Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

We Don’t Need New Laws Says Gun Lobby…Except Maybe These

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

December 25, 2016

 

“How are those gun laws working out for you in Chicago?” It is the most common, snide remark we hear at NGVAC along with “F– you you anti-freedom, anti-American libtrards.”

 

For five years we have pointed out that almost 60 percent of crime guns recovered in Chicago were originally sold in states with weaker laws. Since 2009, more than 1,500 guns found at crime scenes in Chicago have come from one gun store, Chuck’s Gun Shop in suburban Riverdale. Chuck’s along with three other gun sellers not within Chicago city limits provided 20 percent of Chicago’s crime guns between 2010 and 2014.

 

The weapons used by gunmen to shoot two Chicago police officers and shoot at a downtown commuter train, crimes within days of each other in October 2014, came from–any guesses?–Indiana, the home state of Vice President-elect Pence.

 

 

Gun advocates like to play dumb about Chicago but they are the first ones to see why only federal laws work when it favors them. Who remembers the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre accusing home rule communities with laws restricting guns of “nullifying the right to carry” because people “could drive on their highways with the guns, but they couldn’t stop anywhere”?

 

The gun lobby loves to say that we do not need new gun laws; that we have enough already that simply need to be enforced and besides laws “don’t work.” Chicago is proof. Yet it is the gun lobby that used the same jackbooted lawmakers it hates to pass the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (that says you can’t sue gun makers) and the Tiahrt Amendments that prohibit using evidence of a gun dealer’s link to crime guns to revoke his license and prohibit the FBI retaining records of gun buyers who pass the National Instant Criminal Background Check beyond 24 hours.

 

I wanted to “make sure I was fulfilling the needs of my friends who are firearms dealers,” admitted Representative Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) when he spearheaded the Amendments.

 

Now, with Trump elected, the gun lobby is pushing for a federal “carry reciprocity” law that would allow concealed carry permit holders “a unilateral right to move between state lines.” Why shouldn’t someone granted the right to carry a gun in a state that requires no permits or no training whatsoever–yes there is a growing number!–not be able to walk down Fifth Avenue?

 

Chicago is far from the only city that is a violent casualty of guns trafficked from states with looser gun laws and a lack of federal laws. New York police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos and Omaha Police Officer Kerrie Orozco were all killed with guns purchased from the same Georgia gun dealer reported New York Daily News last year. The gun lobby yells when local laws nullify the “right to carry.” How about when laws in loose gun states nullify law enforcement officers themselves?

 

 

Gun-Free Zones Under Donald Trump

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

 

by Elliot Fineman
CEO – Founder
National Gun Victims Action Council

 

December 22, 2016

 

While campaigning for office this summer, Donald Trump, the NRA’s candidate, blamed gun violence on “gun-free zones.” For example, the 90 who died in the Bataclan theater in Paris last year would be alive today if they had been armed he said. (He did not explain how, in the dark, the 1,000 people in the audience—having pulled their guns out—would know the good guys holding guns from the bad—and not shoot each other, or innocent bystanders. Nor did he explain how untrained carriers would shoot accurately when studies show that fully trained police officers in the U.S. miss 7 out of 10 shots.)

 

Nor would the Charlie Hebdo staff, also gunned down in Paris, have stopped the bad guys if they had been armed admitted a pro-gun group that restaged the massacre in Dallas a week after the January 7, 2015 shootings. At least nine states have now passed laws allowing civilian carriers to have no training at all—it’s an infringement of “gun rights”—yet carriers without any skills are expected to keep environments safe.

 

Trump also blamed the 2015 murders of four Marines and a Navy sailor by Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez at Chattanooga military posts on gun-free zones though he was embarrassingly wrong. (Military Times says, “At least two service members involved in the Chattanooga shooting were carrying personal weapons during the attack, in possible violation of current military rules, and unsuccessfully returned fire in an attempt to stop the homicidal gunman.”)

 

Trump and the gun lobby are shockingly silent when they can’t blame violence on “gun-free zones” as in the shooting of 18 police officers last summer in Baton Rouge and Dallas. Weren’t they “good guys with guns”?

 

Gun-Free Zones Provide The Safest Environments

 

Trump and the gun lobby are also shockingly silent on the most well-established gun-free zones in the world—corporate boardrooms and headquarters. No major corporation in the U.S.—including the NRA— permits guns in its corporate headquarters and boardrooms. Why? Because guns in an environment make that environment dangerous.

 

Metal detectors, guards and secure building floors thwart any gun carriers from getting near corporate officers. When was the last time anyone heard about a shooting in those very dangerous “gun-free zones” known as corporate headquarters?

 

Of course, virtually all of these same corporations that shield their officers from gun risks allow their employees and customers to face them by permitting guns in their stores and outlets.

 

Yelling “gun-free zone” lets zealots ignore the element of surprise that kills so many heroic law enforcers. Instead, they pretend that everyday armed citizens can do what law enforcers do. President Reagan’s own highly trained Secret Service couldn’t stop him being shot—but armed teachers, students and school staff will stop shooters? Dream on, gun advocates.

 

Carrying Guns Does Not Provide Self-Defense

 

We at NGVAC have tested gun self-defense with 77 volunteers at the Prince George’s County police department in Maryland with Mount St. Mary’s University crime researchers in the most exhaustive study of gun self-defense to date. Civilians, even with their guns drawn (so they would not lose time retrieving them from holsters), were unable to approach the accuracy and judgment of trained police officers in all scenarios—including highly trained civilians. They were “killed” despite their weapons, failed to stop the bad guys and even “shot” at bad guys who were unarmed.

 

Civilians didn’t even take cover reported the Washington Post on our research. “They didn’t attempt to issue commands to their assailants. Their trigger fingers were either too itchy — they shot innocent bystanders or unarmed people, or not itchy enough — they didn’t shoot armed assailants until they were already being shot at.”

 

In Trump’s and the NRA’s upside-down world, gun-free zones are the cause of gun violence not guns: more guns in more places make us safer they say. Yet numerous studies show just the opposite is true—but, of course, those are only facts.

 
National Gun Victims Action Council
www.gunvictimsaction.org/donate

www.gunvictimsaction.org

 

New Year’s Resolutions for the NRA for 2017

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

Some Gun Advocates Not Celebrating the Trump Victory

Friday, December 16th, 2016

 

“The danger we face is that the leadership of the so called gun-rights groups actually like gun-control laws,” an open carry advocate recently wrote. “They will not be lobbying for a repeal of America’s gun-control laws because without them they have no reasons to ask the gullible members of the public for donations.”

 

 

The open carry advocate has a point. After the election and re-election of President Obama and mass shootings, gun-rights groups use the “confiscation” card to raise money. Democratic gun-grabbers infringing on gun owners’ rights is the literal wind in their fundraising sails. How do you keep the money flowing in and cast gun owners as “victims” when all three branches of the government are soon to be solidly Republican, conservative and pro-gun? Clearly the government is not going to take anyone’s gun.

 

 

 

Even before the Trump victory, it has not been easy to cast people who own IWI Tavor SAR or Izhmash-Saiga assault rifles as “victims.” In fact, the attempt has bent gun-rights groups into embarrassing, crybaby positions like yelling “oppression” when newspapers publish gun owners’ names or when gun carriers can’t take their weapons into locked mental health facilities.

 

 

Americans can own as many of whatever kind of gun they want, bring them almost everywhere, buy them without background checks and endure no pesky registry. They do not even have to report lost or stolen guns (though you’d think they’d want to in order to keep them from “bad guys”) or limit their gun purchases to one a month. Where is the oppression?

 

 

Carrier reciprocity, say gun-rights groups! It is no fair that someone who is legal to carry a gun in a state with no training requirements whatsoever can’t walk down Fifth Avenue in New York City! So what it they may not even know how to handle or shoot a lethal weapon since training is optional.

 

 

An increasing number of states are passing laws making training requirements for carrying guns in public illegal. Why? “The government should not deem it necessary to micromanage the citizen exercise of essential rights,” wrote the Wisconsin Gun Owners Organization, quoting the NRA. ” Citizens “are capable of deciding for themselves that attending firearms training is the responsible thing to do.”

 

 

Such state laws sound like a joke–if gun training is not necessary why are municipalities wasting millions training police?—but they are ominous. NGVAC tested gun self-defense with 77 volunteers at the Prince George’s County police department in Maryland with Mount St. Mary’s University crime researchers last year and found training matters. Civilians were inferior to trained police officers on every level. “They shot innocent bystanders or unarmed people” reported the Washington Post on our research and “they didn’t shoot armed assailants until they were already being shot at.”

 

And there is another way gun owners are oppressed say gun-rights groups, trying to retain victimhood: the restriction of silencers! Silencers were regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934 because of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and their obvious appeal to criminals and those intent on violence and wrongdoing. But now, gun-rights groups say the restrictions are an infringement of gun owners’ rights because shooters’ ears hurt. No fair!

 

 

With all three branches of the government soon to be pro-gun and no bigger issue to crow about than silencers and reciprocity, the gun lobby is clearly suffering from a case of be-careful-what-you-wish-for. Especially when it comes to fundraising.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Gun Advocates Not Celebrating the Trump Victory

 

Levi Strauss Joins Growing Number of Businesses Saying “No Guns”

Friday, December 9th, 2016

He is a former U.S. Army captain who can clean a gun blindfolded. But last month, Levi Strauss Chief Executive Chip Bergh asked customers not to bring guns in the stores after a customer carrying a handgun shot himself in a Commerce, Georgia store.

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“You don’t need a gun to try on a pair of jeans and it’s really out of respect for the safety of our employees and consumers shopping in our stores,” said Bergh adding that store workers have raised concerns.

 

Levi Strauss joins Panera Bread, Sonic, Chili’s, Chipotle, Starbucks, Jack in the Box, Target, Whole Foods, Peet’s, Ikea, Disneyland, California Pizza Kitchen, Buffalo Wild Wings, Toys R US and the AMC and Cinemark theaters in recognizing that most customers do not want to dine or shop next to gun carriers.

 

 

Almost five years ago, NGVAC, working with the Episcopal Peace Fellowship and Fellowship of Reconciliation, declared a Valentine’s Day boycott of Starbucks because of its refusal to ban guns or even post a sign telling customers they were entering an armed zone. In response to our boycott, menacing groups of gun carriers staged derisive “Gun Appreciation Days”–even in Newtown after the Sandy Hook massacre–which moved Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to request that “customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas” in 2013 because carriers were “increasingly uncivil” and “even threatening.”

 

 

 

Like Levis, Starbucks has experienced gun accidents. In 2011, at a Cheyenne, Wyoming store, a carrier dropped her purse, discharging a gun and the bullet missed a customer by 12 inches. Less than two years later, at a St. Petersburg, Florida Starbucks, another woman dropped a purse with a gun. Early this year, there was a shooting in an Aurora, Colorado Starbucks.

 

Like Starbucks (whom Bergh says he consulted) and other no-gun chains, Levis will also likely see no dip in business. Why? Because gun advocates have a loud bark but little financial power as consumers. An NRA boycott of ConocoPhillips over its gun policies was an embarrassing flop a few years ago. Conversely, a boycott by gun safety oriented customers of H&R Block because of a partnership with the NRA was swiftly successful.

 

Corporations, when they take a stand, can effect social change more quickly than lawmakers. Within weeks of Microsoft’s pro-marriage equality stand, hundreds of other companies followed suit. Indiana reversed its Religious Freedom Restoration Act within days of hearing from Apple, American Airlines, the NCAA college sports league and others, threatening to pull their convention business. The NFL reversed its tolerance of players’ domestic violence charges within days of hearing from sponsors like Anheuser-Busch and the Radisson hotel chain.

 

Bergh and other CEOs are realizing they will lose no business in banning guns and it is in their self-interest. The top law firm Mayer Brown advises that property owners who do not put up “no guns” signs could easily face the argument that injuries were entirely “foreseeable” in court if violence occurs. Until he ran for President, Trump properties even sported “no guns” signs.

 

It is ironic that every major U.S. corporation already bans guns in their board rooms and headquarters. Are customers and employees less important? We applaud Levi Strauss Chief Executive Chip Bergh!

Pivoting Politicians? They Learned it from the NRA

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

 

It was May, 1999, a month after the Columbine massacre. Testifying before the House Judiciary Crime Subcommittee, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre told federal lawmakers “We think it’s reasonable to provide mandatory, instant criminal background checks for every sale, at every gun show no loopholes anywhere for anyone.”

 

Flash forward to February, 2013 a day after “American Sniper” Chris Kyle was shot and killed on a gun range not a “gun-free zone” despite his skills. Then, declared LaPierre on Fox News in a 180 degree pivot, universal background checks were unthinkable because they were the first step to a registry and government tyranny. (Gun violence is really caused by gangs in cities like Chicago he told an incredulous Chris Wallace who asked how gangs pertained to the Newtown, Aurora and Clackamas Town Center massacres.)

 

Wayne LaPierre - Google Search

 

Universal background checks were not LaPierre’s only pivot. In 2008, to defeat Obama, LaPierre actually quoted candidate Hillary Clinton as a pro-gun voice to prove that President Obama would be a gun grabber. During the same campaign, Mitt Romney was ridiculed by the gun lobby for a weak hunting resume; Trump, apparently, didn’t get the memo.

 

Of course when it comes to federal regulation, the NRA has an ongoing pivot. It hates all laws except the ones it gets on the books. For example, the Tiahrt amendments, tacked on to appropriations bills since 2003, prohibit ATF from releasing firearm trace data for use by cities, states, researchers, litigants and members of the public. Let’s get those bad guys! They also mandate destruction of purchaser records within 24 hours.

 

The NRA also pushes laws to make it illegal for employers to ask an employee if he brought a gun to work and doctors to ask patients if they have guns in the home.

 

After the mentally ill Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007 with a weapon he purchased legally, the NRA enacted another pivot. It pretended to work with Congress on a bill to close the associated loopholes but it was a con job.

 

“In several ways this bill is better for gun owners than current law,” read the NRA web site. “Under H.R. 2640, certain types of mental health orders will no longer prohibit a person from possessing or receiving a firearm. Examples are adjudications that have expired or been removed, or commitments from which a person has been completely released with no further supervision required. Also excluded are federal decisions about a person’s mental health that consist only of a medical diagnosis, without a specific finding that the person is dangerous or mentally incompetent.”

 

Perhaps the biggest NRA pivot is—it wants the same jackbooted government it hates to protect gun owners from the scary press!

 

After the Memphis Commercial Appeal posted online a searchable base of the state’s 220,000 gun permit holders, some of whom had arrest and conviction records, Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action went ballistic.

 

“Your decision to publicize the personal information of Right-to-Carry permit holders in Tennessee is unjustifiable, disgraceful, and dangerous,” he whined in an unpublished letter to the Appeal on the NRA web site. Dangerous? Don’t their guns make them safe?

 

 

 

 

 

Police Are Outgunned and the Gun Lobby is Okay With It

Monday, November 21st, 2016

 

It has been almost ten years since Miami police officer Jose Somohano was killed and three others wounded with a high-power, assault style rifle. At the time, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez, a former police officer and police director said, “There’s absolutely no reason I can see having these weapons out on the street.” The International Association of Chiefs of Police agreed and urged Congress to pass “an effective assault weapons ban,” condemning the “firepower available to criminals.”

 

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The Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB), a subsection of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, banned the manufacture for civilian use of semi-automatic firearms defined as assault weapons as well as “large capacity” magazines. The ban was passed by the U.S. Congress on September 13, 1994 and allowed to expire ten years later.

 

While the ban had serious loopholes, the Washington Post wrote after the Miami murders that since its 2004 expiration “the guns, once found solely in the hands of soldiers, are aimed at officers on patrol,” and that “already 12 of the 60 homicides have involved the high-power guns.” John Rivera, president of the Dade County Police Benevolent Association at the time, said police did not even have a “fighting chance” against such weapons.

 

Flash forward to last summer when 18 police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge were shot with assault weapons–a Saiga AK-74 and a TAVOR. The New Orleans Advocate wrote that “the notion of putting such weapons in civilian hands would be regarded as insane in any other country,” as the TAVOR, according to its manufacturer, fires 900 rounds a minute. Nor were the murderers “bad guys who don’t obey laws.” They had passed their background checks and legally bought their high-power weapons with which they killed police, so the gun lobby was silent. You can’t abridge “gun rights.” (The lobby was also silent about Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez who passed his background check and killed four Marines and a sailor in Chattanooga in 2015.)

 

Two years after the Miami police officer killings four police officers were killed in Oakland with high-power, assault weapons and, in Pittsburgh, three officers were killed and two injured with such weapons.

 

The Pittsburgh murderer, Richard Poplawski, was a violent white supremacist who bought a semi-automatic AK-47-style legally despite his involvement with hate groups, domestic violence charges and an order of protection against him.

 

After the Dallas and Baton Rouge law enforcement officers were murdered, veteran news man Bill Moyers asked how the gun lobby can claim patriotism while hating the government. “On the one hand, its supporters are mostly conservatives who believe in law and order, the kind of folks who value social and familial hierarchy and respect for authority. On the other hand, the group preaches contempt for government — and police are the spear point of government authority.”

 

He’s right. The “patriotic” NRA defends armor-piercing “cop killer” bullets and criminal-friendly gun silencers. Why? Whose side is it on? It defends the gun show, online and terrorist suspect loopholes all of which result also in law enforcement officer deaths.

 

A gun rights website actually praises the TAVOR used to murder Baton Rouge officers in cold blood. The TAVOR is great for “close quarters-style fighting” says the site and “is exceedingly compact” which “makes it much easier to sneak the gun in and out of your apartment building.” What?

 

 

 

 

 

Oklahoma City Airport Shooting Death Was Workplace Violence

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

 

Most people remember the San Bernardino holiday party massacre and the on-camera Roanoke shootings of TV crew members last year. But they do not necessarily think of them as workplace shootings–which they were.

 

As many as 800 people die a year from workplace violence in the US, 80 percent from guns. This week, Southwest Airlines employee Michael Winchester, father of Kansas City Chiefs long snapper James Winchester, became the latest casualty of a workplace fatal shooting at Oklahoma City airport. Police say the murderer was Lloyd Dean Buie (pictured, courtesy of AP), a disgruntled former Southwest Airlines employee seeking revenge.

OKC airport killing of Southwest Airlines employee likely workpl

 

Since the early 2000’s, the NRA has sought an armed workplace. It’s an extension of “the current Castle Doctrine” it says. Letting “good guys” on the job defend themselves against “bad guys” is so important, it has pushed through laws in Indiana and North Dakota that allow employees to sue their employers if asked about gun possession. In North Dakota, the NRA pushed through a law banning employers from asking if employees’ vehicles parked on company property have weapons in them and a law in Georgia that bars employers from making employment conditional on not bringing guns to work.

 

There’s just one problem with the NRA workplace agenda. It is the employees doing the shootings–not “bad guy” criminals!

 

Months before the San Bernardino and Roanoke shootings in 2015, employees at a Moorestown, New Jersey security company and at the Sioux Steel Co. in Lennox, South Dakota killed co-workers. The year before, an enraged UPS employee wearing his uniform killed three in Inglenook, Alabama, an employee shot and killed his supervisor at the Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf and Resort Spa in Hoover, Alabama and an employee shot and killed the CEO of ArrowStream, a top tech company in Chicago’s downtown. In 2013, a Silicon Valley engineer was found guilty of fatally shooting three executives at a semiconductor startup on the day he was fired.

 

2012 was also a bloody year. A fired employee at a Minneapolis sign company went on a workplace shooting rampage that left five dead and three injured. Lawrence Jones, an employee at a Fresno chicken processing plant, shot and killed co-workers. Jones “walked up to 32-year-old Salvador Diaz in the grinding room, put the handgun to the side of his head and pulled the trigger,” reported the Associated Press.

 

Needless to say business owners, property owners and human resource professionals see the deadly danger of “bring your guns to work.” The Florida Retail Federation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, Volkswagen, Caterpillar, Bridgestone and FedEx have all spoken out about the gun lobby’s workplace gun agenda. “Guns are inappropriate in our workplaces and workplaces include parking lots. We control those,” said the Florida Retail Federation. “Possession of firearms in the workplace or on company property is strictly prohibited,” said Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida which knows a little about the medical costs of gun violence.

 

Still, ask the NRA what causes gun violence including workplace and it will say “bad guys” who “don’t obey gun laws” despite the fact that 85 percent of mass shooters are legal gun owners and Southwest employee Lloyd Dean Buie who killed Michael Winchester this week was himself a legal gun owner.

NRA is Silent When Gun Violence, Including Against Cops, Doesn’t Fit Its Dogma

Friday, November 4th, 2016

 

What causes gun violence? Bad guys and gun-free zones says the NRA! Everyone knows that. Criminals “don’t obey laws” so laws are meaningless. Worse—gun-free zones don’t let good guys with guns stop the criminals who didn’t obey laws. End of story.

 

No wonder the NRA was so silent last summer when 18 law enforcement officers were brazenly shot in one week in Dallas and Baton Rouge. The cold blooded ambush shootings and murders could neither be blamed on “gun-free zones” or on criminals who “don’t obey laws”–both gunmen were legal gun owners who passed their background checks.

 

The Dallas and Baton Rouge police murders also exposed the NRA lie that assault weapons are used in few killings so bans would be meaningless. They would not have been “meaningless” to the fallen officers’ families.

 

The “patriotic” NRA doesn’t seem to worry about cop deaths. Why else would it defend “cop killer” bullets, aka armor-piercing bullets, as protected by the Second Amendment? Whose side is it on? The gun lobby also seeks to remove restrictions on criminal-friendly gun silencers regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934 because of their role in the St Valentine’s Day Massacre and other massacres! They are protected by the Second Amendment, it says.

 

The gun lobby also blocks a national registry which could flag gun owners who become unbalanced and violent after their gun purchases like both the Dallas and Baton Rouge police killers–and save lives. Amazingly, the gun lobby also thinks terrorist suspects on the No Fly list should be able to buy guns.

 

Since criminals “don’t obey laws” and gun-free zones don’t let good guys stop them, the gun lobby was strangely silent after the 2015 Chattanooga shootings. On July 16, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez opened fire at an Armed Forces Career Center and U.S. Navy Reserve center, killing four Marines and a sailor and wounding a police officer. The gun lobby tried to blame the Chattanooga murders on a “gun-free zone” until Military Times reported that, “At least two service members involved in the Chattanooga shooting were carrying personal weapons during the attack, in possible violation of current military rules, and unsuccessfully returned fire in an attempt to stop the homicidal gunman.”

 

This summer, when guns were banned at the Iowa State Fair, a board member of the Iowa Firearms Coalition proclaimed that “roughly 90 percent of mass-shooting events have occurred in so-called ‘weapons-free zones.'” Yet the brazen murder of two Des Moines police officers this week for which Scott Greene (pictured) is charged, was not exactly in a gun-free zone. 

Suspected police killer had history of run-ins with authorities

 

No, the Chattanooga, Dallas, Baton Rouge and Des Moines ambushes were not “gun-free zones” and at least three were perpetrated by legal gun owners. Abdulazeez passed his background check despite clear terrorist leanings. Why? According to Mother Jones, 85 percent of all mass shooters pass their background checks–a macabre list that includes the Orlando, Umpqua, Charleston, Planned Parenthood, Kalamazoo, Roanake, Lafayette, Chattanooga and Chapel Hill this year and last and the Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora, Fort Hood, Navy Yard, Northern Illinois University and Killeen, Texas Luby shooters in previous years.

 

The gun lobby doesn’t want to talk about mass shooters passing background checks and killing law enforcement officers and others. It conflicts with its “bad guys”/ gun-free zones dogma and shows we need better laws. The silence is deafening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why Universal Background Checks Cannot Keep Guns Out Of The Hands Of People With Mental Disabilities – – What Can

Sunday, October 23rd, 2016

by  Elliot Fineman
CEO – Founder
National Gun Victims Action Council 

 

Keeping guns out of the hands of people with mental disabilities is a goal supported by everyone from Gun Violence Prevention Groups (GVP) to the NRA and gun lobby and gun owners.

 

But they differ on how this can be done. GVPs believe—fervently—that Universal Background Checks (UBC)—a background check for every gun sold whether by a dealer, in a private sale, over the Internet or by mail order—will keep guns out of dangerous hands. The gun lobby opposes UBCs and advocates “fixing the mental health system.” “If we had no mentally ill people, the problem would be solved.” But this is a red herring.

 

The position ignores all the developed countries with the same percentage of people with mental disabilities as the U.S. but not the same gun violence. Why? They have sane gun laws preventing gun proliferation and people with mental disabilities having access to them.

 

Even if we had UBC the problem of keeping guns out of the hands of mentally disabled people would not be solved. Why? Because the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)—the database maintained by the FBI intended to flag prohibited purchasers when they try to buy guns— is missing 93% of the mental health records.

 

How many mental health records should be in NICS?

 

Psychologist Martha Stout, a clinical instructor at Harvard medical school, indicates in her book “The Sociopath Next Door” that four percent of the U.S. population consists of “conscienceless” sociopaths—12 million Americans. Based on data provided by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that 28.7% of American adults—66.5 million people—have been diagnosed and live with mental illnesses including major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar and anxiety disorder.

 

The June 30, 2016 FBI Uniform Crime Report shows  a total of14.8 million prohibited purchasers in the NICS Database of which 4.5 million are in the category of Adjudicated Mental Health (Mentally Disabled). But the NICS database should have 66.5 million mentally disabled prohibited purchasers entered—not 4.5 million—62 million records (93%) are missing.

 

Almost Empty Glass Clip Art at Clker.com - vector clip art onlin

 

Clearly, with 62 million mental health records missing, UBC cannot possibly keep guns out of the hands of people with mental disabilities. Eighty-five percent of all mass gun killers since 1982 passed their background check; all but 12 shooters in over 81 mass shootings were legal gun owners

 

Recent high profile murderers confirm this dangerous situation is ongoing. The Orlando, Dallas and Baton Rouge shooters and the Tucson, Aurora, Fort Hood, Navy Yard, Santa Barbara, Charleston, Planned Parenthood, Chattanooga, Kalamazoo, Roanoke, Umpqua, and Lafayette shooters all passed their background checks.

 

THERE IS A WAY TO KEEP GUNS OUT OF THE HAND OF MENTALLY DISABLED PEOPLE. IT IS CONSTITUTIONAL AND WE DO IT TODAY. I WILL DISCUSS IT IN MY NEXT UPDATE.

 

Elliot Fineman
CEO – Founder
National Gun Victims Action Council
www.gunvictimsaction.org/donate
www.gunvictimsaction.org


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