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Author: Subject: My proposal to address mass shootings and potential violent persons

Maximum Peach





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  posted on 2/17/2018 at 06:39 PM
Below is some condensed thoughts I had. Please post any questions, messages of agreement or disagreement. Suggestions, or errors in my judgement or understanding is also welcomed.

Hopefully this can be constructive.





I do not think that mass shootings can be stopped. That is an awful conclusion to come to terms with. I say that for a variety of social, cultural and family issues that go beyond the intention here. However, there is work that we can do to hopefully reduce the frequency and severity of these events while also limiting the perpetrator’s ability to carry out the attacks.

The approach must be multifaceted as no singular action will yield the desired results.

Whether or not the people who act out in such a way are mentally ill in a clinical way, or a figurative way doesn’t necessarily matter. For whatever reason, they have the vision and desire carryout a murderous event that no normal person envision. These people through their actions and words often put out warning signs, and those signs need to be recognized and relayed and recorded by authority and law enforcement departments. I will address both the means and tool they commonly use in their attacks and attempting to prevent the attack before it happens.

Here are my suggestions:

BUYING GUNS:

• Universal background checks for all firearm. This will apply to all states and US territories where any person-to-person firearm transaction is taking place. An individual private seller will have to comply with the same federal background check that licensed firearm dealers have to undergo (or they can complete the sale with assistance of the licensed dealer through the NICS background check system). This applies to family members as well.

• Semi-automatic rifles sales will have the same purchase regulations and rules applied to them as handguns. Meaning the buyer must be atleast 21 years of age, must be able to prove residency in the state of purchase.

• High capacity magazines will be banned effective immediately. High capacity magazine is defined as any detachable rifle or handgun cartridge/magazine holding more than 10 rounds. Existing high capacity magazines will be legal, however any sale or transfer of the magazine will be subject to the same federal background check as all firearms. Since high cap mags do not have serial numbers, they are not traceable and therefore sellers may not feel in danger of selling outside background check system – although they would still be risking be caught in a federal crime by doing so.

• Firearm purchase background checks will also be cross-referenced with buyer’s local Sheriff department to ensure accuracy of federal and state information on buyer.

• FBI or ATF will record and keep the data from the 4474 form in their database effective immediately, controversially starting a federal registry system. This is important since a buyer can have a clean background check at original time of purchase, but at a later date, information may go into their background which would exclude them from future sales. By maintaining record of past sales, authorities will know who has what and should they deem appropriate, if subject is thought to be a threat to the public, they may take the subject to court in order to force forfeiture of known firearms previously purchased.

SCHOOLS:

• Every school district will create a new position employing at least one person for a security department. The funding for this position will be a ballot levy in every school district across the country. If a community fails to support creation and funding for this position they run the risk of having a less safe school for their families and the families of their friends, neighbors and coworkers. That ultimately will be their decision. Failed levies will be placed annually on ballots to ensure opinion in the community is accurately represented. Money collected for this position will go into a fund specifically for this security department and can not be used for any other expenses or liabilities within the district. The security department will provide annual reports for school board members and made available to the public documenting efforts and financial costs (no names of subjects or detail on actual investigations will be made public). The school board can vote for a ballot initiative to terminate the position if they determine it is no longer needed, the community voters will ultimately decide.

• The role of the security department is not meant to provide patrol or armed security, instead they will be the lead contact for any and all complaints, tips or concerns regarding potential violent outbursts and danger posed by any fellow student past or present, or even among a student’s family members should information on such surface. They will also monitor public activity and communication of any suspicious subject to the extent possible by law. This person will report all issues to the school principal, district super intendent. It will be their task to determine what are legitimate concerns vs false, pranks or misleading reports. When appropriate, local law enforcement will be brought into the loop.

EMPLOYERS/MILITARY:

• Empower human resource departments or others responsible for employee affairs at private, public and nonprofit businesses along with volunteer-based and temporary worker agencies along with labor union leadership to report concerning or suspicious information on a subject with local law enforcement. To avoid potential intentionally false accusations, the HR official or business/union representative must have at least two accounts affirming the issue and subject in question.

• Revise military discharge terms to better align with firearm purchase eligibility or exclusions. Currently “bad conduct” discharge does not carry the same significance as “dishonorable”.

MEDICAL:

• Empower and require medical facilities, providers and professionals to submit any causes of concern and suspicious behavior and comments to local law enforcement. Change HIPPA regulations to accommodate this requirement.

LAW ENFORCEMENT:

• When law enforcement sees appropriate, they will seek a warrant to monitor the subject’s social media accounts and activity. Upon approval of the warrant, the desired social media company(s) must allow their member/user to be surveilled in accordance with the warrant. Failing to comply will result in contempt and possible charges as an accessory in any related crime the subject commits.

• If evidence exists, law enforcement can question and possibly charge the subject with any unlawful activity. If no law has been broken, but remaining evidence points to suspicious or concerning activity that information will be shared with county Sheriffs and federal law enforcement for possible inclusion into the criminal background check system should those higher authorities see fit. This information will remain in the subject’s “file” indefinitely. If such information leads to a firearm purchase rejection, a process will be established to contest and challenge the information in the “file” and to potentially clear the “file” of any objectionable warnings or concerns. The burden will be on the subject to clear themselves.

• In addition to being permitted to monitor social media accounts in accordance with a warrant, law enforcement will establish new departments where they do not already exist to conduct operations in online message boards and public forums for suspicious or threatening activity consistent with carrying out acts of violence. This can happen at the federal FBI level as well as the local level. Agencies may work in sting operations to engage subjects for the purpose of data collection or potential criminal charges in applicable. They may also seek a warrant for further in depth surveillance. Findings and results will be shared with county Sheriffs and federal background check program to potentially deny a firearm purchase.

FUNDING:

• In addition to the school levy for the school security funding, additional local, state and federal law enforcement actions here will be funding by additional tax on all guns and ammo sales.


[Edited on 2/17/2018 by nebish]

 
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Universal Peach



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  posted on 2/17/2018 at 08:31 PM
A lot there to digest. I need a day or two. At the very least, AR-15 and similar type weapons can no longer be sold to the general public.

 

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World Class Peach



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  posted on 2/17/2018 at 10:30 PM
Bravo ! Sound reasoning, well thought out and clearly presented. Unfortunately it is pearls before us whipping post swine. I recommend you send this to every paper you can.

Your school security task force would do well to have police psychologists on board - there is all kinds of crazy anger and threats all the time, mostly of no account - sifting through and zeroing in on the one actual killer out of millions of raving maniacal kids is gonna be tough.

The gun ideas are good, seems the way to proceed is assume it as given that no matter what the laws are, guns will be in circulation, so prevention and defense in potential target zones ought to be priority.

 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 2/18/2018 at 12:04 AM
I am comfortable opening myself up for critique here as I can learn and take tips from fellow users (even if it just seems I'm defending myself, I am the type that does take differing points of view into account). I never sent anything to be published, like a letter to editor or anything, I try to be very thorough and put together well thought out pieces, but having something in a paper makes me nervous. I would atleast want to add some more refinements to strengthen my positions.

I did share it with two people tonight for direct conversation, my most liberal friend who is very outspoken against the NRA and assault-type weapons. I had a quite uncomfortable dinner with him once in rural Colorado when the restaurant was almost dead silent except for him talking about dead children and compared NRA members to the people who shoot up schools and movie theaters.

I also shared it with my stepson who is a school teacher for his perspective.

A third close friend of mine is a huge Trump supporter. I engaged him by text tonight and found him to be easily manipulated from saying "the NRA shouldn't bear any blame" to "yes they should enact more restrictions".

This is what I find alot. It's all about approach and easing into the discussion and how the points are made. People are often unprepared to defend what they thought they believed. I'll have another easy one tomorrow with my other friend when we watch the Daytona 500.

That is the low hanging fruit, the real challenge will be my friends who own AR15s and are big gun guys. My one friend who doesn't own an AR like to say how much he likes high cap mags for his Glocks. I think he even bought some AR15 high cap mags at one time as an "investment" when the things were on a big backorder. I will need to have my A game strong for those talks.

I haven't written my Congressman in a long time, but am considering writing my Governor, Congressional representatives, the NRA and the President.

The other thread isn't viable for meaningful dialogue at this point, so if anyone wants to try and stick to the issues hopefully we can do it here.

 

Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 2/18/2018 at 09:49 AM
This seems very well thought out and has the potential to save lives. It also wouldn't affect 98% of gun owners, which is key in getting something actually passed into law. The only thing I would add is a manditory safety training class to purchase a firearm and a requirement to update the training every 10 years.
 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 2/18/2018 at 10:49 AM
quote:
This seems very well thought out and has the potential to save lives. It also wouldn't affect 98% of gun owners, which is key in getting something actually passed into law. The only thing I would add is a manditory safety training class to purchase a firearm and a requirement to update the training every 10 years.


Regarding the training, it seems that would lead to a ownership license requirement - which I'm not necessarily opposed to. I do think that falls more towards the restrictive and controversial side of the spectrum from the pro-gun types. I've suggested a gun registry moving forward, so I'm not adverse to controversial measures.

I think the training requirement would have to be a licensing issue because it would oversight by someone and documented with a start date, and then a renewal date with necessary means of enforcement.

It could be comparable to what a concealed carry weapon permit is. I have a photo ID with an issue and expiration date that I had to go to my local Sheriff's office to pick up.

So really we'd be talking about just expanding an existing training program in many states that is in place for CCW and apply something similar for all firearm purchases. If you already have your license then you do not need to have a new training class until your renewal.

I think this could get broad support which would lead to pressure on the pro-gun side to yield. Having a license ensuring you have been through a training course does not infringe upon one's rights - the only way it would is if you have failed the course or the Sheriff department denied your license, both of which should exclude one from purchasing a gun. Or I guess, it would delay the purchase of a first time gun buyer, they would have to schedule their class, complete the course and get their license before they could take possession. That would be the argument against it from the pro-gun side. I don't see the problem still. Responsible, reasonable people should see no problem with this. In fact it is likely much less controversial than my gun registry idea and more realistic to implement.

 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 2/18/2018 at 11:23 AM
quote:
A lot there to digest. I need a day or two. At the very least, AR-15 and similar type weapons can no longer be sold to the general public.


I keep trying to see a way that banning the gun gets the results we want. My friends and family who tend to be anti-gun of course think it will. And I already know my friends on the right what their position is.

Murder is going to happen. Mass murder too, is going to happen. If we remove one of the tools the perpetrator uses, they will substitute another tool.

But that is still good, we take away the most effective tool, the semi-automatic rifle and force them to use something else. What will that give us?

Well, the perp would probably use another gun. So the event is still going to take place in all probability. If all we do is take the semi-automatic rifle out of the equation and leave everything else static, the perp is still going to launch the attack. Maybe using a handgun, maybe a shot gun, maybe a traditional rifle.

But even then, by removing the semi-auto rifle we have succeeded because now the leathality (if that is a word) has been improved. The high powered capability of the semi-auto rifle inflicts much more damage on the victim and allows more rounds to be fired at a faster rate. So removing it has potentially increased the odds of more people living. Naturally this is good.

So if we take it further, ban all guns. Let's just say. What is the perp going to resort to? Explosive devices, knifes, crude weapons of other varieties. Unless we assume the perp's only desire to kill with a gun, then removing the gun still leaves the perp wanting to inflict his harm towards others and they will seek the means to do it. And that says nothing about illegal guns being available on the black market - let's just leave that out at the moment.

Here again, we have succeeded because potentially odds of more people living are increased without the gun used as the tool. Attacks with knives send more people to the hospital than the morgue, hopefully. Attacks with explosives can be quite lethal and infact the largest school killing in our country's history was with explosives. And explosives can be made with fertilizer and all that kind of stuff - although this process may lend itself to more delay and setbacks for the perp, but it can be done that way. So without the gun, a motivated perp can still get murderous results, but perhaps more favorable results for us.

Now the question, can we really ban the gun? No we can't.

Can we ban the semi-automatic gun? No we can't. It just is not realistic. Even if that is the ultimate goal, I think people feeling that way would acknowledge to get there it would have to be in small steps.

Can we ban the semi-automatic rifle? Didn't we do that before? Yes and no. The 1994 Assault Weapons Ban I think is not completely understood by alot of people. They think guns like the AR15 were banned and not legally produced or sold from 1994-2004. That is not the case. All manufacturers had to do with change the cosmetics of their guns to comply withe rules of the ban and effectively the same functioning gun was legally available for sale. This is ture, this if fact. You could buy a semi-automatic rifle that looks just like most of the ones used with a pistol grip and a detachable magazine between 1994-2004 with the same buying procedure you can today.

Back to the question, can we ban the semi-automatic rifle? So the answer is yes we can and if we do it like Dianne Feinstein would like to do it, this ban would be much more effective than the 1994 ban as gun control advocates have learned from the mistakes of the 1994 ban. So let's just say Feinstein's bill becomes law. Her bill grandfathers in all firearms lawfully possessed before enactment of her bill. So, what effect is it really going to have then? The number of firearms in circulation now is substantially more than it was in 1994. In 1994 there were an estimated 1.5 million "assault weapons". I read in June of 2016 it was estimated there were a total of 5-10 million AR15s in the US.

So, ok, we enact Senator Feinstein's bill. Assault weapons are banned. Perpetrator wants to shoot up a school or office or bus station, they can still buy an assualt rifle if they want one, assuming they pass the background check, because there are as many as 10 million or more technically available for sale, legally, despite the new assault weapons ban.

See, I really really really think this boils more squarely down to getting more data into the background check system. And in some way or another, it needs to be proactive in getting potentially dangerous people excluded from buying guns. Deep screening of people. I genuinely feel, that when you look at all of the realistic options on the table, that better use of the background check is going to have the greatest impact on what we are trying to achieve.

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 2/18/2018 at 02:52 PM
quote:
A lot there to digest. I need a day or two. At the very least, AR-15 and similar type weapons can no longer be sold to the general public.


I too need time to go thru all the suggestions, but I want to open the question up, what types of weapons should law abiding citizens be able to purchase and own, in people' s opinions?

1. What do regular citizens, the GENERAL PUBLIC, actually need for safety, personal and home defense?

I think we all agree people NEED to be required to be properly trained, and should be required to go back for refresher trainings on a regular basis?


2. What about sportsmen, hunting enthusiasts who are also GENERAL PUBLIC with no military training/background? Should the list of what they can own be expanded to include more/different weapons than the regular soccer Mom who is divorced and just wants to protect her home from her lunatic ex-husband or any crack heads roaming the neighborhood who want to break in at night to rob her?

 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 2/18/2018 at 10:55 PM
I hope our two Jerrys feel compelled to contribute, Bhawk Jerry and Jerry Jerry because I think both can weigh in with meaningful perspectives.

It is difficult to say what any American should or shouldn't have. Certainly nobody needs to own a semi-automatic rifle and they certainly don't need to own high capacity magazines. Personal defense, hunting, recreational and competition target shooting and collecting would not be negatively impacted if those firearms were banned effective immediately. The only thing negatively impacted would be choice and presumably the manufacturers and jobs of people who make the now banned guns.

The major limitation with the bans and even the ban proposed by Senator Feinstein is the grandfather clause allowing all preban guns and magazines to remain in the market. So the immediate impact of this type of ban is going to be minimal. To be fair, if preban guns are not grandfathered it would create quite the rebellion and whether or not we are prepared for that I do not know. But even somebody considered pretty liberal in Dianne Feinstein even allows preban guns to be grandfathered.

Now, I think if we are honest, long term by not further increasing the population of certain guns in circulation, that is where the impact can be had. I think it is very important to be honest and sincere with what we are attempting to do and the chances of reaching our goals with the measures we take. We must not just do "something" "anything". I want something that is going to yield results, now and later, this is why foremost I want to widen and strengthen the background check system. While I do not think that a new gun ban will have an immediate result, I will yield to others who feel that it is still necessary due to the longer term effect it could have. I'm not proposing it, but I would not oppose it at the same time.

In the meantime, here is analysis of a 2004 report that both the left and the right have cherry picked to back their claims of the ineffectiveness or effectiveness of the 1994 ban.
https://www.factcheck.org/2013/02/did-the-1994-assault-weapons-ban-work/

And here is the actual report itself:
https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/204431.pdf

I read somewhere that Christopher Koper issued a 2013 report with updated data, but strangely I have not been able to find that report free of charge online.

Here is something else, the source is going to be objectionable to the right, but I will use it until a comparable report from the right can be sourced. I will take this Motherjones report at face value. In an effort to stay on topic, anyone who wants to criticize the Motherjones report I hope you would only do so while submitting your own comparable report for consideration.

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/mass-shootings-mother-jones-fu ll-data/

This is a quite detailed list and can be downloaded in a full spreadsheet view. Here we can see that the total number of mass shootings documented of 3 or more deaths from 2005-2018 totaled 62 cases which comes to 4.4 cases per year avg, including the two in 2018. The years 1994-2004 produced 17 cases over 11 years which comes to 1.5 per year. Based on other reporting from 1900-2004 and also 1982-1994, the per year mass shooting case averages about 1.5 per year. Now how do they classify mass shooting or shooting spree vs conventional gun related homicide I do not know. The vast vast majority of gun murders are committed by hand guns.

Back to the data, evidence suggests the ban did not necessarily lower the annual average case of mass shootings per year, it stayed about 1.5 per year. But what we all already knew, there has been a dramatic increase post ban, this data just confirms it, sitting at 4.4 per year now.

The easiest thing we can point to that changed after 2004 is the availability of more guns into the market. Although, it is very important to note that during the ban manufacturers changed cosmetic features of banned guns to comply with the ban and still functioned just as lethal. And while they could accept high capacity magazines, the only legal high cap mags available were pre ban. The 1995 pre ban high capacity magazine population was estimated at 25 million, these were legal to own and use and they fit in all the guns made during the ban. Another 4.7 million estimated pre ban produced high cap mags were legally imported during a period of 1995-2000. So for certain, there were semi-auto high powered rifles accepting high cap mags sold legally during the ban and there were as many as 29.7 million high cap mags available during the ban that could legally be bought. What changed post ban is an absolute flood of both post ban semi-auto rifles and high cap mags and sales surged accordingly. Where relatively little demand for these items existed during the ban period, when the ban sun-setted it started a buying frenzy and has led to both the problem of the AR15 style rifle being normalized to a vast degree and also the number in circulation really stacks the deck against the effectiveness of any new ban so long as pre ban guns remain grandfathered.

 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 2/18/2018 at 11:14 PM
I heard one of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students in an interview today cite 18 school shootings in 2018 even though that number had been proven false days ago. Everyone who wants action on this issue must stick as close to the facts available as possible. Inaccurate or false claims one way or the other only undermines the work to be done.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/no-there-havent-been-18-school-shootin g-in-2018-that-number-is-flat-wrong/2018/02/15/65b6cf72-1264-11e8-8ea1-c1d9 1fcec3fe_story.html?utm_term=.4a4de859a394

 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 2/18/2018 at 11:56 PM
This is a very good list of how mentally ill people are or are not entered into state or federal back ground check systems. We need to get this process standardized and required.

http://lawcenter.giffords.org/gun-laws/policy-areas/background-checks/menta l-health-reporting/

If we are going to talk about mental health reporting into the NICS system that complies with constitutional rights this is a framework to employ nationally.

 

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  posted on 2/19/2018 at 10:33 AM
quote:
This is a very good list of how mentally ill people are or are not entered into state or federal back ground check systems. We need to get this process standardized and required.

http://lawcenter.giffords.org/gun-laws/policy-areas/background-checks/menta l-health-reporting/

If we are going to talk about mental health reporting into the NICS system that complies with constitutional rights this is a framework to employ nationally.




Good to see you are supporting President Trump’s efforts to fix a broken system:

Trump backs efforts to improve federal gun background checks, White House says
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/02/18/trump-backs-efforts-to-improve-f ederal-gun-background-checks-white-house-says.html




 

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  posted on 2/19/2018 at 12:05 PM
quote:
Good to see you are supporting President Trump’s efforts to fix a broken system:



nebish, who ever said debating in the Whipping Post was a waste of time was wrong. You've influenced Presidential policy!

 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 2/19/2018 at 03:15 PM
quote:
quote:
Good to see you are supporting President Trump’s efforts to fix a broken system:



nebish, who ever said debating in the Whipping Post was a waste of time was wrong. You've influenced Presidential policy!




quote:
quote:This is a very good list of how mentally ill people are or are not entered into state or federal back ground check systems. We need to get this process standardized and required.

http://lawcenter.giffords.org/gun-laws/policy-areas/background-checks/menta l-health-reporting/

If we are going to talk about mental health reporting into the NICS system that complies with constitutional rights this is a framework to employ nationally.





Good to see you are supporting President Trump’s efforts to fix a broken system:

Trump backs efforts to improve federal gun background checks, White House says
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/02/18/trump-backs-efforts-to-improve-f ederal-gun-background-checks-white-house-says.html


I will cautiously say thank you for bringing this up and may we be united in getting some reasonable things moving forward. It doesn't matter that Trump, up until this weekend, made no such effort to support last fall's bill, but if he is getting behind it now, that is good. Right? Because the Gun Owners of American went on record against it. The NRA is actually supportive of it. House Republicans seems the only way they might support it is if the Senate were to combine it with their national concealed carry reciprocity bill. But all that inside politics stuff will work itself out in the coming sessions. Let's stay positive for now.

Here is the text of the Cornyn sponsored bill

https://www.congress.gov/115/bills/s2135/BILLS-115s2135is.pdf

I see absolutely nothing objectionable in there. If I am reading things right, the federal government can not currently force the states to submit the data for the NICS due to 10th amendment concerns, so in order to entice their compliance they use grant money and penalties for those who do and do not. They want full reporting of felony conviction and domestic violence records. It also states that anyone convicted of a crime carrying the penalty of 1 year or more in jail be identified. These are good and just improvements and the states should certainly comply.

Now, it does not address any mental health related issues which was what my post that mule quoted in response to me.

One thing at a time, if they want to pass this NICS fix first for criminal offenders as a stand alone, very well. They can then move to trying to get more mental health data on individuals into the system as well with another bill.

 

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  posted on 2/20/2018 at 08:41 AM
I don't have much to add but I read your ideas and appreciate your thoughtfulness on the issue, Nebish.

 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 2/21/2018 at 10:51 AM
The more I've thought about this the more I do like the training/license law that would be administered by the Sheriff department. The benefit of this, would be the safety training, but I think the bigger benefit is if the state license works as a check requirement with the federal NICS system, making it less likely something falls through the cracks. Once somebody has their license and they are in the database as a valid license holder, any negative data that we believe should be in the system can get entered and the license holder in effect get's flagged and suspended. So the firearm seller checks the status of the license while checking the NICS. One would hope the information between the two would be in sync, but if it is not, the state license check can provide additional verification. Many states that run a CCW training class already has the system in place to expand that and apply it to the buyer/owner license. That is definitely something I would support.

So that is a state run regulation. And there is alot of focus on the news about what Congress and the President will or won't do which ignores the fact that states can set their own rules and regs and arguably, state legislatures and governors have a better chance at reflecting the will of their citizens.

The NICS Fix bill in the Senate looks like a good bill. What the House did by attaching the Concealed Carry Reciprocity law is troublesome to me, and I say that as a CCW license holder. I have been concerned that if I want to travel from state to state if my CCW will be lawful in another state. States that I have checked online offer reciprocity status with other states so one can see what states recognize their CCW permits. Ohio for instance has CCW reciprocity agreements with 39 states. Pennsylvania acknowledges 29 other states. Colorado has agreements with 33 states. These numbers have generally grown over the years as states communicate and understand what requirements others do or don't have for issuing their permits. While I support the intent of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity bill passed by the house, such as for somebody who travels for work and needs to be concerned about their status when crossing into other states, however I think this is a matter best left for the states, and this is a state's rights issue. Some would argue that different attorney generals from election to election could change the reciprocity agreeements which makes it harder to keep up on the legal status. This is true, but I think the views a state's population should be allowed to change one way or the other. A national one-size fits all law on this isn't good. Congress tied it to Commerce Clause to justify their involvement. I would ultimately hope to see a clean NICS Fix bill pass both houses.

Then the challenge remains how to get mental health data into the background check system. We've seen how this issue can make for strange bedfellows such as the NRA and ACLU being on the same side on the social security recipient representative issue. There must be a way we can figure out how to get people with mental issues into the background check system. I thought the Giffords Law Center addressed this well.

Taking it further, what about people on SSRI drugs? Can we, should we, deny people their gun rights if they are on certain medications? What about gun rights/restrictions for parents of children with mental challenges? Maybe children who have been entered into special education services should be on the no-buy list and maybe their parents gun purchase rights should be restricted? How? We would potentially be discriminating a large group of people that would never be violent. Is that right? I think this is the most difficult part of the entire discussion...how to identify potentially violent people before they show signs of violence and is doing so legal?

 

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  posted on 2/21/2018 at 11:24 AM
quote:
The more I've thought about this the more I do like the training/license law that would be administered by the Sheriff department. The benefit of this, would be the safety training, but I think the bigger benefit is if the state license works as a check requirement with the federal NICS system, making it less likely something falls through the cracks.


I was thinking that too. A lot of people are quick to equate the regulation of guns and automobiles in an attempt to mitigate the deadliness of firearms, but not when it comes to licensing. Typically there are classes required for conceal permits, but this kind of contact would help insure we aren't just relying on rubber stamped paper work where something can get easily over-looked.

 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 2/21/2018 at 12:20 PM
This is very long, but very good. I will post it here since New York Times has limitations on the number of fre articles your browser can read a month.

This article details some specific stories of mentally disturbed people and the legal issues authorities face with the guns they own. It also highlights the actions some states have taken to keep guns out of the hands of mentally unstable people.

I don't know what measures we would need to take to try and "fix" these people and give them treatment that might improve their conditions. But I certainly know that any questionable person needs to be excluded from purchases and owning a firearm. That is where the mental health issue needs to go first and foremost, bar them from the guns. This article highlights some of the challenges and some of the solutions.

quote:
When the Right to Bear Arms Includes the Mentally Ill
By MICHAEL LUO and MIKE McINTIREDEC. 21, 2013

Photo - (A search and seizure warrant from April 15 describes the events that led to Mark Russo’s guns being removed from him.)

Last April, workers at Middlesex Hospital in Connecticut called the police to report that a psychiatric patient named Mark Russo had threatened to shoot his mother if officers tried to take the 18 rifles and shotguns he kept at her house. Mr. Russo, who was off his medication for paranoid schizophrenia, also talked about the recent elementary school massacre in Newtown and told a nurse that he “could take a chair and kill you or bash your head in between the eyes,” court records show.

The police seized the firearms, as well as seven high-capacity magazines, but Mr. Russo, 55, was eventually allowed to return to the trailer in Middletown where he lives alone. In an interview there recently, he denied that he had schizophrenia but said he was taking his medication now — though only “the smallest dose,” because he is forced to. His hospitalization, he explained, stemmed from a misunderstanding: Seeking a message from God on whether to dissociate himself from his family, he had stabbed a basketball and waited for it to reinflate itself. When it did, he told relatives they would not be seeing him again, prompting them to call the police.

As for his guns, Mr. Russo is scheduled to get them back in the spring, as mandated by Connecticut law.

“I don’t think they ever should have been taken out of my house,” he said. “I plan to get all my guns and ammo and knives back in April.”

The Russo case highlights a central, unresolved issue in the debate over balancing public safety and the Second Amendment right to bear arms: just how powerless law enforcement can be when it comes to keeping firearms out of the hands of people who are mentally ill.

Photo - (Mark Russo expects to get his 18 weapons back this April. Credit Christopher Capozziello for The New York Times)

Connecticut’s law giving the police broad leeway to seize and hold guns for up to a year is actually relatively strict. Most states simply adhere to the federal standard, banning gun possession only after someone is involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility or designated as mentally ill or incompetent after a court proceeding or other formal legal process. Relatively few with mental health issues, even serious ones, reach this point.

As a result, the police often find themselves grappling with legal ambiguities when they encounter mentally unstable people with guns, unsure how far they can go in searching for and seizing firearms and then, in particular, how they should respond when the owners want them back.

“There is a big gap in the law,” said Jeffrey Furbee, the chief legal adviser to the Police Department in Columbus, Ohio. “There is no common-sense middle ground to protect the public.”

A vast majority of people with mental illnesses are not violent. But recent mass shootings — outside a Tucson supermarket in 2011, at a movie theater last year in Aurora, Colo., and at the Washington Navy Yard in September — have raised public awareness of the gray areas in the law. In each case, the gunman had been recognized as mentally disturbed but had never been barred from having firearms.

After the Newtown killings a year ago, state legislatures across the country debated measures that would have more strictly limited the gun rights of those with mental illness. But most of the bills failed amid resistance from both the gun lobby and mental health advocates concerned about unfairly stigmatizing people. In Washington, discussion of new mental health restrictions was conspicuously absent from the federal gun control debate.

Photo - (Kaylee Laird said farewell to her father, Officer Timothy Laird, in Indianapolis in 2004. Credit Matt Kryger/The Indianapolis Star)

What remains is the uncertain legal territory at the intersection of guns and mental illness. Examining it is difficult, because of privacy laws governing mental health and the limited availability of information on firearm ownership. But The New York Times obtained court and police records from more than 1,000 cases around the country in which guns were seized in mental-health-related episodes.

A systematic review of these cases — from cities and counties in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee — underscores how easy it is for people with serious mental health problems to have guns.

Over the past year in Connecticut, where The Times obtained some of the most extensive records of seizure cases, there were more than 180 instances of gun confiscations from people who appeared to pose a risk of “imminent personal injury to self or others.” Close to 40 percent of these cases involved serious mental illness.

Perhaps most striking, in many of the cases examined across the country, the authorities said they had no choice under the law but to return the guns after an initial seizure for safekeeping.

For example, in Hillsborough County, Fla., 31 of 34 people who sought to reclaim seized firearms last year were able to do so after a brief court hearing, according to a count by The Times.

Photo - Mr. Laird was killed in a confrontation with a schizophrenic man. Credit Indianapolis Police Department)

Among them was Ryan Piatt, an Afghanistan veteran with a history of treatment for depression, anxiety and paranoia. The police had descended on Mr. Piatt’s workplace in November 2011, after mental health workers at the veterans hospital in Tampa reported that he had made intimations of violence to his psychiatrist and had tried to renounce his citizenship, mailing his Social Security card, birth certificate and other documents to a judge. Officers confiscated two guns from his car and one more from his toolbox; he got them back less than a year later.

Similarly, the sheriff in Arapahoe County, Colo., had to return a .45-caliber pistol last year that officers had seized four months earlier after receiving a call that Jose Reynaldo Santiago, an Army veteran with post-traumatic stress, was walking around his home in the middle of the night in a catatonic state with a gun in the pocket of his bathrobe.

Even in Indiana, one of the few states that have expanded the power of law enforcement to hold on to guns seized from people who are mentally ill, the examination revealed a significant loophole: there is nothing preventing them from going out and buying new guns.

The state’s seizure law does not address the question, and as a result, records from gun confiscation cases are not entered into the federal background check database that dealers must consult when making sales, according to officials from the Indiana Supreme Court.

Connecticut had a similar vulnerability until this year. Unlike in Indiana, the Connecticut State Police handle gun background checks, running names in the federal system and checking its own records. Judicial officials are unsure, however, if the agency was receiving all gun seizure records. As a fail-safe and a way to prevent people from simply going to another state to buy a gun, the state has now begun submitting these records to the federal system.

Photo - (Kenneth C. Anderson, in a driver's license photo, killed Mr. Laird during a confrontation. Nine guns had been seized from Mr. Anderson, a schizophrenic, but were then returned.)

Adding to the uncertainty for law enforcement, federal courts have ruled that an emergency involuntary psychiatric evaluation is not grounds to bar someone from possessing firearms.

The police in Caribou, Me., discovered this after repeated run-ins with a troubled resident, Curtis Zetterman, who was sent to a hospital after talking about shooting people; he was released, and was later accused of threatening a neighbor with a gun, according to court records.

Mr. Zetterman’s conviction on a charge of illegally possessing a firearm was dismissed on appeal because his emergency hospitalization did not rise to the level of a formal involuntary commitment.

“We don’t want to violate anybody’s rights,” said the Caribou police chief, Michael Gahagan. “But if you’re in the apartment next door to this guy, what about your rights?”

Outliers Toughen Laws

It was the shock of a potentially avoidable tragedy that pushed Indiana lawmakers to act. Reports of gunfire brought Officer Timothy Laird to Indianapolis’s south side one night in August 2004. Kenneth C. Anderson, a schizophrenic man who the police later learned had just killed his mother in her home, was stalking the block with an SKS assault rifle and two handguns. As Officer Laird stepped from his patrol car, he was fatally shot. Four other officers were wounded before one of them shot and killed Mr. Anderson.

Photo - (Mr. Russo of Middletown, Conn., whose 18 rifles and shotguns were confiscated after he threatened to shoot his mother. Credit Christopher Capozziello for The New York Times)

At the beginning of that year, the police had seized nine guns from Mr. Anderson after being called to his home by paramedics because he was being combative. Deemed delusional and dangerous, he was taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation. He was not, however, committed, and when he sought the return of his guns, police officials concluded that they had no legal grounds to keep them.

Several months after Officer Laird’s death, the Indiana legislature passed its seizure bill, giving the police explicit authority to search for and confiscate guns from people who are considered dangerous or who are mentally ill and off their medication. The police can keep the guns, upon court approval, for five years.

Connecticut’s law, passed in 1999, was also a response to a high-profile shooting rampage: a disgruntled employee with a history of psychiatric problems fatally shot four people at the state lottery offices before killing himself.

This year, in the wake of the Newtown shooting, in which 20 children and six adults were killed, the mental health debate in state legislatures focused largely on two areas: requiring mental health professionals to report dangerous people to the authorities and expanding the mental health criteria for revoking gun rights.

One legislature that ultimately did act was New York’s, which passed a far-reaching — and controversial — measure that requires mental health professionals to report to county authorities anyone who “is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others.” If county officials agree with the assessment, they must submit the information to the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services, which alerts the local authorities to revoke the person’s firearms license and confiscate weapons.

Photo - (Ryan Piatt, whose three guns were seized after mental health workers reported him to the police in Tampa. The weapons were returned less than a year later. Credit Courtesy of Crystal Adamson)

Maryland, too, amended its laws, barring anyone with a mental disorder who has a history of violence from having firearms.

And California adopted a five-year firearms ban for anyone who communicates a violent threat against a “reasonably identifiable victim” to a licensed psychotherapist. Previously, the ban was six months.

The state already had a five-year gun ban for anyone deemed to be a danger to himself or others and admitted on a 72-hour psychiatric hold for emergency evaluation and treatment or a longer 14-day hold. (Both steps fall short of the criteria for an involuntary commitment under federal law.) Even in cases where people are sent for emergency evaluations but not admitted, the police may confiscate their weapons and petition a court to keep them.


California, Maryland and New York, however, are outliers. (Hawaii and Illinois also stand out for their strict — some would argue onerous — mental health standards for gun ownership.) Most states have been content to follow the federal government’s lead.

In fact, the issue has long been a political quagmire.

Gun rights advocates worry that seizure laws will ensnare law-abiding citizens who pose no threat. In Connecticut, with its imminent-risk standard for seizure, the law sometimes “reaches pretty normal people,” said Rachel Baird, a lawyer who has sued police departments over gun confiscations.

Photo - (A sheriff’s report from Arapahoe County, Colo., on the department's encounter with Jose Reynaldo Santiago, which lead to his gun being confiscated.)

“People make comments all the time when they’re angry or frustrated — ‘I’m going to come down there, and it won’t be pretty’ — but if you say that and you own a firearm, it immediately takes on a context that it otherwise wouldn’t,” said Ms. Baird, a former prosecutor.

At the same time, mental health professionals worry that new seizure laws might stigmatize many people who have no greater propensity for violence than the broader population. They also fear that the laws will discourage people who need help from seeking treatment, while doing little to deter gun violence.

Research has shown, however, that people with serious mental illnesses, like schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder, do pose an increased risk of violence. In one widely cited study, Jeffrey W. Swanson, now a psychiatry professor at Duke University, found that when substance abusers were excluded, 33 percent of people with a serious mental illness reported past violent behavior, compared with 15 percent of people without such a disorder. The study, based on epidemiological survey data from the 1980s, defined violent behavior as everything from taking part in more than one fistfight as an adult to using a weapon in a fight.

Substance abuse, the study found, was a powerful predictor of violence. The highest rate, 64 percent, was found among people who had major mental disorders as well as substance abuse issues. For substance abusers alone, the rate was 55 percent.

This month a consortium of mental health professionals, public health researchers and gun control advocates released a 52-page report containing a series of recommendations on improving state laws regarding mental health and guns. The group focused largely on the gray area beyond the narrow federal standard of involuntary commitment, recommending that people admitted for short-term involuntary hospitalizations lose their gun rights temporarily, and that the police be given a mechanism for removing guns from people they believe to be dangerous.

Photo - (A sheriff’s report from Arapahoe County, detailing an episode in which Jarrod Thoma threatened suicide with a gun.)

“That could save a lot of lives,” said Dr. Swanson, a member of the consortium.

Varying Interpretations

One place that has an intimate awareness of the dangers of guns, especially in the hands of people struggling with mental illness, is Arapahoe County in Colorado, where 12 people died in the Aurora movie theater rampage last year. And at a high school there just this month, an 18-year-old gunman critically injured another student before taking his own life, though there has been no indication that mental illness was a factor.

Still, when it comes to seizing firearms, the sheriff there, Grayson Robinson, says he is also acutely aware of the legal limitations. If his deputies encountered a man on the street with a gun acting irrationally or suicidal, they would probably confiscate that weapon for safekeeping, he said. But they would not have the legal authority to enter his home and even temporarily take any other guns. Nor would the authorities hold on to the confiscated weapon, he said, unless the owner is expressly barred by law from having it.

“We understand property rights,” he said. “We would return those weapons to him upon his request.”

In the absence of specific guidance under federal and state laws, local police departments vary widely in how they deal with the issue, The Times found. Some hew to a strict interpretation. Others appear to be searching for a middle ground, fearful of what may happen if they return guns to dangerous people but also aware that they are on difficult legal terrain.

Photo - (A letter from Mr. Colflesh’s doctor, stating that he was not dangerous, as long as he was on his medication.)

In Arapahoe County, the Sheriff’s Department has confiscated weapons from just 13 people it sent for emergency psychiatric evaluations in the past two years, records show. In 10 of those cases, the guns were returned to their owners. (One gun was scheduled for destruction at the owner’s request; another was given to a third party; one recent seizure was still in the department’s possession.)

Among the guns seized was the pistol from the bathrobe pocket of Mr. Santiago, the veteran found walking around his home in a trance in November 2011. It took five minutes after deputies arrived for Mr. Santiago, then 23, to emerge from his catatonic state, according to the incident report. When he came to, he asked if he had hurt anyone. He also told deputies that he had post-traumatic stress from his deployment in Afghanistan and had experienced a similar episode before. The Fire Department took Mr. Santiago to the hospital for a brief stay to be examined, and sheriff’s deputies took his gun. It was returned the following March.

In an interview, Mr. Santiago said he had “spaced out” after learning that an Army friend had died in a motorcycle accident. He said that the police had told him he could get his gun back right away but that he had decided to wait to “make sure I was all good.” He had expected to have to answer questions about his mental health and was shocked when he only had to fill out some paperwork.

“All I did was I walked in, walked through the metal detectors, walked downstairs to their holding area where they keep evidence for safekeeping,” he said. “They handed it right back to me, no questions asked.”

In August 2012, Arapahoe deputies were called to the home of Jarrod Thoma, 29, another veteran, who was holed up in his bathroom with a newly purchased Ruger pistol pointed at his head. A SWAT team eventually talked him out. According to the incident report, his wife told deputies that he had been discharged from the Army because of a “personality disorder.” (Mr. Thoma says it was actually adjustment disorder, from difficulty coping with stress.) His wife also told the police that he had tried to commit suicide twice before in 2011, once by overdosing on antidepressants and Tylenol and then in an episode involving a gun. The Sheriff’s Department returned Mr. Thoma’s gun three months later.

Photo - (A court affidavit filed by police in Marion County, Ind., on Michael Fishburn's threatening behavior, as reported by neighbors.)

In an interview, Mr. Thoma said that after his encounter with the police, he voluntarily admitted himself to the hospital, where he remained for two and a half weeks, receiving counseling and medication. When he got his gun back, he said, his problems were under control.

“If I was a danger to others and if I was still suffering from some type of depression, I wouldn’t have went back and claimed my gun,” he said. “I’ve been through therapy. I put that stuff behind me.”

In Nashville, the police appear to be exercising greater discretion in returning seized firearms. Since 2010, they have confiscated weapons from 81 people in mental-health-related episodes, according to Don Aaron, a department spokesman. Guns were returned in just 18 of those cases.

Nashville police officials said they adhered to the same basic federal and state criteria as other departments. But because of problems obtaining full and accurate mental health records from the state’s background-check database, officials said, the department will sometimes ask for a doctor’s note certifying that the gun owner is no longer a danger or will agree to release guns only to a relative.


The Times found a similar rate of returns in Columbus. Last year, the police confiscated firearms from more than 40 people in mental-health-related episodes; in eight cases, the guns were returned.

Photo - (Notes from Ryan Piatt’s psychiatrist at a Florida veterans hospital, which alerted the police about him. (Handwriting in margins is Mr. Piatt’s.)

Mr. Furbee, the Police Department’s chief legal adviser, said the detectives who handled these releases were “very deliberate.” Decisions can also be delayed, he said, because Ohio has no centralized registry of commitments to psychiatric institutions for the police to check. In addition, in several cases examined by The Times, the designation of the confiscated firearm was changed from “safekeeping” to “evidence,” which would delay its release.

Among those who did get their guns back relatively quickly was Paul Colflesh, whose 9-millimeter Beretta was confiscated in May 2012 after his wife, Melody Bowman, called 911. She told the police that Mr. Colflesh had stopped taking his medication for depression two weeks earlier and had begun drinking heavily, according to the incident report. On this night, he had gone up to the bedroom, grabbed his gun and said he was going to kill himself. She added that he had once before put the gun in his mouth and threatened suicide. (In an interview, Ms. Bowman said this had been about a year earlier, also while he was drinking.) Mr. Colflesh was so drunk that the police could not interview him.

A few days after being taken to the emergency room, Mr. Colflesh gave the police a note from his doctor, who said Mr. Colflesh had been off his medication for a month but realized that it was the “wrong thing to have done.” Mr. Colflesh, he concluded, “appears not in danger to himself or others since restarting his medications.”

A detective, who later contacted the doctor directly, scrawled notes that Mr. Colflesh was “not suicidal or dangerous to others if he takes meds.”

The police returned Mr. Colflesh’s gun two months after they took it.

“When somebody comes here and demands their weapon back, and there is no legal disability, we give it back, even when it makes us uncomfortable,” Mr. Furbee said.

Photo - (A search and seizure warrant from April 15 describes the events that led to Mark Russo’s guns being removed from him.)

Officials in Florida have also been grappling with ambiguities under the law. In 2009, the attorney general issued an advisory opinion saying that “in the absence of an arrest and criminal charge,” the police could not hold on to firearms confiscated from people sent for mental health evaluations under the state’s Baker Act, which authorizes the police to send mentally ill people who are potentially dangerous for involuntary examinations of up to 72 hours.

Across Florida, however, departments are still taking a variety of approaches, with some simply returning the weapons upon request — after performing the requisite checks — and others imposing additional hurdles.

This year, a judge ordered the Daytona Beach police to return 16 guns to Anthony Bontempo, 27, a veteran with a history of post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism. They had been confiscated after he called a suicide hotline in hysterics eight months earlier. A gun-rights group, Florida Carry, filed a lawsuit on behalf of Mr. Bontempo, arguing that the police had no right to hold on to the weapons.

In Hillsborough County, people whose weapons are seized in Baker Act proceedings are required to attend a brief court hearing, where a judge can confirm that they are not felons, have never been involuntarily committed and have nothing else on their records that bars them from having guns. Almost all walk out with orders allowing them to retrieve their guns.

Mr. Piatt, 30, whose guns were seized after the episode at the Tampa veterans hospital, said the police had overreacted by having a group of officers go to his workplace to take him forcibly into custody.

Photo - (A warrant from the Connecticut Superior Court describes James Serapilia referring to police officers as demons.)

But his medical records, which he sent to The Times, show diagnoses for depression, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and “psychotic disorder not otherwise specified.” He had stopped taking his medication. Adding to his psychiatrist’s concern, Mr. Piatt’s roommate had called the veterans hospital worried about Mr. Piatt’s stability, saying he seemed paranoid and had woken him up in the middle of the night, screaming.

In an interview, Mr. Piatt said the judge who presided over his firearms-return hearing focused not on establishing his mental state but primarily on ensuring that he would store his weapons safely because he has a young son.

The judge, Claudia R. Isom, who at the time was responsible for all gun-return petitions in the county, said she simply required gun owners to affirm under oath that they met the various legal requirements and then determined if the police or the clerk’s office had found anything in their records checks. Judge Isom said she usually did not ask the petitioners if they were undergoing mental health treatment or taking their medication because “it was none of my business.”

“I’m supposed to apply the law,” she said. “If there’s no legal objection, then there’s no legal reason not to give a weapon back.”

A Volatile Mix

It is impossible to know just how many gun owners have serious mental health issues. But an examination of gun seizure records in Connecticut and Indiana, where the police have been granted greater leeway to confiscate firearms, offers perhaps the best sense of just how frequently gun ownership and mental instability mix. Officials with the Connecticut court system have collected records on more than 700 gun seizure cases since the law was enacted in 1999. That probably represents a partial count at best, however, because court officials did not make a concerted effort to ensure that all cases were reported to them until this year, after the Newtown shooting.

Photo - (A report from the Columbus, Ohio, police, describing the episode in which Paul Colflesh’s gun was taken for safekeeping.)

The Times analyzed this year’s cases in Connecticut and found that slightly more than half involved threats of suicide; 34 percent involved drugs or alcohol; and 42 percent clearly involved psychosis or some other serious mental health issue, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or clinical depression. Just under 30 percent of the mental health cases also involved drugs or alcohol.

The results were similar in Marion County, Ind., which includes Indianapolis. In 2012, the police seized 67 guns from 30 people, according to court records. Documents in 40 percent of the cases mentioned some sort of mental illness; a quarter of those cases also involved substance abuse.

In one case in April, residents of Carlyle Place in Indianapolis flagged down a police cruiser because one of their neighbors, Michael Fishburn, 54, was screaming at cars and had pointed a handgun at a woman, according to a court affidavit. The day before, he had been strutting around his yard making rooster noises, they said. The police took Mr. Fishburn to the hospital and learned that he had been receiving mental health treatment there for the previous 10 years. They also discovered that he had a lifetime permit to carry a handgun. A judge ordered the police to retain Mr. Fishburn’s pistol, as well as a shotgun, for five years.

The case of James Serapilia of Bristol, Conn., illustrates just how challenging it can be to assess mental stability and predict violence. Shortly after midnight on March 19, 2004, the sound of breaking glass drew the police to a small ranch-style house, where they found Mr. Serapilia, then 41, standing amid the shattered remains of his living room window.

“In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you demons to leave,” he yelled, according to a police report. As officers struggled to gain entry, Mr. Serapilia grabbed a shard of glass, held it to his throat and said, “This is it.” He was stopped only after a sergeant fired a Taser through the broken window. Inside, the police found two rifles in the living room, along with several rounds of ammunition on a table and two handguns in an upstairs closet. Officers seized the weapons.

But as a local prosecutor explained in a court hearing, “the state has the burden of showing that he’s in imminent danger to himself or others” or must eventually return the firearms. So 10 months after the episode, Mr. Serapilia, supported by a positive report from his psychiatrist, got his guns back.

But the police had not seen the last of him. Early on the morning of Sept. 25, 2010, they were at his house again, this time for a Lifeline medical alert for an older person in distress. Officers discovered Mr. Serapilia’s mother lying in the entryway, unable to get up. She pointed to her son, who was sitting on the floor nearby, appearing pale, sweating profusely and surrounded by empty beer cans. “He wouldn’t call an ambulance,” she said, according to a police report.

Mr. Serapilia bolted from the house, screaming that he was Jesus Christ, and proceeded to lead the police on a car chase through three towns before officers were able to deflate the tires of his Toyota Tacoma, smash a passenger-side window and drag him from the vehicle. He later told them that he had schizophrenia and depression, had stopped taking his medication and believed he was being chased by demons, the report said. This time, because Mr. Serapilia was criminally charged and his guns were seized as contraband, a judge ordered them destroyed. Mr. Serapilia, through his sister, declined to comment.

As for Mark Russo, the Middletown man who is looking forward to reclaiming his 18 guns in April, he acknowledged that public records indicated that he had made threats of violence, but he said they were untrue. He said he had had difficulty getting doctors to understand the real nature of his problem, which is not mental illness but paranormal activities that have afflicted him since his youth, including objects disappearing from his home and a bird once flying out of his forehead.

“I’ve offered to take a lie-detector test to prove what I’m saying is true,” he said. “But psychiatrists, they don’t want to hear about God and demons and all that.”

At the Middletown Police Department, Lt. Heather Desmond said there was little her agency could do to avoid returning guns to someone who is mentally ill, unless “there are new incidents or concerns that would justify seeking another risk warrant.” The police check their records for that before handing over the firearms, she said.

“But if a year has gone by and nothing new has happened, there’s nothing we can do,” Lieutenant Desmond said. “It’s unfortunate, and it’s something that has to be addressed.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/22/us/when-the-right-to-bear-arms-includes-t he-mentally-ill.html?_r=0&mtrref=www.washingtonpost.com



This is the difficult work that must be done everywhere. It won't make for big headlines like banning assault weapons and depending on approach it may face legal challenges, but the stories detailed in this piece show just a small glimpse into the types of people who should not possess firearms and how local police and laws deal with such. Changing this will be the most effective thing that we can do.

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 2/21/2018 at 07:16 PM
The President said there are many people with many ideas. One of which might be to ARM teachers. Teachers in Texas are allowed to be armed.

https://www.newsmax.com/headline/parkland-school-shooting-listening/2018/02 /21/id/844722/

President Donald Trump floated the idea of arming teachers and promised more stringent background checks on gun owners as he hosted an emotional meeting Wednesday with students who survived last week's mass shooting at a Florida school.
"I just want to say before we begin, because I want to hear you, but we'll be very strong on background checks, very strong emphasis on the mental health of somebody," Trump told the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in a meeting in the White House.

Trump also suggested some teachers could be trained in the use of firearms as a deterrent to would-be gunmen.

"This would only be obviously for people who are very adept at handling a gun," said Trump.

"It's called concealed carry. Where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them, they would go for special training and they would be there, and you would no longer have a gun-free zone."

"A gun-free zone is, let's go in and let's attack," he said.

"There are many ideas that I have, many ideas that other people have and we'll pick out the most important ideas and work to get them done. It won't be talk, it's gone on too long."


Remarks: Everyone wants the same end result. He is looking at it from another point of view. I don't know how a trained, armed teacher who comes up against someone with an assault weapon could effectively stop carnage such as what happened in Florida. However, I do think there are enough retired ex-military people who could volunteer some part time hours (bring in more than one per school) who could take care of any would be bad-ass kid. They ARE trained.





[Edited on 2/22/2018 by gina]

 

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Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 2/21/2018 at 08:33 PM
quote:
The President said there are many people with many ideas. One of which might be to ARM teachers. Teachers in Texas are allowed to be armed.

https://www.newsmax.com/headline/parkland-school-shooting-listening/2018/02 /21/id/844722/

President Donald Trump floated the idea of arming teachers and promised more stringent background checks on gun owners as he hosted an emotional meeting Wednesday with students who survived last week's mass shooting at a Florida school.
"I just want to say before we begin, because I want to hear you, but we'll be very strong on background checks, very strong emphasis on the mental health of somebody," Trump told the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in a meeting in the White House.

Trump also suggested some teachers could be trained in the use of firearms as a deterrent to would-be gunmen.

"This would only be obviously for people who are very adept at handling a gun," said Trump.

"It's called concealed carry. Where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them, they would go for special training and they would be there, and you would no longer have a gun-free zone."

"A gun-free zone is, let's go in and let's attack," he said.

"There are many ideas that I have, many ideas that other people have and we'll pick out the most important ideas and work to get them done. It won't be talk, it's gone on too long."


Remarks: Everyone wants the same end result. He is looking at it from another point of view. I don't know how a trained, armed teacher who comes up against someone with an assault weapon could effectively stop carnage such as what happened in Florida. However, I do think there are enough retired ex-military people who could volunteer some part time hours (bring in more than one per school) who could take care of any would be bad-ass kid. They ARE trained.

[Edited on 2/22/2018 by gina]


Parkland did have an armed guard at the school. Several other schools that had mass shootings had armed guards as well. Yet the school shootings continue.

 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 2/21/2018 at 09:11 PM
I personally do not like arming teachers. If we would arm certain guidance councilors, principles, vice principles that would be better than individual teachers. But that is a whole different level of responsibility and who is to say that those people would be comfortable with that.

As 2112, said Stoneman Douglas had an armed officer on site, but some of these school campuses are quite large, so one or two officers might be in the wrong place at the wrong time to have an impact. Or in the case of my district, we have 7 different schools for all K-12 grades, that would mean an additional 7 officers. In general I think it would be great to have a police officer on hand at every school, but I don't think anyone should be under the illusion this will stop an attacker before they can inflict damage.

All of the schools I go to in our area have the doors all locked. You have to buzz in and there is a camera so they can see who you are. But this attacker figured out a way around that.

Metal detectors are fine, but it only stops regular students from entering under normal circumstances. It wouldn't do anything to stop an attacker. Or an attacker that wanted to show up before or after the bell to get people entering or exiting.

Lots of things can and should be done. Some of it comes down to local school district policy and what they are comfortable with. There are actions that can be taken at every level from local to state to federal.

There is definitely something different about this time. I felt it last week. Mark Kelly said to the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas "you woke the nation up, now the goal is to keep them awake". I think everyone is going to be up for a while. Every activist, victim and concerned citizen may not get everything they want, but the time is now for some steps in the right direction. And it may not stop the next mass shooting, and it may not stop the one after that. But I believe that longterm changes we make today can and will influence what happens in the future.

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 2/22/2018 at 03:35 PM
Trump brought up a point that if the coach had been carrying he could have shot the kid and that would have stopped the carnage.

“If the coach had a firearm in his locker when he ran at this guy – that coach was very brave, saved a lot of lives, I suspect,” Trump rambled. “But if he had a firearm, he wouldn’t have had to run, he would have shot him, and that would have been the end of it.”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/commentisfree/2018/feb/21/marco-rubio-c ameron-kasky-cnn-town-hall-florida-gun-control

Remarks: It brings up points of who should be allowed to kill someone even the shooter in an armed shooter situation? Teachers, coaches, anyone who is properly trained. Even if the cops respond in 5 minutes of less, that's 5 minutes too long for the lives of those being mowed down in an onslaught of bullets.

 

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"Mankind is a single nation" "Allah did not make you a single people so he could try you in what he gave you, to him you will all return, he will inform you where you differed". Quran Chapter 2 Sura 213

 

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  posted on 2/22/2018 at 04:04 PM
Thanks for all the thought you have put into this nebish. I agree with a lot of what you are saying. Myself, I would like to see a ban on AK-15's and guns like them. Make them available at gun ranges for those that just have to feel that power, but keep them out of society.

I understand guns for hunting and guns for protection. I have some friends that love to target shoot. I have seen then go from 'I need a handgun' to needing 4 or 5 guns of increasing power .... which may be why 30% of the population have guns, but there are more than 1 for every person.

I read something yesterday (not sure where) that suggested that similar to a restraining order, if people thought someone was unstable and a threat, they could get an order with the police to have that person's guns taken away temporarily. There would be due process for the person to get them back. This seems like something that could have been useful in the Florida case, since there were so many signs ahead of time. Of course, if the guy could just walk into Walmart and get another gun right away, this wouldn't work. I agree with you that there needs to be some kind of national database, or else people will be able to find all kinds of loopholes.

 

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  posted on 2/22/2018 at 04:15 PM
After stepping back and taking another look at this, I am just as concerned with someone with a quick temper having a gun as a mentally ill person. I had a client a few years back who I knew had a quick temper, but I never would have thought him to be a murderer. I was more than a little surprised to turn on the radio one morning and hearing he did a murder suicide.

So, how do you keep someone like that from having a gun?

 

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  posted on 2/22/2018 at 04:54 PM
quote:
I read something yesterday (not sure where) that suggested that similar to a restraining order, if people thought someone was unstable and a threat, they could get an order with the police to have that person's guns taken away temporarily. There would be due process for the person to get them back. This seems like something that could have been useful in the Florida case, since there were so many signs ahead of time.


The big story here in south Florida the week prior to Parkland was a 22 year-old kid who went on a shooting spree and ended up shooting his girlfriend and driving into oncoming traffic on I95 where he was shot and killed by cops (just a few miles from Parkland). Prior to all of this, his grandmother had taken out a restraining order on him for violently threatening her. I haven't read whether his gun was legally purchased, he was a minor drug runner, but a more thorough investigation based on the violent threats might have saved lives exactly as you suggest. He also called to turn himself in after the first few shootings, and instead of sending a squad car to pick him up, the operator gave him the address of the closest precinct. (here's the whole story: https://www.local10.com/news/crime/suspect-killed-by-deputy-on-i-95-went-on -shooting-rampage )

I'd like to note that although most news agencies are referring to Parkland as a "Miami suburb" (metro areas are deceptively large), it's 45 miles from the northern edge of Miami. It's just west of Boca, where TTB held the Sunshine Music Fest and FAU recently fired a professor for claiming Sandy Hook was a hoax. It's also just north of Ft Lauderdale, FL's 2nd biggest city, which only a year ago suffered from a deadly airport shooter. Parkland is also closer to Palm Beach than it is to Miami, where Trump was playing golf over the weekend. South Florida can be a lot of things, but don't wonder why these kids are reacting so defiantly.

 

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