Posts Tagged ‘mass shootings’

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

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.

 

West Virginia Joins States Not Requiring Gun Carriers To Have Permits Or Training

Monday, March 7th, 2016

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by

Elliot Fineman
CEO – Founder
National Gun Victims Action Council

 

Despite the objections of West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and law enforcement officers, the West Virginia House officially tossed out this month permit and training requirements for people over 21 who want to carry a concealed weapon, overriding the governor’s veto. (more…)

Shot and Killed at Work? It Happens About 400 Times a Year in the US

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

Article: Loose and Non-Existent Background Checks Cost Women's L
January 21, 2016
 
It’s every employer’s worst nightmare. An angry employee with a gun takes out his revenge on a boss, coworkers or both. Recently the San Bernardino holiday party massacre and the on-camera Roanoke TV crews shootings were workplace violence. (more…)

 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…)

There is One– And Only One– Path To Halting The Gun Violence Epidemic– Obama Must Declare A National State of Emergency

Friday, December 4th, 2015

by Elliot Fineman
CEO National Gun Victims Action Council
December 4, 2015

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(more…)

Here Is an Example of Gun Control Done in the US Today and Practiced for Decades. Surprise– It Works!

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

by Elliot Fineman
CEO National Gun Victims Action Council
November 22, 2015

There have not been any machine gun incidents in decades. How come? 100,000 are owned and they can be sold or transferred to those that want them.
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A machine gun differs from a semi-automatic assault weapon in that one pull of the trigger rapidly fires a torrent of bullets whereas a semi-automatic assault weapon fires one bullet for each trigger pull. Yet—as we tragically know—they can fire 50 to 100 bullets per minute.

As per the National Firearms Act of 1934—and subsequent laws including the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act of 1986— every machine gun is registered—and every current machine gun owner or would-be purchaser or relative the machine gun owner might want to transfer the machine gun to— including his children—must go through a full (total) background check. (more…)

THE FALSE PROMISE OF UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS.

Saturday, October 31st, 2015

by Elliot Fineman
CEO National Gun Victims Action Council

 

While all of the gun violence prevention groups—large and small—are pushing for universal background checks (a background check for every gun sold) they overlook the fact that in the last eleven high-profile gun massacres, each of the killers or suspects passed a background check. Universal background checks would have done nothing to prevent these massacres.

 

To prevent the Charlestons, Auroras and Umpquas, universal background checks—which only look at an electronic database which is missing millions of records—will not suffice. We need “universal real background checks —checks that are as thorough as those done for adopting a child. (By the way this is how they do it in other countries—like England.)

 

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Checks should include interviews with the people who actually know the purchaser (neighbors, family, workplace associates) and interviews with the purchaser himself. Every one of the last eleven high-profile killers was known in his community to be mentally unstable and deeply troubled. They were clearly unfit to be gun owners. Nonetheless, they passed their background check.

 

Our side’s incremental approach—this is the best we can get right no; we will improve it in the future—has played a major role in causing the gun violence epidemic.
 
The impact of past incremental approaches includes:

When the initial Brady Background Check Bill (Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act) was developed and enacted in 1993 drafters agreed to make reporting of prohibited gun purchasers by states optional—it is still not mandatory. As a result, studies show that today 90% of state mental health records that should be in the database of prohibited purchasers are not.* These people routinely pass background checks and some commit mass murders.

 

When the Federal Assault Weapons Ban was passed in 1994, instead of our side insisting that the definition of an assault weapon be based on function—any firearm that fired more than 10 bullets a minute—our side agreed to have assault weapons defined by the technical mechanism used to extract and install a magazine. This allowed manufacturers to install a cheap button on the side of the assault weapons they already manufactured which circumvented the definition and nullified the ban. Today, far more lethal assault weapons are sold as the meaningless ban was allowed to expire in 2004.

 

Now many gun violence prevention groups—not National Gun Victims Action Council— are pushing for universal background checks when they should be pushing for universal real background checks.

 

It is highly unlikely that either one will pass because of the structural problem in the Congress that gives undue power to the significant number of pro-gun states. (I will write about why that is the case next week.) It is the structural problem that explains why no sane gun laws have been passed at the federal level since 1993. While some point out that smoking and seat belt laws took a long time to pass, the cost of delay of sane gun laws is 30,000 lives per year. We cannot sign up for a solution that will take decades to achieve.

 

The certain way to deal with the horror of gun violence now is for President Obama to declare a state of emergency due to the gun violence epidemic and then unilaterally issue the unrestrained executive orders needed to halt it—including universal real background checks—orders he cannot issue without declaring a state of emergency. That is why we urge you to sign our petition asking him to do just that Change.org Petition for State of Emergency

 
*Feasibility Study- Illinois State Police, Nov. 7, 2009.
NGVAC Analytical Study December 12, 2014

 

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.

 

tinyurl.com/nshoqg3


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