RVer Safety: Guns and nuts, Part 2 cont’d.

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By Mike Sherman
My post last week generated more than 90 responses. The topic can no doubt get emotional, and one thing I noticed is everyone seems to want to seek solutions. There was no anger or bitterness, just folks stating their opinion, which is always insightful and constructive.

I offered up the idea of including a local law enforcement database check in addition to the standard DOJ/FBI checks when someone seeks to purchase a gun through a dealer. If the local check shows lots of red flags on someone that did not result in a conviction, it might be wise for the sheriff to perhaps pay them a home visit. My opinion prompted Ed D. (among many others) to write, and I responded to his comments. I wanted to share the exchange with you.

Comment from Ed D.:

“However, if the inquiry also included a local check they would get information that can be useful. Granted, no cause for denial of the purchase but certainly worthy of a visit from the local sheriff and perhaps a mental health worker to do an assessment.”

So let me get this straight. Because someone (as a child) did something that wasn’t acceptable, they should get a knock on their door as an adult and have a Sheriff, along with a shrink, want to talk with him to determine if he is mentally fit to own a gun? I do not buy that logic (or illogic) for a second. All “red flag laws” will do is undermine our rights under the Second Amendment of the Constitution. Can you guarantee me that a neighbor that doesn’t like someone’s kid won’t call the cops and say the father is unstable and should not own a gun? Of course, you can’t. Also, what if an ex-girlfriend, or ex-spouse, calls and reports you as being abusive, as a way to get even for a bad breakup? Red Flag Laws are not the way to go and seriously violate our rights under the Constitution.

You gave your “opinion”, now I will offer mine: How about when it is reported to the Authorities (and backed by the individual’s Social Media) that an individual is boasting about shooting up a school, that the Authorities actually do something about this! There has been more than one occurrence that a particular individual left a trail of his intentions on Social Media that he was going to do something and did just what he said he was going to do. The Authorities knew he was talking about it, reported it to the FBI and they did nothing either. How about Law Enforcement do a better job of prevention when the evidence is on Social Media. That is where I believe many of these shootings can be prevented. Not by infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens!

Reply from Mike Sherman:

Ed, I understand your point. It can be intrusive, no doubt about it. You almost made my point when you asked why nothing is done when someone is reported to the authorities. When you purchase a gun and they do a background, the denial is based on convictions I believe, not incident reports. If someone has a lot of local history with the local authorities and a background check includes local data bases, and discovers potential problems (but no convictions), then a visit by someone might help prevent an idiot from completing the purchase.

You are 100% correct about the potential abuse of Red Flag laws. Obviously the home visit would be a simple knock on the door. If the personal contact actually resulted in a denial, there should be an appeal process allowing the applicant to plead his case. I believe the home visits would in fact “help law enforcement do a better job of prevention when the evidence is on social media”. Evidence can be found in local law enforcement records also. We need more pro-active, prevention methods. It is not hard to determine that someone is perhaps not dealing with a full deck and should not have a gun. I do appreciate your comments.

There are more guns than people in America. I doubt our founding fathers imagined our ability to develop weapons capable of killing a hundred people within a few minutes. Our weapons are not being used against government thugs abusing their power, but that was the reason they wrote the 2nd Amendment, I do believe. They are being used to commit crimes. They always have. Only now we have killing of innocent citizens on a scale that exceeds current, ongoing war(s) in other countries.

I believe we will always have the right to own guns, but obviously there needs to be some level of control over who gets to own one. I am trying to understand why anyone would need an automatic rifle capable of firing 100 rounds without reloading, but there are those that advocate absolute total freedom for all under the guise of protecting the 2nd Amendment. A home visit by a local sheriff should not and would not damage the 2nd Amendment, but it could very well result in a discovery that the individual in question is a nut that has no business owning a gun. Oh, I realize he can still get one through other channels, but at least law enforcement would know who he is, and where he lives.

Where am I going wrong?

Note: We know what we discuss in this column may be controversial. While we invite your polite, constructive comments, inflammatory remarks will be immediately deleted.

Mike Sherman is a retired street cop and investigator with 30+ years of RV experience as a traveler, camp host and all-around advocate for the joys of living on the road. His articles are for general discussion purposes only – you should always consult your local authorities or legal counsel for specific answers if necessary. Write him at MikeShermanPI@gmail.com if you have questions, or leave a comment below. 

Read more RVer Safety articles here.

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David Colvin

Mike, you are 100% right.

RW Baker

I agree with Ed… You appear to be biased, and somewhat ill informed, as far as Constitutionality of your opinions. Probably shaded by the UCMJ, you were indoctrinated from a young age.

Wolfe

(Chapter three before my fingers fall off…)

I’ll answer in video form! If you wonder why good people would need more than a single-shot, here’s several trained LEOs using up their ammo and still being stabbed by a “definitely unstable” person, who “surprisingly” didn’t stop when told to:

https://www.full30.com/watch/MDIxMjI3/graphic-why-officers-shoot-until-the-threat-has-stopped?fbclid=IwAR1hqhu1PoZwmEpOHrF7WOkms1svHcCpfBJS5Sr39LvCeiqDJS4vi0SPOHA

For people who believe that a single-shot rifle wouldn’t be as bad of a threat, play THIS video from the 7m27s timestamp — that’s a (yes, magazine fed but single shot) lever action he’s using — NOT automatic or semi-auto.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wkbt5UXPjVE

Wolfe

MikeS: regarding “I doubt our founding fathers imagined our ability to develop weapons capable of killing a hundred people within a few minutes”:

Actually, the Fathers wrote extensively on this subject, so we know exactly what they knew and were thinking and why. 2A isn’t about hunting (which was a tacit “given” in that day). It wasn’t about self-defense either (which again, was a given, although a village posse or militia was more likely than the nightstand defense we think of). It was not *so* much about national defense, even though citizen militias might be conscripted under the official army. 2A was emphatically and directly and explicitly about preventing tyranny of our OWN government using that official army against the citizens. Several Founding Fathers wrote at great length about what the “shall not be infringed” clause really meant — time, place, storage, caliber, you name it — they THOUGHT of it and wanted it “uninfringed!” I’ll have to find the exact quote, but one explicitly wrote about “the common people shall retain the right to any arms that their government shall possess, and keep it upon their person.” So, in modern phrasing, the citizens shall have unrestricted carry of military-grade weapons, with the intent of restraining their OWN government from overreach. It’s pretty astonishing HOW clear the writings actually are that you’ll never read in a public school. Having just lived through tyranny, the Fathers would be considered way paranoid in most people’s modern sensibilities.

But, what arms DID they know about? “100 people in minutes,” you asked? How bout blunderbus shotguns that sprayed shrapnel into the enemy lines, often maiming dozens per shot? How bout cannon that blew apart columns of soldiers for hundreds of yards before the bouncing ball would stop? How bout the repeating versions of EACH of those (black powder with rotating barrels) that could index and fire both of those a dozen times in a minute? I’d wager EASILY 100 men per minute mowed down. But they didn’t have FULL auto, you might think. Actually… STILL wrong. George Washington wrote about a crank-operated multi-barrel gun that he decided against using only because it was kinda heavy, “requiring 2 men to carry even if equalled the guns of 10 men.” So, we had full-auto “WMD of the day” guns at the time the 2A was written. We had explosives, of COURSE. And we had Founding Fathers saying ANYTHING the army can have the citizens must be allowed as well. Whether muskets or RPGs or eventual laserguns, the Fathers wanted us to have access in perpetuity.

No, **I** do not want or feel I need a rocket launcher — I’m old and fat and not the guy who’s going to bother resisting that level of tyranny. But the intention WAS clear for any younger folks.

Wolfe

Mike: I agree with your good will and sincerity, and fully support denying people with DOCUMENTED mental health and FACTUAL questionable actions — but you may share a certain “unawareness” of the paranoid lay of the land, and why pro-safety folks are objecting to “deny under any doubt” thinking. I believe you answered your “where wrong” question with your “You are 100% correct about potential abuse of Red Flag.” What you missed is how abused such “nervous” laws ALREADY are, without the capricious and often anonymous nature of official Red Flag witch hunts.

Because I teach *long* safety seminars/defense training, I sometimes hire sub-instructors and LEOs and lawyers to assist with Art. 35 discussions, extra RSOs for live fire etc. These are people with decades of professional training whom you would expect to be GOLDEN “good gun owners” (and they are IMHO). Two of them have run afoul of “red flag” type laws, so I’ll tell their abbreviated stories:

1) A many-decade NRA instructor and Boy Scout leader and rifle instructor saw trespassing kids screaming through private woods towards a barb-wire fence and dangerous dropoff where the 40mph kids would likely be beheaded or fall to their death. To get them to stop, he put the muzzle 12″ from the ground and fired 3 shots as a signal (isn’t 3-shot signalling still in Boy Scout manuals? It might be SOP). The kids were stopped/saved, but called cops on the instructor. He was arrested for wreckless endangerment, improper handling, brandishing (none factually true, all three slugs easily recovered) but in court STILL lost his permit and had his entire gun collection confiscated. It sounds absurd, but happened.

2) A friend and co-instructor held a “high” security clearance that let him walk into some “seriously secure” places. He had an FFL and part time gun store. He chose a crazy exwife, who in order to expedite their divorce falsely claimed domestic abuse (not only zero evidence, but eventually factually proven and admitted in court to be lying). JUST THE HINT of being shady was enough to yank his FFL, civvy permit, security clearance, and thereby BOTH jobs. Exwife was mildly criticized for perjury, but otherwise unscathed after destroying my buddy’s career.

3) Bonus! At one point, I myself was fired because someone at work found out I teach personal defense in women’s shelters. Scratching your head? So was I. I made it clear I do NOT carry in the office, don’t mention my day job in lectures, etc. They admitted on record I was an exemplary employee, had a big raise coming, but they just didn’t want any gun-owners working for them. Employment at will, they could have fired without cause, but since they put it on record I sued them, successfully, for a reasonable severance package for their idiocy. I don’t consider that a real win, because their ignorance and the harm to my career both remained.

Now, you could say that bigotry towards gun owners is not illegal, we are not a protected class in any way, or even that you’re ready to screw over some people to save others. I have said before every gun owner I know would stop shooting paper IF that stopped CRAZY PEOPLE doing bad things. As you’re well aware, it won’t. In fact, Red Flag gives yet another weapon TO the crazy/paranoid factions. Is it “ok” that good people lose their natural, individual, legal, constitutional rights on the paranoid whim of gun-ignorant fearful folks? To me, this is the same logic as saying we will disarm our army because our enemy doesn’t feel comfortable with armed resistance — no kidding!

Again, if there are factual and documented reasons, by all means deny purchases and prosecute the attempt — but anything short of that, we have to side with the right of the innocent individual in keeping with the Constitution.

Edward Price

Mike:
In your words “A home visit by a local sheriff should not and would not damage the 2nd Amendment, but it could very well result in a discovery that the individual in question is a nut that has no business owning a gun. Oh, I realize he can still get one through other channels, but at least law enforcement would know who he is, and where he lives.
Where am I going wrong?”

Well Mike, since you asked, let’s see how this scenario might play out for you (back in the day when you were a working cop). A group of gun-owning neighbors has heard some strange things about you, so several of them conduct an unannounced visit on you at your home. They apparently have the authority to compel you to cooperate with their interview, as well as a right to inspect your property for evidence that you may have no business carrying a gun or being a sworn officer. By what criteria are you being judged? Well, anything that gives these citizens a bad feeling about you. Maybe you have more guns in your home than hands, and some may think that only a nut needs that many guns? Do you store your service weapon(s) in a gun safe as soon as you enter your home and do you have any secretly cached, loaded weapons hidden in your home? Is your ammo also safely stored? Perhaps they see your selection of weapons books and magazines; that could indicate an unhealthy fixation on weapons. Anything might be cause for those citizens to be concerned, even if you have broken no laws. It’s good for the citizens to know that you may only be a marginal nut, and where you live. Where am I going wrong?
Now let me change direction for a moment; during your working experience, were arrests made for those who attempted to purchase weapons and were rejected under the Federal check system? I mean, it’s a felony to even attempt to buy a gun if you are ineligible to legally purchase one, but I never hear of prosecutions under this existing law.

chris p hemstead

What I honestly think will happen to the 2nd is nothing. What I honestly think is that there will be some sort of tighter controls on AK47s. And you seem to honestly think that you and your guns are going to somehow overthrow a tyrannical government. I think you’re living in the 1700s.

Seann Fox

Tell me has no one ever noticed the relationship between the you can’t discipline your children movement and the now gun crimes being caused by these children some grow into adults but still if they were children and never disciplined no I’m not advocating in any way shape or form beating a child but a spanking or discipline goes a long way to making them a better human being when they’re out of line it’s too late by the time they’re in their twenties in jail doesn’t do anything for them then

Don Kostyal

Mike, to say you doubt that the founding fathers did not think about weapons killing a hundred people within a few minutes can’t be serious–or you do not know your history well. You only have to look back in history where ways were thought of and machines made that fired several arrow or spears at one time, and catapults were made to hurl larger boulders or several smaller rocks all with the intention of killing or harming more soldiers/people than one person with a bow and arrow or a sling and a rock could do. The cave man used a rock or a club. Eventually he figured out how to throw it farther with a sling. A sharp stick became an arrow and the bow was “invented” to send the arrow further and faster. The Chinese developed gun power and saw its use to propel projectiles. During the revolution and earlier there were cannons which fired a single ball or often were loaded with nails to kill or injury severely enough to take out of the fight many combatants. The “Blunderbus” was also an early “scatter gun.” There were also weapons that were made with several barrels that a single person could fire several rounds in succession or all all at once. Several muskets were fixed to a rail, or a cart on wheels and could be loaded and fired by a single person. So it is not only a weak but totally false statement to say our fore fathers never thought the weapons we have today would ever replace the musket and flint stone. That is the thinking people who thought the auto would never replace the horse and man would never fly.

Ed D.

Mike, it is not a matter of where you are going wrong. It is a matter of rights under the Constitution. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say we have the right to bear arms upon approval from the local Sheriff and a shrink. The Constitution addresses the potential reason that we may need those magazines that hold upward to 100 rounds. It is simply to prevent a tyrannical government from infringing on the right to be free in this country. With the way some of the politicians are promoting “alternative” forms of Government, what do you honestly think will happen to the 2nd A, if they wind up running this country? One of the parties has even gone so far as to threaten SCOTUS that if they rule in favor of the 2nd A on pending cases that they will restructure the SC. I don’t know about you but that scares the heck out of me! Sorry Mike but I will never agree with you on this one. As always, I may not agree with what you have to say but I will go to my grave defending your right to say it!

Primo Rudy

” I am trying to understand why anyone would need an automatic rifle capable of firing 100 rounds without reloading, ” Sir, it’s not a matter of need. Our society doesn’t need many of our possessions. As one of the greatest countries (if not THE greatest) we have afforded ourselves to go beyond needs and obtain some wants. We don’t need fast food, fancy cars, big screen tv’s or tons of shoes. I don’t need a (semi) automatic rifle, but is sure is fun to take to the range and put holes in paper.

Ed D.

Here we go. My comment was censored. Would you care to explain why? I saw nothing in it that was offensive.

chris p hemstead

Last week Ed D made this comment: “Today as well. Especially when we have those that would turn this country into a Socialist country.”

I would like clarification on this comment.

Alex

A scenario worth exploring – suppose “assault” style long guns were banned; no longer manufactured or imported. How would that affect the value or price of those already possessed by law abiding citizens? Would they be motivated to part with them? The most likely outcome would be existing AKs and ARs and SKSs etc. prices would skyrocket. Now consider whether a PO’d unbalanced individual could afford a $3,000+ weapon? Isn’t it less likely for such a person to approach a private citizen to buy one rather than an anonymous transaction at a shop or show? Yes, a Ruger 10-22 isn’t an assault weapon but can be just as deadly and would remain affordable. If one were to contemplate inflicting mass casualties, one would likely opt for the $400 AR-15 rather than the $200 Ruger. I’m totally supportive of our 2nd Amendment rights. However, I disagree with the notion that serious weaponry should be easily affordable for everyone.

chris p hemstead

” I am trying to understand why anyone would need an automatic rifle capable of firing 100 rounds without reloading, but there are those that advocate absolute total freedom for all under the guise of protecting the 2nd Amendment.”

I am too. Saw a good meme last week: “We’d like to thank the hundreds of school children who laid down their lives to protect the 2nd amendment.”

If you really want to be a ‘well regulated militia” to protect yourselves from an oppressive government, you’re probably going to need bazookas, napalm and a couple tanks. Can you buy those?

Bill

Please let me know where I can purchase an automatic rifle, as they have been banned since 1986. Disinformation, such as you have in your column, leads me to believe you we never a cop.

Ed D.

Mike, it is not a matter of where you are going wrong. It is a matter of rights under the Constitution. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say we have the right to bear arms upon approval from the local Sheriff and a shrink. The Constitution addresses the potential reason that we may need those magazines that hold upward to 100 rounds. It is simply to prevent a tyrannical government from infringing on the right to be free in this country. With the way some of the politicians are promoting socialism, what do you honestly think will happen to the 2nd A, if they wind up running this country? One of the parties has even gone so far as to threaten SCOTUS that if they rule in favor of the 2nd A on pending cases that they will restructure the SC. I don’t know about you but that scares the heck out of me! Sorry Mike but I will never agree with you on this one. As always, I may not agree with what you have to say but I will go to my grave defending your right to say it!