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.
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