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For those who agree we need more gun control, we have a talking point.

We know the Virginia Tech shooter was found by a District Court Judge in Virginia in 2005 to be a "threat to self or others." (CNN is trying to obfusctae the salient "others" finding, though, by deleting mtention of it.)

We know Mr. Cho twice passed background checks to buy a firearm in the past month.

So, between the Federal and Virginia governments, there was no mechanism to prevent individuals who were found by the court to to be a danger to others from buying handguns. No laws, no databases, no resources and no will.

No amount of spin by the N.R.A. can obfuscate this fact.

The N.R.A. must answer the following question "yes" or "no"- no equivocation:

"Should a court-held 'threat to others' be able to buy a gun legally?"

The N.R.A.'s answer is "yes" and the American people deserve to hear this.

Our police state is a farce: Cat Stevens can't fly but Mr. Cho can buy a gun.

Originally posted to essexgreen on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 04:48 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Which is (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Smallbottle, stevej, greenearth, galaxy33

    EXACTLY why repealing the 2nd Amendment once and for all is the only sensible response.

    Fuck the NRA (and its apologists).

  •  Mind bogglingly bad (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ortcutt, davidkc, cwaltz, dougymi

    Katrina style, almost a comedy of errors if the outcome had not been so horrific.

    Oh that we had the gift to see ourselves as others see us. Robbie Burns

    by ohcanada on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 04:48:29 PM PDT

  •  Millions of crazies can get guns. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    New Sweden, galaxy33

    It's the price we pay for the right to bear arms. Why are we surprised when about once every four weeks one of them takes it into his head to shoot a bunch of people. Of course the NRA and its supporters will tell you we should all be carrying guns. Do you really want your daughter to go into a classroom of 19 years olds packing heat. I don't.  

  •  My natural father (12+ / 0-)

    was another shining example of the system being broken. He shot and wounded a police officer and was imprisoned. Prior to that he was in and out of rehab for his alcohol addiction and was summoned to our house for outbursts of violence at least twice while drunk. He was a proud gun owner.

    We definitely should be looking more carefully for ways to ensure people who are not mentally competent do not get weapons to hurt others.

  •  Any database is only... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ortcutt, cwaltz, greenearth

    as good as it's most inept channel for feeding it information. The GAO has done a ton of work on this over the years.

    I'd bet you there are thousands more gaps, such as the one Chow slipped through.

    I was concerned about the "insta-check" business from the jump, primarily for that reason. And secondarily because it would inevitibly lead to breaking down protections surrounding medical privacy.

    I don't want to repeal the 2nd, it would start a war of attrition to the entire constitution I expect.

    But there's nothing whatsoever wrong with being thoroughly investigated if you aim to buy a weapon--especially one capable of doing the harm the V-Tech shooter did.

  •  What's an even bigger outrage... (8+ / 0-)

    is that private sales aren't subject to any background checks at all.  Private sales account for 40% of all gun sales.  If someone has a gun they want to sell, they can sell it to a felon or a mentally-ill person, whoever, and there is no background check at all.

  •  what in the world? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    essexgreen, greenearth

    That is exactly the kind of thing you would expect to be disqualifying in a background check.

    You will be doing a public service finding out who wa looking the other way when the background laws were implemented. Expose them all.

    •  Evaluation and release (3+ / 0-)

      Would not (and should not) show up in any background check.

      Revolutionary words start revolutions

      by Catte Nappe on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 05:18:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Including court ordered evaluation? (0+ / 0-)

        maybe some time limit on that? Geez, it's time and time again, seems like every 5 years or so, somebody explodes in violence with a gun and it was already a known they were not stable.

        I understand the privacy aspect - can that be preserved with an exception for gun ownership?

        I'm a gun owner here, and have been on both sides of the barrel. I am sure I would be extremely pissed if anybody ever decided I should not be on the firing side, especially on the basis of mental illness. Nobody, especially the mentally ill, want to be denied any rights and priveleges because in somebody else's judgement, they are not all there.But I'm not sure I would want to be on the receiving side because we as a nation decided to err on the side of rights of the mentally ill.

        It is an enigma. Who do we trust to judge mental illness? It goes on and on. But so do the massacres. Sooner or later we have to take some action that makes some sense, and by making some sense, I mean both side of this 100 year debate have to come to terms.

  •  Reality check (14+ / 0-)

    He was not certified a danger to self or others. There was enough reason for concern that he might be a danger to himself to justify a detention for evaluation. The result of the evaluation was his release. Being evaluated is not equivalent to being involuntarily committed.

    a district court in Montgomery County, Va., ruled that Cho presented "an imminent danger to self or others." That was the necessary criterion for a detention order so that Cho, who had been accused of stalking by two female schoolmates, could be evaluated by a state doctor

    This does not contribute to the very worthwhile and necessary debate about gun control (that is inevitable even if it weren't worthwhile). It is faulty information that is being spread all over the MSM due to their lack of knowledge and failure to acquire expert advice.

    Additional note - I cannot find any reliable information that the evaluation was due to the stalking; only that it was initiated after a fellow student expressed concern that Cho might be suicidal.

    Revolutionary words start revolutions

    by Catte Nappe on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 04:58:19 PM PDT

    •  Doesn't matter how you define it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RFK Lives, greenearth

        Such a person should not be able to purchase or possess a functioning firearm.

      •  Such a person? (8+ / 0-)

        Because someone mentions they are thinking of suicide, and the system takes action to make sure they don't (and won't) seriously follow through - they should forever after be prevented from legally buying a gun?  

        Also, in some instances it is quite easy to get someone detained for evaluation. Posters in other threads have given examples of spouses in contentious divorces, greedy relatives of an elderly person, and I know in the past of instances where parents have done so because a daughter's love interest was not "suitable". I would not be surprised if the latter was still possible in small towns where the parents are influential.

        Revolutionary words start revolutions

        by Catte Nappe on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 05:06:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why are you even asking? (5+ / 0-)

          Because someone mentions they are thinking of suicide, and the system takes action to make sure they don't (and won't) seriously follow through - they should forever after be prevented from legally buying a gun?  

          The obvious answer is yes.  You do not put guns into the hands of homicidal or suicidal people.  How many more killings like this is it going to take to convince you of this?

          •  The evaluation results (4+ / 0-)

            Evidently deemed that he was neither actively suicidal nor homicidal.

            As for "convcincing me": I'm a proponent of the "well regulated militia" school of thought (i.e. National Guard only); or failing that licensing, registration, liability insurance -just like having a car.

            But, if we are going to have the debate, let's do it from facts.  20/20 hindsight is all well and good, but the system did not find Cho to be a danger and he was legally able to buy a gun. Some people "evaluated" should never be turned loose with a gun; others are perfectly safe and rational folks. This aspect of this situation is not grounds for this debate.

            Revolutionary words start revolutions

            by Catte Nappe on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 05:24:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not buying it (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              greenearth, galaxy33

                When you give a gun to somebody, you are basically electing him or her captain of the boat, giving that person power of life and death.  You don't want that person to be unbalanced.  "The system" wasn't evaluating the murderer for his qualifications to hold a gun, because they weren't even expected to think about it.  And "the system" should have the highest standards if they do think about it.
                And personally, I do not want people who have been "thinking about suicide" running around with guns.  That is a perfect no-brainer.

          •  So a brief suicidal episode in your teens..... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ...should bar you from owning a gun for life?

        •  "the system" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          this wasn't the case originally suggested, whereby the campus police talked to Cho and he accepted their "advice" to seek counseling. a formal court proceeding rendered a formal opinion in this matter.

          •  Court proceeding (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            liberal atheist

            Formal opinion was there was enough reason to fear he might hurt himself to justify that a professional take a look at the situation. The professionals said he could go free, and probably recommended he consider voluntary outpatient counseling.

            Revolutionary words start revolutions

            by Catte Nappe on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 05:26:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  let's parse this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      i am not stating he was not a free man. i am not denying the result of the evaluation. but the court found him an "immediate threat to others"- that was a finding on record. it was not simply an accusation later disproven, as you seem to suggest. it remains a finding.

      •  At that moment in time (4+ / 0-)

        There seemed to be enough reason for concern that he might be an immediate danger to himself (reported expression of suicide). The "himself or others" is stock legal language regardless of which situation caused the detention. Within hours it was medically determined that he was not - at least not sufficiently under the law for him to be involuntarily committed - which would have been the legal threshold preventing him from buying a gun.

        Revolutionary words start revolutions

        by Catte Nappe on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 05:09:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  If you don't love the NRA (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SanJoseLady, RFK Lives, greenearth

    you must hate America.

    •  that (0+ / 0-)

      really needs either a snark tag or a fucktard sig.

      •  It really doesn't. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Freaking brilliant.  

        Unfortunately, also the battle cry of a loudmouth gang of gun troll on this site.

        "2009" The end of an error

        by sheddhead on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 05:25:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think you can count the number of NRA (0+ / 0-)

          supporters on this site on the fingers of one hand.  Because someone is a gun owner doesn't make one a NRA supporter. That's lazy thinking.

          A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

          by dougymi on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 06:12:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Wow. NOT what I said or implied at all... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            but because you commented it to me, we all get to pretend that's what I said or implied.  That's not lazy thinking, that's just dishonest.

            "2009" The end of an error

            by sheddhead on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 06:33:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  wasn't really meant for you, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              but for the parent comment. I made a mistake. sorry.

              A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

              by dougymi on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 06:37:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thank you for the clarification (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Mistakes happen (I make them all the time.)  But I think the gun debate is being overly simplified by the rabidly pro-gun people in this country.

                I know responsible, intelligent gun owners - but even some of them fall into the NRA paranoia.  The US can't require licensing of guns, because "that's the first thing Nazi Germany did?"  Um...  wondering if there was something behind 9/11 is conspiracy theory but that's not?  Yowzah.

                So if I step back and say, fine... but if you own a gun, you're responsible for it, for keeping it locked/safe when not in use, and woooof, that can't work, because (fill in your favorite reasons why here...)

                It just gets silly.

                "2009" The end of an error

                by sheddhead on Thu Apr 19, 2007 at 02:49:29 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  faulty information (8+ / 0-)

    NOT court certified.

    simply referred to be evaluated, and then released.

    oh I see Catte Nappe has already posted the correct information---ignore my comment.

    all Along the Watchtower...... blogroll

    by terrypinder on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 05:01:40 PM PDT

  •  Duh, "I just sold him the gun" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Junior Bug, greenearth, MarketTrustee

    Reason Laws, on the books Must Be Enforced, and New Laws Brought To Bear!!
    So, Idiots like this Can't Get Licenses to Sell Weapons, and Many of those who
    are attempting to purchase a weapon Must Go Through Extensive Weapons Safety
    Training and have an Understanding that a Weapon is Not A Security Blanket, It

    His last quote says it All about this Heartless Twit!! And I'll bet he was
    right back pushing his wares as soon as he found out!!

    Gun store dealer to Va. Tech killer shows little remorse

    "I think that something pushed him over the edge. He did not buy that gun to
    do what he did," he said. "This was not pre-meditated five weeks ago ... You
    don't plan something [like this] five weeks in advance."

    'Impeach' bush, For 'Blowing' The Job

    by jimstaro on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 05:02:00 PM PDT

  •  Not quite correct (6+ / 0-)

    as I heard it today.

    Virginia law requires a gun buyer to fill out a form (truthfully) that includes the question, "Have you ever been involuntarily committed for psychiatric evaluation?" (words to that effect).

    So, he bought a gun illegally.

    But the systems in place is designed to let people do that.

  •  AND to others? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe

    I'm sorry, but I don't find the 'danger to himself and to others' assertion in the story you link to. I see 'danger to himself or others,' which legally is probably not the same thing. Did you have another reference that has the 'and' language?

    breaking news in little bits since 1981

    by mswaine on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 05:03:47 PM PDT

  •  Thank Reagan (5+ / 0-)

    for turning the mentally ill out of long-term care facilities, thus freeing money for 'better' uses, like bailing out corporations run by overpaid executives.

    Without regular care, many of the mentally ill ended up living on the streets, and ultimately ended up in jail, often for trivial offenses. Meanwhile, Europeans were improving mental health care, developing more effective and humane programs.  

    The U.S. has long been in denial about the need for mental health care, despite having the highest rate of mental illness in the industrial world.  On top of that, we have liberal gun ownership laws. Yet, as a nation, we're constantly surprised when this shattered system  blows up in our faces.

    Forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared is half the victory. ~ Cervantes

    by Deep Harm on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 05:21:50 PM PDT

    •  Mental health care is a very important issue (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stumptown Dave, liberal atheist

      It is sorely lacking. I think in my state (TX) there is data that there are more mentally ill people in jails than in appropriate treatment programs.

      However, in this case all evidence suggests that Cho would not have been in a treatment program anyway.

      Revolutionary words start revolutions

      by Catte Nappe on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 05:33:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Actually, he slipped through a number of cracks. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    These are:

    1.  He was a green card holder.  Had he not been, had he been here either illegally or on a non-immigrant visa, he couldn't buy a gun under the Brady Act.
    1.  He may have had an order of protection against him in connection with the stalking incidents.  If it was still in effect at the time of the incident, he may not have been able to buy a gun under the Brady Act.
    1.  He was found to be psychiatrically unfit.  In NY (I don't know about VA) he couldn't buy a gun.

    Changing federal legislation could easily fill these gaps.  E.g. do green card holders need to be armed?  So then, he would have had to get an illegal gun to do his killing, rather than making the guns he legally bought illegal by filing off the numbers.

    •  Cracks? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      1. Don't know the particulars of his immigration status vis a vis gun laws in Virginia.
      1. So far no evidence of a protection order -  in fact statements so far indicate not.
      1. Not legally found to be "psychiatrically unfit"

      Revolutionary words start revolutions

      by Catte Nappe on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 05:43:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, cracks in the statute that maybe could've (0+ / 0-)

        kept him from getting a gun legally.

        I'm not saying he shouldn't have a green card, I'm just noting that if you get one, you aren't excluded on immigration grounds from legally buying a gun.

        I thought one of the people stalked was reported to have requested of a court that he stay away.  If not, so be it.  I doubt the order to stay away would still be in effect anyway.

        As to 'psychiatrically unfit', not sure that the application is asking what should be asked.  "Have you ever been committed to a psychiatric hospital or referred for evaluation?" might be ok.  If the answer's yes, maybe the person should provide a mental health statement saying s/he is ok to get a gun.

    •  1. (3+ / 0-)

      His family had lived legally in this country since 1992. On what basis should he have been denied a green card?

      America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great. ~Alexis de Tocqueville

      by Albatross on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 05:46:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Tom Cruise annoys me... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Albatross, greenearth, MarketTrustee

        So the fact that my brain keeps going back to that damn movie with the Thought Police is really beginning to annoy me...especially since I can't remember the name of the movie.

        But I think your answer is...because at the age of 8 it was possible to know that two days ago something would go terribly terribly wrong...and he'd be responsible. </snark>

        "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

        by kredwyn on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 06:26:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  5 recommendations (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    essexgreen, greenearth

    should be needed from citizens-neighbors, teachers, friends (not relatives) who swear that the person wanting to buy a firearm is of "sound" mind. One of these should be an MD or psychologist.  This plus a background check would help avoid some of the "cracks" mentioned above.  

  •  I was in the 72 hour hold once (0+ / 0-)

    many years ago, after a half hearted sucicide attempt during a situational depression. Got some evaluation, referrals to counseling and some social programs I really needed and meds (those old style tricyclics were a bitch) and it was a very important turning point in my life. I think it is very dangerous to suggest that this standard type of evaluation is going to brand a person for life as mentally ill or a danger to society.

    There are problems with our mental health system, and I'm old enough to know that we can't just blame Reagan, it wasn't much better before him.

    Cho should have had some follow up. Obviously, the "system" fucked up all along the way, as did his family. Nevertheless, we can't afford to give up our privacy just because the rare psychotic falls through the cracks. As horrible as the VT slaughter was, it would be even worse if a temporary emotional problem put a citizens on some kind of "crazy" list

    If you think the list would only be applied to purchasing weapons then you haven't been paying much attention lately.

  •  Private Citizens in S. Korea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    cannot own guns ( per an article in the NYT).  Also an LTE April 17 in the NYT from an Australian(male) says :

    "When will America join the civilized world and realize the absolute stupidity of its gun laws?
    Your leaders are not brave enough to stand up to the gun lobby; therefore, shootings like Monday’s will continue to occur.

    Years ago, we in Australia banned unregistered users and guns after a similar occurrence, despite the gun lobby; it has made for less gun crime and a safer existence for our citizens."

     Then there was Neil Boortz on talk radio this morning ( I have never really tuned into his show before, I swear) who proffered these 2 wonderful insights: Perhaps the 32 students/teachers would not all have died if they had been armed.  and (2) the students didn't fight back.  They should have fought back.  He quoted from an NYT article that said the students in one of the classrooms were "cowering under their desks".

     The first point is being made other places, but I just love the logic of pro gun advocates wanting to allow students to be armed on college campuses.  The 2nd point, that the cowardly behavior of the students being attacked also contributed to the high death toll, is simply put, the sick rantings of a sick mind. Is it any wonder that people who listen to this trash aren't somehow insensitized to violence and lose the ability to think rationally?

     Violence begets violence.  It is the very grayness of the varying gun regulations that allow individuals such as Cho to fall through the cracks.  There are no simple solutions, except to severely restrict access to guns.  We have not really given that simple solution a chance.

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