Posts Tagged ‘Fort Hood’

Don’t Ask These Parents About Guns On Campus

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

It happened seven times in one month in 2013–gun scares on U.S. college campuses. Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana was locked down for hours while Muncie and Indiana State police searched campus buildings. On the same day, the library at Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Massachusetts was evacuated due to a gun scare.

 

Then, in the same month, a disassembled AR-15 rifle, .40-caliber Glock handgun, ammunition for both and body armor were found in a dorm room at Northern Illinois University (where Steven Kazmierczak fatally shot five in 2008) and Central Connecticut State University, Indiana University, Wingate University and A&T State University were locked down from gun threats.

 

The campus shootings continued–at Seattle Pacific University and the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2014; at Umpqua Community College in 2015—as did the gun lobby’s agenda to arm U.S. college campuses. This summer, 50 years after sniper Charles Whitman shot 49 from the University of Texas clock tower, the university complied with a new Texas state law allowing concealed firearms in university buildings. And this week, Attorney General Chris Koster, the Democratic nominee for Missouri governor, filed a lawsuit supporting a University of Missouri professor’s desire to bring a concealed weapon on campus.

 

Except for bars, is there any worse place to have guns? College students are known for their high drug and alcohol use and extreme emotional states including suicidal thoughts. Then there are academic rivalries. In 2014, Purdue University teaching assistant Cody Cousins shot and killed teaching assistant Andrew Boldt in an electrical engineering classroom on the campus. Cousins had 17 university counseling appointments and was treated for amphetamine abuse but legally purchased his gun a week before the murder.

 

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Earlier this summer, UCLA Ph.D student Mainak Sarkar shot and killed William Scott Klug, a much loved professor. Press reports said Sarkar had a “hit list” of other professors he planned to kill and also shot and killed his wife. Like Cousins, Sarkar was known for suspicious and erratic behavior—and like Cousins he was a legal gun owner.

 

No wonder University of Oklahoma President David Boren says, “Placing guns on campus, except in the hands of highly trained law enforcement officers and professionals, would be a serious mistake. It would lead only to tragic results.” No wonder the American College Personnel Association “firmly opposes” guns on college campuses.

 

Of course the gun lobby wants to arm campuses so “good guys with guns can stop bad guys with guns.” No matter that the lobby arms bad guys through blocking universal background checks and tougher trafficking laws and that the last 22 mass shooters obeyed gun laws perfectly and were legal gun owners.

 

“It takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun” is an insulting and self-serving fantasy that sells guns, fills the morgues and protects no one. If it were true, how were 18 Dallas and Baton Rouge police officers shot last month? How were servicemen at Chattanooga recruitment stations shot last year when they were armed and shot back? Instead of admitting that terrorists, haters and cop killers can and do buy guns, the gun lobby yells we need more guns for “protection.” And now it is bringing its bloody agenda to college campuses.

 

The Year in Gun Massacres: More Bloodshed in More Places

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

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The NRA Thanks the Public for Its Short Memory

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

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Guns Have Feelings Too Says the Gun Lobby

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

 

Many have observed that in defending “gun rights,” the gun lobby helps the very bad guys it says it is against. Exhibit A is blocking private sale background checks so criminals can buy guns at gun shows–and do. Exhibit B is the 2004 Tiahrt amendments which block ATF from requiring yearly dealer inventory despite the tens of thousands of “lost” or “stolen” guns that become crime guns.

 

Of course the NRA obstructionism is because universal background checks will lead to “government confiscation” but arming criminals also sells guns to “good guys” because, well, the criminals have guns!

 

Exhibit C is laws, written by the “bill mill” ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and passed in a growing number of states making it illegal to destroy guns that police seize, often from crime scenes. Yes, the NRA wants to save guns on “death row” because they are “valuable property.”

NRA cartoons - Google Search

 

The NRA says fears that guns will go back to criminals is “absurd” and if police resold seized guns at a discount it would help lower-income Americans in high-crime areas. But guns resold by police are used in crimes including crimes in which law enforcers are shot says CNNMoney.

 

The new “Don’t Destroy” laws send police out to “face the same guns they risked their lives to get off the street,” says Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher. Hennepin County, MN Sheriff Richard Stanek agrees.

 

NRA spokesperson Jennifer Baker says seized guns are sold to “law-abiding citizens,” not criminals. But the Charleston, Chattanooga, Chapel Hill, Roanoke, Lafayette, Umpqua, Navy Yard, Fort Hood, Santa Barbara, Tucson, Aurora, and Virginia Tech shooters were all legal gun owners as are most mass shooters. Feel better? Baker also says the reason for destruction of seized guns is that anti-gun violence groups want to “want to get rid of all guns.”

 

It is hard to believe the Constitution-focused, “patriotic” gun lobby is so unabashedly pro-criminal and anti-law enforcement. In addition to releasing crime guns back to the street, it has pushed laws that ban gun buy-backs, a modest but effective way for family members to remove household guns. To demonstrate its contempt for law enforcement, gun victims and gun regulation, Guns Save Life in Champaign IL vowed to sabotage a Chicago buy-back this week by turning in inoperable and rusty guns. “We will be delighted to transact business once more with do-gooders in Chicago,” said its executive director.

 

With lethal shootings in church, schools, on US highways and even during newscasts, the public space is no longer safe. We have asked President Obama to declare a state of emergency as he did in 2009 when the swine flu became a daily, public health threat.

 

 

Sign here

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These mass shooters have “rights” says the gun lobby

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

 

One of the gun lobby’s biggest assets is the public’s short memory. Who remembers that Army Specialist Ivan Lopez shot 18 and killed 3 at Fort Hood last year? People barely remember that Alison Parker and Adam Ward were killed on-camera six weeks ago during a newscast.

 

This summer’s bloodshed in a church, movie theaters and at recruitment stations followed by shooting deaths on three US campuses in one week has roused politicians out of their deep gun denial. Clearly, a Congress that thought universal background checks, an assault weapons ban and better trafficking laws were too extreme after Sandy Hook, won’t be swayed by fifty new bereaved parents of slain college kids.

 

Still, there is a big difference between President Obama taking “executive actions” as politicians and anti-gun violence groups urge and invoking a true state of emergency. When the country is faced with large-scale danger, the President can declare a National State of Emergency which allows bypass of federal laws to protect citizens. During the swine flu epidemic in 2009, the President suspended laws governing hospital procedures, patient treatment and federal funding to save lives, as 20,000 were hospitalized and 1,000 died.

 

The gun lobby maintains that gun laws don’t work because “criminals don’t obey laws” but it is one of the lobby’s most lethal lies. The Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois, Tucson, Santa Barbara, Navy Yard, Fort Hood and Aurora killers were legal gun owners as were the recent Charleston, Chattanooga, Lafayette, Roanoke, Roseburg and Flagstaff murder suspects. In fact, most mass shooters have no trouble buying gun after legal gun. (We don’t know about the gunman who killed a Texas Southern University student the same day as the NAU Flagstaff shooting, because he is still at large.)

 

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Not only do mass shooters follow gun laws, there is a chilling intentionality to their murders. Purdue University student Cody Cousins who shot and killed a teaching assistant in a classroom last year, legally purchased his gun a week before the murder. Aaron Alexis bought his legal gun at Sharpshooters in Lorton, VA two days before he killed 12 at the Washington Naval Yard in 2013.

 

Yet according to the gun lobby (and the pols in its thrall), gun lovers with arsenals and stockpiled ammo, who watch violent videos all day and issue social media threats have “rights” until they shoot our kids. On the tip of a woman whose former boyfriend was collecting strobe and laser enhanced assault weapons despite a domestic violence conviction, NGVAC notified the Glendale, AZ and Henderson, NV police departments both of whom told us he had “gun rights” until he killed. What?

 

When mentally unbalanced and homicidal gun enthusiasts can buy weapon after legal weapon for their mass shootings, the nation is beyond the need for “executive actions.” It is time to declare a state of emergency.

 

Tell President Obama it is time to declare a state of emergency–before the next copycat mass shooting.

 

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Let People Just Out of Psychiatric Hospitals Have Their Guns Says NRA

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

 

This summer’s bloodshed from people with mental illness attacking churches, military installations, movie theaters and this week a Manhattan federal building has not stopped the NRA’s guns-for-everyone-and-anyone agenda. The NRA-backed Mental Health and Safe Communities Act would restore the “gun rights” of someone who has been hospitalized for mental illness automatically–as soon as he is discharged. Why shouldn’t someone on heavy medication considered a threat to himself and others two days ago get his lethal weapons back the minute he leaves the hospital? Currently, someone who’s been involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital must petition for the restoration of his “gun rights” or wait for a court or administrative body to restore them.

 

The NRA-backed legislation is reminiscent of H.R. 2640–The National Instant Criminal Background Check System Improvement Amendments Act which the NRA supported after the Virginia Tech massacre. Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech killer, was found “mentally ill and in need of hospitalization” by the New River Valley Community Services Board but bought legal guns and ammunition anyway.

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Like the Mental Health and Safe Communities Act, HR 2640 sounded like it would make communities safer. But on its website the NRA wrote the bill was actually “better for gun owners than current law,” because “certain types of mental health orders will no longer prohibit a person from possessing or receiving a firearm,” like adjudications that have expired or been removed and “commitments from which a person has been completely released with no further supervision required.” Also excluded, said the NRA, “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.”

 

Why does the NRA promote “gun rights” for people with mental illness? For the same reason it promotes “gun rights” for convicted felons, suspected domestic abusers and people under orders of protection. The NRA does not believe in “gratuitously tak[ing] away the rights of people because when you begin taking away the rights of people that you don’t like, that’s the slippery slope,” said NRA lobbyist Marion P. Hammer. “Don’t like?”

 

NRA cartoons - Google Search

 

That is why after the murder of nine Charleston church worshippers by a suspect with white supremacy attitudes and clear mental problems, the NRA website ignored the massacre in favor of telling its followers—the “largest gun grab in American history” was underway. “The Obama social security system plans to deny 4.2 million people the Right to Keep and Bear Arms,” screamed the NRA referring to a possible White House move to deny guns to Social Security beneficiaries ruled incompetent to manage their own pension or disability payments. Why should people who cannot manage their own affairs and likely have dementia be denied guns? Persecution!

 

This summer was rife with bloodshed from mentally ill people who should have never been able to buys guns–but shootings at Aurora, Tucson, the Navy Yard, Santa Barbara, Fort Hood and Northern Illinois University also underscore the dangers. Is the NRA serious?

 

Do you work for or patronize any of these top companies? Tell them to get off the sidelines and take a stand for gun safety with these pe-written tweets and posts.

"Gun-free" Zone Fiction Flatters Carriers; Insults the Public

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

 It has only been two years since Chris Kyle, the “American Sniper,” was killed on a shooting range in Erath County, Texas. His murder was followed by the shooting death in Georgia of Keith Ratliff of the YouTube gun show FPSRussia, who was surrounded by his own guns, and Frank Petro, owner of Frank’s Gun & Taxidermy Shop in Tunnelton, PA who was killed in his shop with his own gun.

 

Also shot and killed in 2013 were Kaufman County, Texas District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, despite the DA being “well-armed and so well-versed in guns,” according to his son, and other key law enforcement figures.

 

NGVAC Tell and Compel InitiativeStill it is the absence of guns–“gun-free” zones–that explains most shootings, say gun advocates, because bad guys know that good guys “have been disarmed!”

 

Under this self-flattering reasoning, armed guards are no replacement for armed citizens and Ford Hood, the Navy Yard and LAX airport are actually soft targets. “Let’s attack a military installation,” the bad guys say, according to gun advocates. “They won’t fight back.”

 

The gun-free zone fiction was rolled out by the gun advocacy movement as businesses have increasingly shunned belligerent and self-righteous “carriers” on their premises.

 

Just as Pepsi recently renounced the artificial sweetener aspartame and Chipotle renounced genetically modified food ingredients, top restaurant chains like Panera Bread, Starbucks, Sonic Drive-In, Chili’s Grill & Bar, Chipotle, Jack in the Box and Target have renounced guns on their property. Why? They hear their customers!

 

But of course, there is another reason property and building owners do not want guns on their property. If they fail to post No Guns Allowed signs and gun violence, injury or death occurs on their property they “face the argument that it was entirely foreseeable” advises top real estate, finance and litigation law firm Mayer Brown LLP.

 

Mishaps that could expose such property owners to lawsuits include faulty holsters, someone bumping a carrier, a carrier bumping someone else, a carrier falling or a carrier “mistaking a situation for one in which he is legally entitled to use a gun for self-defense or to save others,” says Mayer Brown. Their legal memo, found here, may well be the first property owner guidance on liability from guns on their property. Certainly, the toddler who killed his mother with her own gun in a Washington Walmart in December would pose liability to property owners under this guidance.

 

Of course militant “carriers” who are afraid to go where normal people go without their lethal weapons usually transmute their cowardice into a public service. We are protecting the public they yell–if a “bad guy” shows up you’ll be glad we are around.

 

But the legal memo from Mayer Brown begs to differ. Not only are sheriff-wannabes unlikely to “defend” anyone in a gun violence situation they are likely to cause more bloodshed. Nor would a property owner be faulted for disallowing such armed enforcers. “A court could hardly claim that a duty of care was violated because a property owner put up signs to help prevent this additional danger posed by would-be heroes,” says the memo.

 

The truth is the presence of guns makes an environment less safe not more safe. Exhibit A is all major corporations/companies which ban guns from their headquarter buildings. Corporations don’t want a shoot out between bad guys and good guys in their offices–they want no guns to begin with.  Needless to say, there aren’t too many shootings in their “gun-free zones.”

 

 

Join our action to tell corporate America to get off the “sidelines” and take a stand against gun violence including the “can’t miss” sniper rifle sold to civilians. When corporations want sane gun laws, we will have sane gun laws. Follow us at @GunVictimsAct

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NRA Taunts Gun Victims

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

It is hard to believe the NRA would make fun of the shooting that almost killed former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords and killed six. But it did this week. It tweeted “Gabby Giffords: Everyone Should Have to Pass Background Check My Attacker Passed,” from its main account.

 

The belligerent, macabre gloating is reminiscent of the 400 armed gun enthusiasts who greeted Virginia Tech survivors at a Richmond rally to close background check loopholes a year after the massacre and taunted them with “Y’all must be the ones who weren’t armed.” Nice.

 

The NRA says gun legislation infringes on the Second Amendment and criminals don’t obey laws anyway but the truth is many and possibly most mass shooters sail through their background checks.Cho

 

The killers responsible for the Tucson, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Navy Yard, Fort Hood, Santa Barbara and Northern Illinois University bloodbaths passed their background checks with flying colors, despite hospitalizations and military discharges for mental illness in some cases.

 

In 2007, the killers responsible for the Salt Lake City Trolley Square mall shooting and the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard shooting were legal gun owners. The Trolley Square shooter, Sulejman Talovic, was a Bossnian immigrant, legally required to show a second piece of identification, but bought the murder weapon at Sportsman’s Fastcash, a pawnshop chain in Utah, with just one, say investigators.

 

In 2009. Jiverly Voong killed 13 in Binghamton, NY and Richard Poplawski killed three Pittsburgh police officers and both were legal gun owners who passed their background checks. And let’s not forget Bruce Pardo, one of two shooters who dressed up as Santa Claus in recent years in order to annihilate their families. Pardo bought at least five firearms within five months from a single weapons dealer before killing nine on Christmas Eve in Covina, CA.

 

In 2008, Latina Williams killed two students at Louisiana Technical College with a 357 revolver and a box of ammunition bought in a New Orleans pawn shop the day before the murders. Williams was delusional, living in her car and giving her possessions away but it was easier for her to buy a gun than Sudafed. Jennifer Sanmarco, who killed six at the Goleta postal facility, was also a legal gun owner as were Terry Ratzmann, the Milwaukee church service killer, Chai Vang the Wisconsin hunter killer and Bart Ross, who killed a Chicago Federal judge’s husband and mother.

 

While the Virginia Tech, Aurora, Tucson, NIU and Louisiana Technical College killers were probably bordering on psychosis when they passed their background checks, gun owners who become mentally unstable after purchasing their guns cannot be identified without a registry and everyone knows a registry is the first step to gun confiscation and an invasion of ATF black helicopters. Just look at the tyrannies that the EU, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand have become because of their gun laws!

 

Besides, criminals have gun rights too says the gun lobby. When three major Florida law enforcement groups sought to tighten laws after the Sun Sentinel reported concealed weapon licenses issued to 1,400 probable felons (including a man who shot his girlfriend as she cooked breakfast, a pizza deliveryman wanted for fatally shooting a 15-year-old over a stolen order of chicken wings and six registered sex offenders), NRA lobbyist Marion P. Hammer said, “When you begin taking away the rights of people that you don’t like, that’s the slippery slope.”

 

Commensurate with its concept of gun “rights,” the NRA works unabashedly to let suspected domestic abusers under orders of protection keep their guns and have guns returned to convicted felons and people hospitalized with mental illness.

 

It is amazing lawmakers would not widen background checks when one of their own was savaged at a meet-the-public event that could happen to any of them. It is even more amazing lawmakers would support a group that laughs at the event.

 

Join our action to tell corporate America to get off the “sidelines” and take a stand against gun violence including the “can’t miss” sniper rifle sold to civilians. When corporations want sane gun laws, we will have sane gun laws. Follow us at @GunVictimsAct

Should People Who Hear Voices Have Guns? Yes Says the NRA

Monday, November 17th, 2014

After the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre in which 33 died, the National Rifle Association supported a federal law to make it harder for people with mental illness to get guns. Killer Seung-Hui Cho had been declared mentally ill by a Virginia special justice but was still allowed to purchase guns because he was not institutionalized.

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There was just one catch. The NRA’s support was contingent on legal provisions to restore “gun rights” to those who lost them for mental health reasons.

An early example of such restoration was Virginian Sam French who was hospitalized by court order four times in five years and told authorities he hears voices and talks to bears but got his guns back anyway according to the New York Times. Thank you, NRA

Even without the NRA’s quid pro quo, mechanisms to prohibit people with mental illness from buying guns are non-existent. A chilling map of how well states provide mental health records to the federal background check database shows that Oklahoma has provided 35 mental health records out of a likely 30,822, Montana has provided 3 out of a likely 8,125 and Louisiana has provided 4 out of a likely 37,207. No, the numbers do not come from the Onion.

And there is another problem. Without a national registry which the NRA has legally blocked out of fear of government “tyranny,” how is it ever known when someone who is a legal gun owner becomes mentally unstable? It isn’t.

In Chicago’s Cook County, more than 3,000 people failed to surrender their Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) cards last year after they were revoked, reported the Chicago Sun-Times. FOID cards allow someone to buy firearms and ammunition and are revoked for mental illness, felonies and protection orders. Yet often the firearms themselves are not confiscated. The system is “broken” says Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart–it “revokes cards, but the guns are of no consequence.”

Last year, reports the Sun-Times, Cook County law enforcement personnel recovered more than 35 firearms from one person whose card was revoked, including four AR-15 assault rifles. Hey, he had the right to defend himself.

Of course the U.S. mental health system is also broken said many speakers this week at a Chicago conference called “The Cost of Doing Nothing” sponsored by the Kennedy Forum. “If the nation wanted a good answer to Sandy Hook and Aurora” it would make a commitment to providing mental health care to any American who “suffers a psychotic break,” said former U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy at the event. We are not doing “what we know works.”

Families are often “happy” to see the removal of firearms from people whose FOID cards have been revoked said Sheriff Dart at the conference. There is “widespread agreement” about the importance to public safety of removing guns from people who have become dangerous, he said. Recently, California passed the first “gun order of protection” law allowing imperiled families and other citizens to request guns removed from dangerous persons.

Clearly, missing state health records like Louisiana’s 37,203 are behind many mass shootings– the Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University, Navy Yard, Aurora, Tucson, Santa Barbara, LAX and Fort Hood killers all bought their guns legally despite their mental health records.

But so are NRA sponsored laws that rearm people who hear voices and block a registry to know when gun owners have become mentally impaired! It is shocking but true–gun “rights” trump the occasional massacre to the NRA.

 

 

 

 

Join our action to tell corporate America to get off the “sidelines” and take a stand against gun violence including the “can’t miss” sniper rifle sold to civilians. When corporations want sane gun laws, we will have sane gun laws.

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