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Earlier in the week, this diary questioned the thoroughness of the background checks on Seung-Hui Cho's firearm purchases.  Today, the  New York Times  confirms those suspicions.

At issue was the  2005 court ruling that found Cho a danger to himself or others, and ordered him to undergo a psychiatric evaluation:

The special justice’s order in late 2005 that directed Mr. Cho to seek outpatient treatment and declared him to be mentally ill and an imminent danger to himself fits the federal criteria and should have immediately disqualified him, said Richard J. Bonnie, chairman of the Supreme Court of Virginia’s Commission on Mental Health Law Reform.

A spokesman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also said that if Mr. Cho had been found mentally defective by a court, he should have been denied the right to purchase a gun.

Once again, is it too much to ask that we find out who guns are being sold to BEFORE the sale is made? Discuss amngst yourselves.

Originally posted to commonscribe on Sun Apr 22, 2007 at 09:08 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  How bout it, people? (5+ / 0-)

    To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult of all -Goethe

    by commonscribe on Sun Apr 22, 2007 at 09:01:28 AM PDT

    •  The politics (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eugene, commonscribe

        A surprisingly influential and vocal, if not particularly large (though they do claim vast swathes of America as their supporters) political lobby simply does not believe that the public safety outweighs the so-called right for gun-dealers to complete transactions as fast and as easily as possible.  

        The real question is: should purchasing a handgun be as easy as purchasing a water pistol?  This lobby says yes.  The question is whether the rest of the country is always going to agree with that point of view.

      •  I have always lived in States with at least a (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        waiting period and then later background checks including not only criminal activity but 72 hour holds, involuntary commitments etc. I will tell you in at least two of those states voluntary commitments do NOT show. Your disqualifiers have to be a matter of public record. and not everyone who has ever been in a mental hospital is unsafe owning a hand gun anymore than someone with no criminal record or evidence of mental instability is. IMO in addition to as complete a background check as an individuals right to privacy permits the waiting period is essential, the longer the better, 14 days is so much better than 5.

  •  I worked on the Hill when... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    insta-check mania was sweeping the cloakrooms.

    You'd have thought Jack Abramoff was raining down free vacations and fancy French meals on Congress. Forget smart policy, this was a political trick to get out of the gun trap whether you were for ‘em or again’ ‘em.

    Problem was, I was working on the incredibly boring task of doing oversight of government computer systems at the time and every day I was seeing yet another GAO or IG report that clearly demonstrated that the U.S. government could not find its ass with both hands when it came to developing reliable databases, hardware or software.

    It’s so sad to think that here I sit, near twenty years later typing what I and hundreds of other people knew I’d be typing and that to this day the majority of the Congress stands by the terminally-flawed notion of a protective database to clear people to buy semi-automatic weapons.

    Short of a infusion of funding that would rival the space program, it will never work to an acceptable level of efficiency.

    •  waiting.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Eyewitness Muse

      There is also the issue of doctor/patient confidentiality. Many doctors are very reluctant to turn over any records regarding their patients (even mental patients). I suppose they think if patients know everything they say to the doctor goes straight to the government they will see a decrease in people willingly seeking help and they are probably right.

      If the government can’t keep a usable data base and can’t breach the doctor/patient confidentiality rules then what is the point of a waiting period be it 24 hrs or 5 days. I think the VT killer had his guns for well over a month before he went on his murderous rampage.

      Omnia relinquit servare Republicam

      by luciusmagister on Sun Apr 22, 2007 at 10:34:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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