Posts Tagged ‘gun lobby’

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.

 

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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

People With Mental Illness Buying Guns? The NRA is Okay with It

Saturday, October 15th, 2016

It is no secret that many mass shooters have severe psychiatric illnesses at the time of their crimes. From Virginia Tech, Aurora and Tucson, to the Navy Yard, Umpqua, Roanoke and Orlando shootings, most shooters exhibited clear mental illness before their deeds.

 

What is a secret is that while the gun lobby says the “real problem” behind gun violence is mental illness, it actually works–stealthily- behind the scenes to restore the “gun rights” of people with severe mental illness.

 

 

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After the Virginia Tech murders, NRA lobbyists were successful in pushing through a provision in the NICS [National Instant Criminal Background Check System] 2007 amendments that allows the restoration of gun rights of mentally ill people if they “will not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety” and if “the granting of the relief would not be contrary to the public interest.”

 

The NRA, in a newsletter to its followers, did not hide the fact that the maneuver was a con job that looked like tightened gun access but actually did the opposite–improved access to guns for people with mental illness.

 

“In several ways this bill is better for gun owners than current law,” read the NRA website. “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.”

 

Thanks to the gun lobby maneuver, Sam French, a Virginian who was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility and told authorities he heard voices, had his right to possess firearms reinstated and his gun returned after a short court hearing in 2009. Why should hearing voices intrude on his “gun rights”?

 

Another man who was involuntarily hospitalized in a psychiatric facility because of a meth addiction also had his “gun rights” restored, reported the Oregonian. He soon had a “new XDM Springfield handgun at his side,” wrote the paper. Nice.

 

Reject These Gun Lobby Lies

 

The U.S. gun violence epidemic which takes 90 lives a day, 31 from homicides, is predicated on key gun lobby lies. “Criminals don’t follow laws,” says the lobby despite the fact that 85 percent of mass shooters since 1981 have been legal gun owners not criminals.

 

“It takes a good guy to stop a bad guy” says the lobby despite the fact that 18 law enforcement officers were shot by legal gun owners (not “criminals”) in one week this summer.

 

And finally, “the real problem is mental illness” says the lobby even as it helps people with mental illness own guns. But of course every country in the world has mental illness–rich and poor, industrialized and developing. What they do not have are massacres like Virginia Tech, Aurora, Umpqua or Orlando because they don’t have the gun lobby arming their mentally ill population.

 

Shot By Your Own Gun? Gun Advocates Don’t Want to Talk About It

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

It has been more than two years since the Rev. Kenneth Walker was killed in Phoenix with a .357-caliber gun owned by his fellow priest Rev. Joseph Terra. Weeks later, New Jersey resident Stephen McMahon was killed with his own gun after an altercation outside his home. The same week minister Donald Frazier was killed with his own weapon during a botched robbery attempt at his home on the Fourth of July in suburban Houston. During a struggle, the intruder grabbed Frazier’s gun and shot him with it said authorities. Neighbors said they thought the gunshots were fireworks.

 

It is anathema to gun advocates but heavily armed “good guys” are often killed by “bad guys” anyway, sometimes with their own guns. In January of 2013, Frank Petro, longtime owner of Frank’s Gun & Taxidermy Shop was killed at his gun dealership in Conemaugh, PA. with his own gun. The next day, Keith Ratliff, business manager of the popular YouTube gun show FPSRussia was shot and killed in Carnesville, GA while surrounded with his guns. Ratliff’s show, which featured his friend Kyle Myers showing off the fire power of weapons and triggering explosions while faking a Russian accent, was viewed by millions. The next month “American Sniper” Chris Kyle, arguably the nation’s best shot, was shot and killed on a gun range—not exactly a gun-free zone.

 

When asked how gun experts and enthusiasts could be victims of the “bad guys” they are armed against, gun advocates always cite the element of “surprise” as if that weren’t the definition of gun crime. Do they think criminals will yell “draw” from a block away like the old West?

 

When it comes to armed people killed with their own guns, pro-gunners especially don’t want to talk about women. That is because telling women to “arm themselves too” is the way the gun lobby justifies its aggressive promotion of domestic abuser “gun rights.” Both Michigan and Louisiana have weighed “gun rights” against the rights of women to not be killed by intimate partners and SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas actually broke his decades long silence to weigh in on the issue. “Give me another area where a misdemeanor violation suspends a constitutional right,” he said, suggesting domestic abusers shouldn’t lose their ability to carry guns.

 

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Yet death at the hands of an armed, irate intimate partner is a leading cause of women’s deaths in the U.S. A year ago, Amanda Cloaninger and her friend Lindy Dobbins in St. Augustine, FLA were shot and killed by her husband hours after he received probation for violating an order of protection. Two days later, Blessing Okereke was shot and killed by her husband in the Bank of America tower in Dallas. The following day, Nuria N. Kudlach was fatally shot at her home in State College, PA– her husband was charged—and hours later Sonja Wells Raine was fatally shot on her job in Pascagoula, MS by her husband. Also shot by enraged husbands during the same week last summer but not killed were Francisca Jew at a donut shop in Devine, TX and an unidentified Arlington, WA woman.

 

Pro-gun lawmakers rely on the public’s short memory to avoid passing new guns laws. After 18 police officers were shot this summer by legal gun owners who passed their background checks despite clear red flags they went on vacation, hoping we will forget. After the Orlando massacre—the worst in U.S. history—they refused to even ban terrorist suspects from buying guns. Like domestic abusers, terrorist suspects apparently have “gun rights.”

Are You Dining or Shopping Next to A Gun Carrier? Probably.

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

For over six years, NGVAC has pointed out the sheer insanity of US gun laws—that anyone on the Terror Watch List can buy a gun, that 90 percent of mental health records are missing from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and that carrying a gun, unless someone is highly trained and periodically retrained, does not even offer self-defense.

 

We have highlighted the insanity of allowing civilians to own sniper weapons as snipers have terrorized Washington DC, Pennsylvania and major highways. And in a popular series called “Beware the Law-Abiding Citizen” we have exposed how most gun perpetrators are not “bad guys” but “law-abiding citizens.”

 

Now, NGVAC is pointing out that all US corporations ban guns from their headquarters and boardrooms–yet only a handful protect their customers and employees in the same way. The new feature is called “Corporate Hypocrite of the Month” and followers are asked to notify the hypocrite that they will withdraw their business until guns are banned.

 

Companies like to say they are following “local laws” but local laws allow a business or property owner to ban guns. The truth is businesses won’t get off the sidelines and take a stand against gun violence even though they can.

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Home Depot Is The First Hypocrite

 

Home Depot welcomed Texas’ newly legal handgun carriers this year despite the fatal shooting of a Home Depot manager by a disgruntled employee at a Chelsea, NY store last year and a shopper brazenly shooting at alleged shoplifters at an Auburn Hills, MI store in October. Home Depot hosted “open carry” rallies on its property.

 

Like all customers entering businesses that allow guns, Home Depot customers are shopping next to gun carriers without their knowledge or consent. Worse, the carriers may not even know how to shoot or handle the weapon since West Virginia, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Maine, Vermont and Wyoming now all allow people to “carry” with no training required! (Untrained carriers also heighten the financial risks that businesses allowing guns already face.)

 

No Smoking But Guns Allowed?

 

In many ways, public awareness of gun dangers parallels that of secondhand smoke. There was a time that people would shop or dine next to smokers oblivious to the clear cancer dangers we now know exist and the violation of their right to a safe environment. Now, many chains like Starbucks, Panera Bread, Sonic Drive-In, Chili’s Grill & Bar, Chipotle, Jack in the Box and Target are requesting that patrons do not bring in guns. But requesting is not enough.

 

“They do not ‘request’ that people do not bring guns into boardrooms or corporate headquarters—they ban them,” says NGVAC’s founder and CEO Elliot Fineman. Tell Home Depot you are withholding your business until it bans guns.

Click here.

 

 

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 Budget Bill Blocks CDC Research as the Gun Lobby Wants

Sunday, December 20th, 2015

by Elliot Fineman
CEO – Founder
National Gun Victims Action Council

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I founded NGVAC for one simple reason—the strategies of current anti-gun violence groups, big and small, can never succeed at the federal level. No matter what gun atrocities occur, the 34 Senators from pro-gun states (among others) will never allow gun safety legislation to pass. (more…)

Violent Domestic Abusers Have Gun Rights Too–NRA

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

More than three fourths of domestic homicide victims are stalked before they are killed. Yet both stalking and domestic abuse are only misdemeanors in Louisiana. Recently the NRA and other pro-gun groups came at Louisiana lawmakers who were considering stronger regulations against domestic violence with both barrels blazing.
 
The bill under consideration would add “dating partner” as a qualifier for domestic abuse battery charges which currently only name household members such as spouses, family members or co-habitants. Ray Rice, the former Baltimore Ravens running back caught on video battering his fiancé in an elevator, would likely not be covered under current Louisiana domestic battery laws said Rep. Helena Moreno, D-New Orleans, the bill’s sponsor. The bill would also enhance penalties for violations of protective orders.
 
But the bill would violate “gun rights” said gun lobbyists descending upon Baton Rouge. “We don’t need to rush to take away people’s rights just because they made a mistake,” Bradley Gulotta, from Guns Across America told lawmakers. “Not everyone who got in an argument–had a push, had a shove–is gong to come back and do more bodily harm or be a danger to other people.” Let’s give the pushers and shovers the benefit of the doubt …and their firearms? Beside, what if the person had only had “one date” whined gun lobbyists–no fair!
 
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The NRA’s Tara Mitchell agreed that strengthening laws would take away “citizens civil rights.” The proposed 10-year prohibition on gun owning for convicted batterers violates “a constitutional right” and is “just not something we can support” she told lawmakers.
 
NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker was not present at the hearings but echoed the pro-domestic batterer rhetoric in an email to the Times-Picayune. The bill “is so overly broad that it could make a felon out of a girlfriend who pulls a cell phone from her boyfriend’s hand against his will.” Or a man who pummels and drags his girlfriend in an elevator?
 
Both Mitchell and Bakers said the answer to domestic violence was enforcing existing laws–which, of course, deem stalking and domestic battery misdemeanors.
 
The gun lobby’ work to restore “gun rights” of convicted felons, suspected batterers under orders of protection and people who have been hospitalized with mental illness is well publicized. Why should violent or disturbed people have guns? Because if you take away their “gun rights” pretty soon we will all be disarmed and living under violent fascist dictatorships like the oppressed peoples in EU countries, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.
 
“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 when the Sun Sentinel reported that valid concealed weapon licenses were 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. People “you don’t like?”
 
Domestic violence allegations have touched the top echelons of the NRA. The wife of the NRA’s own New York City field representative Richard D’Alauro, Maribeth testified on Capitol Hill that she endured years of bullying and abuse from the NRA honcho. D’Alauro possessed 39 guns when charged with assault, harassment and endangering the welfare of a child. Nice.
 
The truth is the gun lobby is okay with US domestic violence deaths–estimated at 1,000 a year, mostly women–to preserve the “gun rights” of its constituency also known as its revenue stream.
 

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
 
 


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