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When Meteor Blades wrote a diary the other day about how Republicans would just love it if Obama would propose some new legislation regarding guns, it drew my ire but also my agreement. This is no call-out; I agree. It would be a bad idea to try anything right now.

As it is, the GOP, willing tool of the NRA, is already attacking Obama and Democrats for wanting to take our guns! Even though absolutely nothing of the sort has happened. I'm sure the Republican base eats it up, but they would regardless. The attacks may not convince anyone new, though, without a target -- like some new proposal. So I realize that issues like the one I found today are unlikely to be addressed this year. As a result, more American soldiers are likely to die. Thanks, NRA.

US military commanders, according to the Christian Science Monitor, are trying to deal with an epidemic of suicides among the armed forces. This is something I've heard of before. The military was put through the wringer in this past decade, particularly during the years of the Bush regime, what with the 'stop-loss' and repeated deployments and such that were a feature of Bush's warmongering.

What I didn't know about was an provision slipped into the NDAA from late 2010, backed by the NRA and championed(!) by Senator James Inhofe (R-not-so-OK), that the NRA was crowing about back in January 2011.

Protecting the privacy and Second Amendment rights of military personnel, their families, and other DOD personnel:  Section 1062 of the Act prohibits the Secretary of Defense from issuing any requirement, or collecting or recording any information, “relating to the otherwise lawful acquisition, possession, ownership, carrying, or other use of a privately owned firearm, privately owned ammunition, or another privately owned weapon by a member of the Armed Forces or civilian employee of the Department of Defense” on property not owned or operated by the DOD.  It also requires, within 90 days, the destruction of any information of the type prohibited by the Act.

Championed by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Section 1062 was necessary because of a preposterous regulation imposed by the garrison commander of Fort Riley, Kans., similar regulations imposed on other bases, and a regulation DOD was considering to impose department-wide—schemes which violated and threatened to violate the privacy, self-defense and Second Amendment rights of military personnel and their families.

I found that this law has come up before; ThinkProgress covered it last November, and noted that Inhofe and the NRA were battling to make sure this provision would not be repealed.
Congress could use this year’s defense bill to repeal the measure, but the NRA had made it clear that they will fight any change tooth and nail. In fact, they collaborated with Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) to insert language into the defense bill that would prohibit the Defense Department from “issuing any requirement, or collecting or recording any information relating to the otherwise lawful acquisition, possession, ownership, carrying, or other use of a privately owned firearm.”
Clearly, they were successful, otherwise military commanders wouldn't be bringing it up now. I also found an article on NewsCorpWatch from February of this year, where the NRA's president was interviewed on the subject.
During our interview, David Keene, who said his own daughter is in the Army and currently deployed in Afghanistan, was unapologetically sold on the idea that troops "have to deal with their problems, not with the group of tools that they have... if you have depression and depression creates a suicidal situation if you don't have a gun, you'll use something else. And there are a million ways to commit suicide."

Keene's statements fly in the face of analysis by public health experts, who say that many suicide attempts are impulsive and that the high lethality of guns makes suicide attempts using them much more likely to succeed. His claims are also inconsistent with my own experiences as a veteran who deployed to a combat zone.

Sure, if they don't have guns, they'll find some other way. It is inevitable. Now that's a line I've heard before. And, in this case, doesn't address the reality of impulsive attempts at suicide.

So, by the time I get back to the present day and the latest article from the Christian Science Monitor, it seems almost silly that such an obvious solution would still get pushback -- yet it has, and it still does.

Half of troops that killed themselves use firearms to end their life and “suicide in most cases is a spontaneous event” that is often fueled by drugs and alcohol. But “if you can separate the individual from the weapon,” he added, “you can lower the incidences of suicide.”
You've got to be kidding me. So if some individual gets the notion in their head to commit suicide by, say, self-inflicted gunshot wound, and they can't do it easily, they might stop? Unbelievable.

I must apologize for being so flippant about something like suicide, but that's the quality of the arguments I've been reading. That it doesn't matter how easy guns make things, people would simply find other ways. Apparently this may not be so. The military even has experts and studies in mental health backing them up.

Officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs are backing US military officials in the matter. Commanders who have asked troops they feel are at risk to consider locking their firearms on base temporarily are making use of an important “stalling technique,” Jan Kemp, national mental health director for the VA, said at a conference late last year.

She pointed to a study that found that a large number of suicides are impulsive events. If someone plans to jump off a bridge and finds that the bridge is closed, “Studies show that they won’t go to another bridge,” says Dr. Kemp. “They will think about it.”

I would not be surprised if nearly everyone who reads Daily Kos could agree that something ought to be done about this. There's no need to look for Democratic targets for casting blame, and I'm not looking to find fault here. No one here wrote this law; that was Jim Inhofe. And while the NRA does receive some support from these parts, I know it's not monolithic; it's not absolute.

So, what does Senator Inhofe have to say for the consequences of his and the NRA's handiwork? Well. Nothing. Directly, anyway. Clearly not important enough for his time, the Christian Science Monitor reached a communications director instead.

Others add that the law is not meant to preclude commanders from talking about firearms. “Obviously, the intent of the law is not to preclude a commander from taking steps necessary to mitigate a suicidal or dangerous situation,” says Jared Young, Communications Director for Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) of Oklahoma, in an email.  Senator Inhofe was the author of the legislation.  Spokesman Young said the senator is “very concerned” about suicide within the military. “At the same time,” he adds, “individual rights must be protected.”
Sure. It wasn't meant to do that. Except that it was, and that Inhofe went on reinforcing that point. The NRA's own report on their website makes it a law protecting privacy rights about guns, after all. Seems a bit difficult to talk about something if the talking would violate privacy. See above, from ThinkProgress' November 2011 report. Oh, I'll just reiterate it, saves time:
In fact, they collaborated with Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) to insert language into the defense bill that would prohibit the Defense Department from “issuing any requirement, or collecting or recording any information relating to the otherwise lawful acquisition, possession, ownership, carrying, or other use of a privately owned firearm.”
So it's not meant to preclude commanders from talking about guns, except that they can't record any information about guns, which (I suspect) may involve talking about guns. What are they supposed to do? Talk, but don't take any notes? And certainly don't do anything about whatever is said. Individual rights to kill oneself quickly and efficiently, and all that. And, of course...we're concerned about the suicides, but...but nothing. FREEDOM!

Anyway, just one of those proposals about guns that might make sense, in that it might prevent some soldiers from killing themselves, but it's not going to happen. Although John Boehner, Jim Inhofe and the NRA would love it if we tried. Not to actually fix the problem and save soldiers' lives. No, just to make a convenient target for their conspiracy theories, craft a few attack ads, score some votes. So, to the military, sorry about that whole suicide epidemic thing. You know who to talk to about it. I only wish things like this could come up in the political discourse. To at least attack the conservatives, shame them for this, as they should be ashamed of this, even if they're not.

Originally posted to The Tytalan Way on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 01:35 PM PDT.

Also republished by Military Community Members of Daily Kos, DKos Military Veterans, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Absolutely Amazing . (9+ / 0-)

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 01:44:35 PM PDT

    •  Excellent Research (4+ / 0-)

      you have here and so very interesting.  How the NRA and their minions can defend a device that is designed to do one thing, kill, and allow it in so many hands.  

      Way too many accidental and or alcohol related gun deaths in the United States and we have mass murders of 2 or more every week somewhere here in America.....

      Yeah, guns save lives my ass.....

      Don't get me wrong, I have 2 guns, well a shotgun and a handgun but I have no plans on using them ever.

      Just think of our soldiers too.  A bad night out drinking and they just pick up the gun - never knowing what hit them.

      -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

      by MarciaJ720 on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 04:51:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  With you on this, hope this makes rec list. (11+ / 0-)

    With miltary suicides around one a day, this should not wait for election or anything else.  

    The change should happen, stat.

    Thanks for your work on this.

    How did Supreme Court decision ACA help the 23 million still uncovered? Ask the 18,000 Doctors of PNHP -- they're not waiting, FORWARD now to pass H.R. 676, the “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act .

    by divineorder on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 01:54:43 PM PDT

  •  does anyone expect Inhofe to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tytalus, ladybug53, FindingMyVoice

    do anything good?

    Only by accident, IMHO.

    •  Stopped clocks and all (0+ / 0-)

      Accidental would be my guess, too. Somebody thinks he does some good, though; they vote for him.

      "Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night." - Isaac Asimov

      by tytalus on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 02:29:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Civil disobedience (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tytalus

    or something. Just do it.

  •  When will someone (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Karl Rover, ozsea1, djMikulec

    Finally come right out and say it?  The NRA has been in the business of fomenting armed rebellion against the lawfully elected government of the United States.  Why else spend so much time and money on ensuring the ability of citizens to buy vast quantities of weaponry and ammunition?

  •  This not keeping records is something... (11+ / 0-)

    ...the NRA fights on all fronts. In Colorado, for instance, thanks to the NRA and the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners association, the state no longer is allowed to be keep records of who has a concealed firearm permit or even the number of permits issued by the county sheriffs in the state. The idea, of course, is that any kind of record-keeping smacks of "registration," which is anathema not just to NRA folks but many other gun owners as well.

    Good diary.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 05:01:36 PM PDT

    •  Man, driving cars on a similar basis (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1, Meteor Blades, stevej

      would be so much fun...licensing? Inspections? Insurance? Feh! WOLVERINES!!

      But thanks, I still agree with you about not introducing new legislation, just...fuming about it.

      "Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night." - Isaac Asimov

      by tytalus on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 05:35:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If the NRA is against keeping records... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Icicle68

      then I say we hold the NRA personally and legally responsible every time a gun is used in the commission of a crime.

      Sounds reasonable to me.

    •  Seems like just another manifestation of the poor (0+ / 0-)

      reading of the 2nd amendment.  "Well regulated militia" seems to me to imply 1) regulation and 2) some sort of national service are attached to the "right to bare arms".

      But apparently that is not the way TPTB want it.  It is as if the first half of that sentence does not even exist.

      Keeping records of legal gun/ammunition purchases seems to be realted to "well regulated".  Oh snap, I forgot that I must be imagining some sort of meaning to those words that apparently don't mean anything.

      Of course, I'd venture to guess there is a bit of overlap between those who deny that the 2nd amendment is related to national service and those that deny the 1st amendment and Article VI imply a secular government...

      Cafeteria constitutionalist, I guess.

  •  While I was in the Army at Fort Ord, Ca a troop (9+ / 0-)

    got about a block away with a pistol he had bought that afternoon at a Seaside second hand store, his goal, kill his Plt,
    Sgt.

    I was the CQ, (Charge of Quarters), which means I was responsible for all actions in the barracks that day. I was all so the first person the troop with the gun would have had to pass on his way to shoot his Plt. Sgt.

    Chances are I would have been shot either on the shooters
     entrance, or on his leaving. Some how the MP's stopped this from happening.

    So what's my point, it is this. I had to have my Commanding Officer sign off on me buying a car, or moving off post. Why not have to have a CO sign off on any troop buying a weapon, then having that weapon in the arms room, except for a limited time of sign out. Never over night.

    FWIW I seldom comment on gun issues here. My view is if You feel You Must have a weapon, fine pick one. The rest of them get locked in a case at the gun club.

    "Behold the Turtle, it only makes Progress when it sticks it's neck Out."

    by vzfk3s on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 05:02:42 PM PDT

  •  Commanders can talk about "gun safety" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tytalus

    They can point out the benefit of storing weapons at the armory since so many accidental deaths occur when they are stored at home.

    The real answer, in my opinion, is identifying pre-suicidal behavior and providing stigma free psychological counseling.

    I absolutely agree that anything that (lawfully) places weapons further from the impulsive grasp of a suicidal soldier is a good thing.

     

    Disclaimer: Weapons of Mass Destruction and terrorists may vary according to region, definition, and purpose. Belief systems pandered separately.

    by BlackBandFedora on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 04:42:01 AM PDT

    •  How many accidental deaths occur? (0+ / 0-)

      Forcing commanders to say incredulous things to their charges undermines good order and discipline.  You better get your facts straight.

      •  In 2007 there were 1520 children killed by guns. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tytalus
        How many accidental deaths occur? (0+ / 0-)
        Forcing commanders to say incredulous things to their charges undermines good order and discipline.  You better get your facts straight.
        You can look it up yourself if you want.

        I never suggested commanders "say incredulous things". I suggested "gun safety" briefings.  

        You do realize that commanders are required to give water safety briefings, pre-holiday safety briefings, and countless other safety briefings etc. don't you?

        If you think that informing soldiers of the dangers of a weapon in their home "undermines good order and discipline" then you are welcome to your opinion.

        Of course, the military seems to have a different view...

        FORT RUCKER, Ala. - A new interactive site, called Firearms Safety Techniques, was developed by the U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center to help reduce off-duty accidental firearms incidents and is now available online.

        "It is intended to educate Soldiers, Families and civilians about privately owned firearms safety," said Dr. Patricia LeDuc, director of the USACR/Safety Center's Human Factors Task Force.

        You can deny there are risks of accidental deaths due to weapons being stored in service member's homes if you wish.

        You can even deny that soldiers killed off duty by their privately own weapons didn't exist if you wish.

        But that might lead people to wonder if you haven't got your facts straight.

        Disclaimer: Weapons of Mass Destruction and terrorists may vary according to region, definition, and purpose. Belief systems pandered separately.

        by BlackBandFedora on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 07:32:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Garbage reporting. (0+ / 0-)

    Ever consider including the relevant law?

    SEC. 1062. PROHIBITION ON INFRINGING ON THE INDIVIDUAL RIGHT
    TO LAWFULLY ACQUIRE, POSSESS, OWN, CARRY, AND
    OTHERWISE USE PRIVATELY OWNED FIREARMS, AMMUNITION,
    AND OTHER WEAPONS.
    (a) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in subsection (c), the
    Secretary of Defense shall not prohibit, issue any requirement
    relating to, or collect or record any information relating to the
    otherwise lawful acquisition, possession, ownership, carrying, or
    other use of a privately owned firearm, privately owned ammunition,
    or another privately owned weapon by a member of the Armed
    Forces or civilian employee of the Department of Defense on property
    that is not—
    (1) a military installation; or
    (2) any other property that is owned or operated by the
    Department of Defense.
    (b) EXISTING REGULATIONS AND RECORDS.—
    (1) REGULATIONS.—Any regulation promulgated before the
    date of enactment of this Act shall have no force or effect
    to the extent that it requires conduct prohibited by this section.
    (2) RECORDS.—Not later than 90 days after the date of
    enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense shall destroy
    any record containing information described in subsection (a)
    that was collected before the date of enactment of this Act.
    (c) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.—Subsection (a) shall not be construed to limit the authority of the Secretary of Defense to—
    (1) create or maintain records relating to, or regulate the
    possession, carrying, or other use of a firearm, ammunition,
    or other weapon by a member of the Armed Forces or civilian
    employee of the Department of Defense while—
    (A) engaged in official duties on behalf of the Department
    of Defense; or
    (B) wearing the uniform of an Armed Force; or
    (2) create or maintain records relating to an investigation,
    prosecution, or adjudication of an alleged violation of law
    (including regulations not prohibited under subsection (a)),
    including matters related to whether a member of the Armed
    Forces constitutes a threat to the member or others.
    (d) REVIEW.—Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment
    of this Act, the Secretary of Defense shall—
    (1) conduct a comprehensive review of the privately owned
    weapons policy of the Department of Defense, including legal
    and policy issues regarding the regulation of privately owned
    firearms off of a military installation, as recommended by the
    Department of Defense Independent Review Related to Fort
    Hood; and
    (2) submit to the Committee on Armed Services of the
    Senate and the Committee on Armed Services of the House
    of Representatives a report regarding the findings of and recommendations
    relating to the review conducted under paragraph
    (1), including any recommendations for adjustments to
    the requirements under this section.
    (e) MILITARY INSTALLATION DEFINED.—In this section, the term
    ‘‘military installation’’ has the meaning given that term under section
    2687(e)(1) of title 10, United States Code.
    Representative Skelton provides clarification if this was not obvious to you.
  •  An even better way (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pete Cortez, KVoimakas, Egalitare

    to save servicemember's lives and stop the suicides -

    quit making combat veterans!

  •  Suicide rate by country: (0+ / 0-)

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

    US and Canada about equal.  Japan double, and no one owns a gun.

    Where are we, now that we need us most?

    by Frank Knarf on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 04:22:26 PM PDT

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