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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Oly Inaction

posted by on February 20 at 13:59 PM

I know gun control isn’t a winning issue for Democrats vs. Republicans. But the State House Democratic leaderships’ knee-jerk impulse to shy away from any gun control bills is getting embarrassing…and dangerous.

This bill (which died in the State House yesterday because, despite making it out of committee to the floor, it never got brought up for a full vote) would have simply closed a loophole in state law so that people who have been involuntarily committed under our state’s preliminary 14-day commitment process cannot get firearms.

Seattle Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43, Capitol Hill) and Seattle-area Rep. Roger Goodman (D-45, Seattle Eastside Suburbs) were co-sponsors on the failed bill.

Memo to the House of Chopp: The precious “One Washington” coalitionóthe House Democrats’ slogan for prioritizing issues that are of concern to both sides of the mountainówon’t collapse if we prevent people with serious mental problems from getting guns. Just saying.

Thanks for the tip, MM.

RSS icon Comments

1

Gun owners need to get laid.

Posted by elenchos | February 20, 2008 2:06 PM
2

@1 ESPECIALLY the crazy ones! It's too bad that there doesn't seem to be a way to approach this problem rationally. There's bad ideas for gun control (because they would have no real effect and are motivated by desire for political cover, like "gun free zones") and good ideas for gun control, like making it harder for the involuntarily committed to get a firearm. But when the debate is driven by zealots on both sides, common sense goes out the window.

Posted by Westside forever | February 20, 2008 2:13 PM
3

I have an idea: how about a well-regulated militia?

Posted by elenchos | February 20, 2008 2:16 PM
4

Why do you hate freedom, Josh?

Especially for our most vulnerable--the involuntarily committed?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | February 20, 2008 2:16 PM
5

I for one want our mentally instable to have easy and unfettered access to firearms. Without that fundamental and God given right our evening news will be very very boring.

Posted by Andrew | February 20, 2008 2:20 PM
6

Guns kick ass. See?

Posted by Mr. Poe | February 20, 2008 2:26 PM
7

i'm all for gun control that makes sense. i think that you should have to get an endorsement on your state ID just like you do to drive a car, a motorcycle, or a truck.

you should have to register your gun--including serial number and a round fired into a water tank--so that the ATF can make a database of ballistic fingerprints and registered owners that can be used in criminal investigations.

a centrally managed database would hold all the info you would need. felon? flag them in the db. involuntarily committed? flag them in the db.

that's real gun control. until you do something like that, nothing is going to change.

Posted by some dude | February 20, 2008 2:29 PM
8

guns suck

Posted by kinkos | February 20, 2008 2:30 PM
9

PLEASE. I'm all for serious gun control but this bill is VERY ill-considered and discriminatory.

The people this law would affect are NOT any kind of threat to society. There are already gun control laws against felons AND specifically against mentally ill people if a court finds they should not own firearms. This bill is a catch-all that doesn't take any circumstances into consideration.

The type of people that this bill would permanently ban from owning a firearm? Say, a 13-year old whose parents were murdered in front of them, is suffering from PTSD, and isn't getting out of bed. She might be committed for 14 days because of depression and/or because she isn't feeding herself, but do you really think she needs to be barred from owning a gun forever? (Yes, the bill specifically targeted minors who have had a mental health episode as well.)

BY DEFINITION, people under 14 day commitment are deemed NOT a harm to themselves or others and are no longer "gravely disabled" if they are released after 14 days.

Posted by jamier | February 20, 2008 2:34 PM
10

As an ardent gun loving, gun owning, dyed in the wool NRA life member, I'm in favor of pass that legislation.

I see no reason why someone who is involuntarily committed, can not have a temporary restriction placed on them. As LONG AS, that restriction is fully removed, if they are adjudicated/diagnosed to be mentally stable.

@7 some dude, that sounds rosy and all... and I'm sure your touchy feely side thinks it sounds like effective legislation, however, in reality, you are requiring the law abiding to comply. Criminals will simply ignore the law like they currently do.

After all... only the law abiding follow laws correct?

Reality Check

Posted by Reality Check | February 20, 2008 2:43 PM
11

#10: There are already laws against criminals. There are already laws against people who appear before a court for mental health issues for the judge to bar them from owning a firearm.

This bill only targeted people who are law abiding citizens who have a temporary mental health episode unrelated to any law-breaking.

If you have a stroke and aren't feeding yourself due to temporary dementia, this bill would have made you a gun-loving, former-gun-owning NRA member.

Posted by jamier | February 20, 2008 2:48 PM
12

The only gun control legislation likely to prove effective will involve a zero-tolerance policy for the presence of a gun in the commission of a crime.


Regardless of the what is or isn't in the U.S. Constitution there are many guns and many people who want to have guns. Let 'em have guns.


Caught jaywalking with a pistol in your pocket: 2 years (or 2 pinkies). Misdemeanor assault: 4 years and 4 pinkies. Etc.

Posted by umvue | February 20, 2008 2:49 PM
13

It is perfectly possible to feel sorry for wackjobs and whatever unfortunate circumstances led them to become a wackjob, without wanting to give them a gun with no questions asked.

Posted by elenchos | February 20, 2008 2:54 PM
14

jamier, you're my hero.

California already has this law, and its effects are about what you outline in comment 9. Ludicrous and discriminatory. But instead of the 13-year-old, it's usually affecting the abused wife who gets involuntarily committed on the testimony of the controlling abuser. He's glad she can't own a gun! Makes her an easier target for later.

Posted by conium | February 20, 2008 2:58 PM
15

Let's also not forget that many of our veterans return home with serious, albeit temporary, mental health issues. I don't want to be the one to tell them "gee, thanks for your service to your country - now get fucked 'cuz you'll never own a gun again." And the problem with "temporary" bans is that the onus is then put upon the would-be gun owner to somehow prove that he's worthy, and not upon the state to prove that he isn't. Which is why this NRA Benefactor Member doesn't support legislation like this.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | February 20, 2008 3:03 PM
16

@11 Jamier

If that is indeed the case, then I stand corrected.... the law has too many unintended side effects, and needs to be more strictly defined.

It should state that "in cases of involuntary committment with a history of violent past incidents, and provided the incident leading to the involuntary commitment was a violent episode, then provided that criteria was met a temporary 14 day prohibition against the purchase or possession of weapons shall be illegal."

Thanks for the clarification.

Reality Check

Posted by Reality Check | February 20, 2008 3:06 PM
17

@15 Good point fifty two eighty

Legislation needs to be written that the burden of proof needs to be on the government and NOT the other way around.

That is a slippery slope.

In regards to our veterans, it will be a tough road a decade from now. With many of them returning from service, there will be a heavy burden on society dealing with their PTSD issues. It's a heckuva catch 22 to be put in. As more incidents of veterans snapping and not being able to re-integrate back into society, there will be several incidents that will be headlines... it is inevitable.


Reality Check

Posted by Reality Check | February 20, 2008 3:10 PM
18

If we take guns away from insane people, who will get rid of our tyrants?

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 20, 2008 3:24 PM
19

Life member? Benefactor member? Shit, I'm impressed.

Posted by Elvis | February 20, 2008 3:36 PM
20

@1 + @8

Posted by infrequent | February 20, 2008 3:46 PM
21

When is a true progressive going to challenge Frank Chopp so he can be kicked to the curb???

Posted by I Got Nuthin' | February 20, 2008 3:51 PM
22

Give the wackjobs knives instead of worrying about their amendment rights. Worked for the Capital Hill killer of Shannon Harps. It's just hard to kill a lot of students with one. Do only smart mass murderers attack on campuses, does that make them less crazy if they use high powered guns?

Posted by fairtradeWMD | February 20, 2008 4:06 PM
23

what are the safest countries in the world?

do they have guns everywhere? or gun control" highly regulated militias?

are they falling into tyranny?

why not do what works ?

can the government actually manage a huge database in real time of all these involuntary commitments?

seems like laws like this one call for big government that doesn't work -- the govt. today can't go get the criminals for whom there are outstanding warrants there are thousands of outstanding warrants in every big county. they can't follow up on sex offenders who don't register. thjey just do nothing. they don't have modern comptuers, generally. they can't follow up on 6 million aliens who overstay a visa. how much money is it to redo the computers of all law enforcement tie it into all mental health and monitor everyone? sounds like we'd neeed national id database, too, how do we know this james crazy man is the same as jimbo crazy man adjudicated insane in another state 3 years ago? we'd need tamper proof national id.

Posted by unPC | February 20, 2008 4:13 PM
24

They do pretty well without such IDs in the nations that don't have our problem, unPC.

But that's in the reality-based world, mind you.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 20, 2008 4:17 PM
25

The bill doesn't say you can never ever have a gun after you were locked up for being crazy. It says you have to apply to get your gun back and demonstrate you aren't still a wacko.

Why do gun nuts have such a hard time telling the truth?

Posted by elenchos | February 20, 2008 4:52 PM
26

@10 - i own a few guns myself, and if someone broke into my house and stole them, then later used them to murder someone, it would be nice if the police were able to trace the guns back to me, whereby I could say that they already have a police report on the original robbery, the facts of which could help them in their investigation.

not to mention, that over time, more and more guns will be in the database. i have no illusions that something like what i outlined would solve everything. but something like i outlined would do more to help law enforcement than bans or other half-measures would.

does having drivers licenses and license plates prevent crime? no. but it gives police somewhere to start.

Posted by some dude | February 20, 2008 6:42 PM
27

It's fairly obvious that you've never had your guns stolen and used to kill someone, some dude. I have. And I sovided the serial numbers to the police within 15 minutes of reporting the robbery. Why? Because they needed that information at that time. But not before that time. But this is a good reminder to you gun owners out there: write down those serial numbers and keep them in a safe place - you may need them some day.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | February 20, 2008 6:59 PM
28

It's fairly obvious that you've never had your guns stolen and used to kill someone, some dude. I have. And I sovided the serial numbers to the police within 15 minutes of reporting the robbery. Why? Because they needed that information at that time. But not before that time. But this is a good reminder to you gun owners out there: write down those serial numbers and keep them in a safe place - you may need them some day.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | February 20, 2008 7:00 PM
29

you're right, i haven't.

Posted by some dude | February 20, 2008 7:04 PM
30
The bill doesn't say you can never ever have a gun after you were locked up for being crazy. It says you have to apply to get your gun back and demonstrate you aren't still a wacko.

Why do gun nuts have such a hard time telling the truth?

I'm not a gun nut -- I'd be happy if the state somehow banned everyone from owning a gun. My problem is that this bill was ridiculously discriminatory.

There isn't even any evidence that people who are involuntarily committed in the short-term (and have not had guns taken away for other reasons) are more prone to violence than the general population. I'd bet money the opposite is the truth.

If you want to ban guns for groups of people and make them apply for their guns back, why not target groups who are PROVEN to be more prone to gun violence than the general population?

I now expect you to support and Jamie Pedersen to co-sponsor legislation banning these people from owning a gun:

- Gays
- Transgendered people
- People of Spanish ancestry
- People who play video games
- People who were picked on in grade school
- Poor people
- People with penises

Posted by jamier | February 21, 2008 10:17 AM

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