How the Law Enables Aurora and Oregon Style Mass Shooters
What if you had a boyfriend who was arrested and convicted for domestic violence against you? And even though you split up and he moved to another state, you know he is amassing military style weapons because you have an eight-year-old daughter together who visits him in the other state and he sends you pictures of the weapons?
That is the situation of a Nevada woman who has repeatedly reached out to state and federal authorities about a possible mass shooter-in-the-making. “My former boyfriend, who was convicted for gun-related domestic violence, should be banned from owning a gun,” the woman told us. “Yet he has sent me pictures of his weapons and our daughter has seen them. His current girlfriend also says he’s heavily armed.”
The so-called Lautenberg amendment to the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997 bans access to firearms by people convicted of crimes of domestic violence.
The woman who contacted us wrote law enforcement and municipal authorities in Glendale, AZ, where the former boyfriend now resides, that he is likely in possession of strobe and laser enhanced assault weapons and tactical vests for reloading. Such weaponry is not necessary for “defending your home,” the woman told a reporter and “It seems like he is preparing for something.”
When we contacted the Glendale police department, information officer Tracy Breeden said, “assault weapons are not illegal” and that the department could not be expected to track down all the “prohibited purchasers running around all over the place,” especially because there is no federal database. Why is there no database? Because NRA lobbyists convinced Congress to prohibit a centralized database and gun sales records are kept by the gun dealers at 60,000 separate locations. Let’s get those bad guys, right NRA?
“There is no record of [the woman] ever making a report and/or notifying the Glendale Police Department about the information she provided you on weapons violations and the welfare of her children,” Officer Breeden wrote us in a follow-up email. But it sounded like the Glendale police also lacked centralized records–because the Mayor’s office acknowledged the police report.
An email to the woman from Glendale Mayor Weiers’ office says “The Police Department has responded back to me regarding your concern listed in your e-mail. If there is a violation or crime being committed it would be on a federal level and would need to be investigated and prosecuted by the US Marshal and US Attorney. There would be no legal justification for us, at the state level, to step in and take this person’s property.” Military style weapons capable of mass death are “property”?
We also contacted the Henderson, NV police department, where the gun-related domestic violence incident allegedly occurred. Again we were told the records could not be pulled–and even if they could, a former girlfriend’s allegations were not “probable cause” to investigate the situation said Kathleen Richards, Senior Public Information Specialist.
Let’s wait until someone gets killed?
The domestic arrest and conviction in question have been sealed, Richards told us. But, even if the record were not sealed, it would have no effect on what happens in other states she said. (Officer Breeden of the Glendale police department also told us a conviction for gun-related domestic violence in one state has no bearing on another state.)
“Does this mean a domestic batterer can be convicted in one state and move to another and do the same thing?” commented the woman when we told her what we found out. “In the wake of the massacres in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut we should be alarmed at anyone that not only has been convicted of domestic violence but where a gun was involved in an emotionally unstable situation whether or not the person actually served a sentence.
“I have seen him [the boyfriend and father of her daughter] so angry, he will break things for eight hours. He also plays violent video games all day long. This is not about the safety of me or my daughter–it is about everyone’s safety.”
Since September, we are aware of 14 wives shot by angry armed husbands in the US–and only two survived. Violent domestic abusers, often under orders of protection, are a major cause of women’s deaths. The NRA defends the rights of people to keep their guns while under orders of protection.
Tell President Obama enough gun violence is enough. Declare a state of emergency.