is obviously mentally handicapped, although somewhat independent. Less obvious is that he has some issues with emotion and impulse control. He drives a car, which is frightening, especially if you see how he drives. I have no idea if he is officially mentally handicapped, no idea if he is allowed to buy a gun. I hope not, but since he has a car license, it appears that he is flying under the radar--as are very many people who should probably be officially diagnosed, even under the standards I would want. I see a tremendous potential for abuse, with little gain.

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  33. Love the flag treatment on the Glock in the pic, would love to have it on my own. do you know where I can have that done?
    On a more serious, and answerable note:
    In the article a local man claiming to be a policy analyst, who I have never heard of before, said this about Republicans and their views on guns: " Guns get a bad rap because bad guys occasionally use them to forcibly redistribute wealth. Only the government is allowed to distribute wealth. Guns are a symbol of freedom, and they give meaning to the words, “consent of the governed.”" If someone can tell me what this really means, I'd love to know. I have an eerie feeling that it means something quite scary after Saturday's shooting."

    You don't need "eerie feelings" or to be scared. It means simply what the 2nd Amendment says. Plain language. You also need to get your panties around the phrase "Shall not be infringed."

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  34. "a concerned friend or family member or teacher could potentially have called the NICS hotline for a short term emergency "

    Can you be more specific? This can't be the NICS # one calls to perform a background check since that # is only known to FFLs.

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  35. Thanks Pete. You need to get your shorts around the phrase" a well regulated militia"

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  36. "As I said, jedge- do you have actual proof of that?"

    At this point, all I have are news reports and opinion pieces, nothing I would consider actual evidence.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN0824904120110109

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703791904576075941558881006.html

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  37. Expanding on Sean's point, if a stricter law was passed that would require mental health professionals to report all patients that have access to guns, then I believe many gun owners who should get help would avoid getting help out of fear of being disarmed, even though a) their condition might be easily treatable and b) their condition is presently non-violent but could become violent over time if untreated. I would argue that such an environment would be worse for society.

    I've known mental health professionals who have lied on forms because restrictive insurance laws prevent them from getting the patient the help he or she needs. Passing laws that don't make sense pulls more otherwise law-abiding people into the law breaking pool. Laws are easily broken, with the Tuscon shooter breaking at least three.
    I don't see how society can legislate a risk-free environment.

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  38. Alexander Hamilton indicated a different meaning of the word as "regulated" was defined in the Federalist Papers. One that is most assuredly not what you define as "regulate" in the modern sense, but is very clear when taken into historical context, without trying to abridge it into something other than it meant.
    "To oblige the great body of the yeomanry and of the other classes of the citizens to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people and a serious public inconvenience and loss.
    --- The Federalist Papers, No. 29. "

    In a nutshell..... Familiar and comptetent would be the uptake of that phraseology.

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  39. hanks Pete. You need to get your shorts around the phrase" a well regulated militia"

    Ok lets read the WHOLE thing

    "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    Now I think maybe we need to teach basic sentence structure better. The sentence can be easily broken down. What is needed for the security of a free state Answer> a well regulated Militia. What shall not be infringed Answer> the right of the people to keep and bear Arms

    Common sense says Commas do mean things along with words.

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  40. Ah, so you are in favor of changing the second amendment then to fit what you want.

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  41. This seemed like a quasi-constructive post about how to keep firearms away from dangerous people for a while.

    When these exchanges revert to parsing the 2nd amendment - I immediately feel the we're debating "did the constitution intend for citizens to have guns?".

    It's difficult for me to engage in civil discourse about how we might adjust the NICS background check process, if I feel the ultimate goal of the other party is to disarm me and every other law abiding American.

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  42. You might want to brush up on the writing of the times the constitution was written. Here is a website that might shed some light on the matter. Below is an excerpt but the there are more examples of similar writings.

    The Second Amendment is widely seen as quite unusual, because it has a justification clause as well as an operative clause. Professor Volokh points out that this structure was actually quite commonplace in American constitutions of the Framing era: State Bills of Rights contained justification clauses for many of the rights they secured. Looking at these state provisions, he suggests, can shed light on how the similarly structured Second Amendment should be interpreted.

    http://www.law.ucla.edu/volokh/common.htm

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  43. Dear readers,

    I am not now going to get into a second amendment debate. The Supreme court said what the Supreme Court said. We aren' t going to change that now.

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  44. Joan Wrote: This does sound a bit like the Steig Larson series- "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", etc. Lisbeth was held as a child against her will in a mental facility by those who were evil and did not have her interests in mind

    I haven't read the third one yet, please don't spoil it yet! :)

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    Migo Wrote: Expanding on Sean's point, if a stricter law was passed that would require mental health professionals to report all patients that have access to guns, then I believe many gun owners who should get help would avoid getting help out of fear of being disarmed...

    This is actually a legitimate problem. For example, some military couples where abuse may be going on are reluctant to get help because a DV conviction will lead to the family breadwinner losing their job. Likewise, if we modify the prohibited person criteria and make it too easy to put people on the banned list, it may discourage people from getting treatment, going to marital counseling, etc. In Alaska there are a lot of people in rural communities -- small remote villages with very high suicide rates, unfortunately -- that are also dependent on firearms for hunting and other lawful purposes.

    There is some interesting research (http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/publications/factsheets/violence) out there that suggests that the mental illnesses themselves don't have more than a modest correlation with violent behavior. Instead, they argue that substance abuse and other related behaviors are what vastly increases the risk of violence. If true, then it may just be that more effective intervention and mental health treatment -- which in theory may reduce the risk of developing concurrent addictions or treat existing ones -- may be sufficient. If the treatment or rehab is court-ordered then I don't see why a judge couldn't order the individual to temporarily turn over their firearms while undergoing treatment as part of a plea deal, probation, or suspended sentence, for example.

    Of course, I haven't fulled reviewed the research, don't feel comfortable critiquing the methodology, and mental health isn't an area I know a whole lot about. I just have some personal experiences with people that dealt with problems of varying magnitude.

    No easy answers, unfortunately...

    \\

    And for once I agree with Joan and JDedge. I think there is actually a useful discussion about mental health going on here. I find it interesting at least. I don't think this is the right post for 2A Constitutional Law 102.

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  45. Yes, it would be difficult to screen out the mentally ill, but not impossible. It could be part of the "due process" that some kind of system be implemented that would capture the worst of the worst, atlleast that.

    What's interesting is that gun owners are so opposed to even attempting something like this.

    The other thing, which nobody is talking about, is the fact that in a large crowd in Arizona, no one had a gun. I don't believe that. I think there must have been several gun owners there besides the one who came forward after the shooting.

    I figure they either 1. hit the deck and lay trembling with fear till the shooting was over, or 2. couldn't intervene in time and decided to keep quiet about the fact that they'd been armed.

    The fact that no one had a gun in an Arizona crowd is just not believable.

    What this proves, of course, is that all the talk about guns making us safer, that guns in the right hands can stop these massacres, is crap.

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  46. I will tell you that I know someone who is bipolar and on medication. She functions quite well and works in our community as well as attending functions that I also attend. I have had some discussions with her about guns and those with mental illness. Her contention is that it discriminates against all with mental illness to make a blanket statement about them regarding guns. She is not a gun owner but is looking out for the rights of those with mental illness. Having said that, my brother-in-law, as we learned after he shot my sister, had some untreated mental illness. There are people in our world who walk around amongst us who we might not think are mentally ill. How often do we hear of a shooter who it turns out has mental illness and people are surprised. Some people do well with medications and go about their daily lives and never hurt anyone. Others, perhaps when other situations present themselves or in combination with drugs, alcohol, unemployment, divorce, financial problems, etc. do harm to themselves and others. It is a very complicated problem and we are not dealing with it because, in my opinion, mental illness is seen as something that must be hiddend and for many many years was not even included in health care discussions.

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  47. Actually, Mike B, above, someone did have a gun. He was interviewed on some station. If I can find it, I will share it. He ran around a corner with his gun ready and noticed someone holding a gun at the scene. As it turns out, the person holding the gun was one of those who subdued the shooter. An older gentleman who also helped subdue him was interviewed on one of the media outlets. He said that when the other man grabbed the gun he told him to drop the gun. The guy looked at him with surprise and he said he told him again to drop the gun because when the police came they wouldn't know who was the actual shooter and would perhaps shoot at him. The young man with the gun expressed that it would have made the already tragic situation even worse if he had actually shot the man holding the gun instead of the shooter. Thus is the problem with too many people with guns not knowing who was the original shooter.

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  48. Thus is the problem with too many people with guns not knowing who was the original shooter.

    How was this a problem? Sure there was potential for a problem, but it appears that every armed good guy acted sensibly. Have your predictions along this line EVER come true? Has there ever been a case of a civilian armed defender shooting an innocent or being shot by police in a mass shooting?

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  49. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110112/ap_on_re_us/us_self_defense_shooting

    ...you missed this one. Lawful carry permit holder successfully defended himself from an attack.

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  50. Pat- I wonder why you posted this comment here. It doesn't go with my post. Again- trying to prove that guns are useful and we all should have them in a public place. And then this: " Prosecutors said Tuesday they are convinced Thomas Baker acted in self defense when he fired eight shots at 18-year-old Carlos Mustelier near Tampa in November ." Did he have to shoot him 8 times. The teenager punched him and without the gun, what would have happened I wonder? Maybe the teen would still be alive and the guy would have been mugged but alive and not living with the fact that he has killed another human being who we don't know was armed or not- all because you guys have to have your guns and are soi paranoid that even if you think someone is going to kill you, you can shoot them and suffer no consequences. Nice try. I don't believe in Stand Your Ground laws. I think they are a dangerous precedent and a license to kill.

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  51. I posted it here to defend lawful carry, as you were questioning it above...and punches can kill too.

    http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2010/12/03/man-punched-in-bar-fight-dies-7-months-later/

    But according to you...I should roll-over, let the kid mug me, punch me, perhaps put me into a coma -- because thats better than shooting someone.

    Just checking the pulse again. As usual, you performed your part.

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  52. I haven't rolled over and I'm not comatose. You can count on that, Pat. It's always so nice in a civil dialogue to know that your opponents are baiting you and waiting to pounce. It it so "adult like" of you.

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  53. Perfectly civil. I'm not attacking you personally (I'm sure you're a perfectly nice person) - and I haven't resorted to violent rhetoric or images either.

    This is how civil debate works. You've clarified your position yet again. I didn't say YOU personally should roll over or become comatose - did you read my post?

    I was asking if I (me, myself, Pat, not you) should allow myself to be punched, mugged, put into a coma -- just so that someone doesn't get shot.

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  54. Pat- what does this mean then? " Just checking the pulse again. As usual, you performed your part." You were baiting me to get a rise out of me. I must admit to being suspicous about what you guys say here when so many of you are baiting me so you can use my comments elsewhere. I would love an honest discussion here which is hard to have when people are accusing you of things you have done and then trying to "get you" with accusatory questions. That is not the way I do business.

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  55. I must admit to being suspicous about what you guys say here when so many of you are baiting me so you can use my comments elsewhere. I would love an honest discussion here which is hard to have when people are accusing you of things you have done and then trying to "get you" with accusatory questions. That is not the way I do business.

    I don't know why you have such resistance to expressing your views fully and honestly--either your views are justified, or they aren't. Keeping your actual views hidden doesn't make them more justifiable.

    The problem I have is that your statements are so often contradictory and misleading. "don't want to take my guns" apparently means that you personally aren't going to knock on my door and ask me to hand them over--but as far as I can tell, you support restrictions on just about everything invented after about 1900. Your usual response is a brusque 'nonsense' or similar, but without any clarification.

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  56. The Arizona scene proved that in spite of all the macho bluster about guns in legal hands being able to stop mass shootings, this one went on until it was done. By chance, the guy or guys in the crowd who did have guns, which I figure is quite probable since this is Arizona, did not make things worse, but the didn't help worth a damn.

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  57. The problem with your comment Sevesteen is that it is not based on what I have been saying. Have you see me write that I want to restrict anything made after 1900? What caused you to say that? I have not said that. That is why I don't always answer your provactive questions. I say what I say in my posts and then you guys go after me with the same questions you ask on every post as if I hadn't just written what I thought. What you see is what you get. I think there are some guns that are necessary for hunting and self protection because they end up in the hands of the wrong people and occasionally , yes, even law abiding citizens misuse them. The plain fact is that guns cause more injury deaths than other weapons in this country. That is a singular problem in the U.S. More guns have meant more gun deaths. It is easy to draw that conclusion. I am not the only one in the country to say that. Sometimes you guys act as if I am saying what I am saying in a vacuum where there are no other people there with me or no other facts to support it. I have provided you with fact after fact after fact to support what I am talking about. You have chosen not to believe my facts. That is not my problem. But if you listen carefully to the national discourse now happening, you will find that most people agree with me and not you. You are in a minority- yes a very noisy, bullying, intimidating minority that is represented by a powerful well funded group of people leading you. That is a fact.

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  58. Have you see me write that I want to restrict anything made after 1900? What caused you to say that?

    Not made after 1900, invented after 1900. What causes me to say that is that you have objected to virtually every major advance in gun technology that happened after 1900, with the possible exception of plastic frames.

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  59. Another distraction not worthy of my comment.

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