Posts Tagged ‘Umpqua’

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

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