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Letters to the Editor

Background checks

April 18, 2009

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To the editor:

This is about the recent shootings around the nation, i.e., Pittsburgh, Pa., Binghamton, N.Y., and others.

While many of our U.S. citizenry are clamoring for more gun laws, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., stated, “We need to enforce the gun laws that we have.”

This brings to mind the issue of background checks, as required by law before purchase of a firearm can be made. Background checks, for the most part, are adequate. However, sometimes, background checks fail to ferret out an applicant’s history of mental illness.

The shooter on Virginia Tech’s campus had a long history of mental illness, which included involuntary hospitalization for mental issues, as well as aftercare.

Investigation revealed that the shooter legally purchased firearms in the states of Virginia and Wisconsin. Background checks were made in the two states, as far as the laws permitted.

While I haven’t a clue whether Congresswoman Pelosi’s comment was politically motivated, I strongly believe that “political correctness” should not trump public safety.

Hinton is from Lawrence

Comments

Kirk Larson 4 years, 12 months ago

I reiterate: I'm OK with gun ownership, but there needs to be a system to track ALL sales of guns. No gun show loopholes and you must be able to prove you have not sold a gun every few years. You do as much for your car, why not your gun?

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Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 12 months ago

Why are people so angry? Why all the name calling? Does it make you feel better to insult President Obama and the speaker of the house? Does being angry enough to kill someone count as a mental illness and who knows when someone is crossing the threshold between wanting to kill and preparing to kill.

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edjayhawk 5 years ago

Anyone can get a gun. Just go to a shady area of a city and buy one right there on the street.

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labmonkey 5 years ago

I do think some of the questions they ask you on the form you fill out while buying a gun are funny.

"Are you currently a fugaitve on the run from the law?"

"Are you residing in this country legally?"

Oh shoot, I answered yes and the got me. Those sneaky bastards.

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jaywalker 5 years ago

Snap provides the first chuckle of my day. Thanks for that. And Nancy_boy brings up Pelosi.......and breakfast starts comin' back up. No thanks for that! My father has taken to sayin' "Pelosi!" instead of curse words: "Pelosi! I spilled the paint!" "Pelosi! The Yankees beat the Indians!"

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Tom Shewmon 5 years ago

I seriously doubt Pelosi could even recite 1/10 of "....the gun laws that we have.” She's just not real intelligent, and for sure lacks any trace of integrity and has zero credibility. Wow!

Did you guys see her hold her hand up and pledge to Wolfie Blitzer that the porkulus bill she had prepared for Obama had NO earmarks? Wow!

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Flap Doodle 5 years ago

I saw the headline & thought it was a story about how many members of Barry's regime seem to have legal problems. Never mind.

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Marion Lynn 5 years ago

I wonder how many of you want your medical records held in a national database?

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jaywalker 5 years ago

It's also important to note that background checks will not keep anyone from getting a gun if they really want it. Anyone can buy as many guns as they want at any gun show, and not from a licensed vendor.

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notajayhawk 5 years ago

The shooter on Virginia Tech’s campus had a long history of mental illness, which included involuntary hospitalization for mental issues, as well as aftercare.

Investigation revealed that the shooter legally purchased firearms in the states of Virginia and Wisconsin. Background checks were made in the two states, as far as the laws permitted.

I wish, before people pointed to the failure of 'enforcing existing laws,' they really understood those laws. Not just the one that says a mentally ill person can't own a firearm, but the laws defining 'mental defects' and the states' authority to restrict their freedoms.

If memory serves (all the legal documents used to be available online, I'd have to find the links), the shooter in W. Va. had once been detained for a psychiatric evaluation. This in itself is not evidence of a mental problem serious enough to warrant keeping him locked up, or preventing him from owning a gun. That's up to the mental health professionals (in conjunction with the courts) to decide during the evaluation, and it was their finding that treatment in an outpatient setting was appropriate. That means they did not consider him to be an imminent danger to his or anyone else's safety.

Half the people in this country will meet the diagnostic criteria for some disorder in the DSM during their lifetime. Not all of them have a 'mental defect' sufficient to warrant a restriction of their freedoms. While in hindsight it's easy to say this guy shouldn't have been allowed to buy a gun, neither the courts or the mental health system have crystal balls to work with, and I don't think anyone really wants many of our freedoms curtailed based on fears of what a person might do in the future.

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