Thursday, June 18, 2015

Gun Laws can Work

Gun laws work.

Not 100% of the time. Not flawlessly. Man's inhumanity to man is not negated in it's totality... but Gun Laws save lives. Law, by itself, isn't sufficient of course. Enforcement by authorities, a court and corrections system, and a culture that respects the law is necessary as well. But gun laws save lives.

Gun laws save lives by keeping #1) Guns out of the hands of people who have no business EVER owning a gun and #2) Keeping guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have a gun during certain times in their life.

Someone, while defending the system that enables our National Ritual of the Mass killing with a gun, asked me to list, I assume with specific codes and such, laws that would have stopped the most recent mass killer from his mass gun killing. (If another gun massacre has occurred since I wrote this, it was in reference to the Charleston, SC Massacre that took the lives of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Depayne Middleton, Ethel Lance, Susie Jackson, Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton,Myra Thompson, and Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr)

The folks who died were older folks who had put in long years serving their communities. They were Reverends and Teachers and Librarians and Coaches, good folks who would have given many more good years of shaping the minds and lives of young people and people in need in their community. They had names and families and lives and histories and deserve to be mentioned as more than a body count or statistic.

The killer is believe to be, and is in custody as I write this, Mr. Dylann Roof. He is, as with most times we have this conversation, a younger man. He had no job, was supported financially by family, had a history of social isolation, trouble with educations, concerns about his lifestyle from friends an family, interactions with the police because of erratic behavior and so on. This is a rather standard description of many other shooters in similar events over the past years. You can go here for details:

In February he was behaving erratically, asking odd questions and eventually having folks call the police of the Columbiana Center, and also getting banned from the center for a year but returned in violation of that agreement and was arrested for Trespassing. Upon searching his vehicle he was found to have an illegal measure of the habit forming narcotic Suboxone in his possession with no prescription or such. He lied about this to police and was taken in custody, eventually relesed on bail.

An individual who is scheduled for Trial for a felony is not supposed to be able to purchase a gun. Question B on the Federal ATF Form ( "Are you under indictment or information in any court for a felony, or any other crime, for which the judge could imprison you for more than a year?"

This is because if a person is out on Bail for felony charges, that person is not allowed to buy a gun. Either someone isn't on bail, or they lie on the form, or they don't legally get a gun. And, when localities follow their due diligence and report it when you are on bail that will show up on a background check.

You agree to many things when you agree to post bail, often not leaving the state or being monitored or such.

In April of this year, on his Birthday, Dylann Roof was given a pistol by his father. This was in South Carolina so, though he was out on bail and would not have passed a background check, he did not have to do so. The person who provided him that weapon likely is not liable for giving that person a gun since it is imaginable he could be ignorant of the charges of the indicted individual and that he was not out on bail.

Some states, such as California, have passed laws stating that when you transfer the ownership of a firearm - even to a family member - you much conduct a background check. The fees for this are waived in some situations, but there should always be a background check.

A properly maintained and enforces system of Universal Background Checks would have made the transfer of this gun from buyer to killer illegal. In California this WOULD have been illegal. ( That law, and compliance to it, would have kept that gun out of the hands of this killer.

He didn't buy a gun on the black market, he didn't buy it from a retailer, he got the firearm through a transfer between private citizens with no background check WHEN HE WOULDN'T HAVE PASSED ONE.

So THAT is the particular law that first comes to mind when I think about the legislative part of trying to slow down the terrible amount of killings like these.

Defending Dylann's right to get a gun while awaiting trial for his felony is defending the events that happened today.

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