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An article published in the Sunday Minneapolis Star Tribune reveals the problems with background checks as they are today. Here's the link to the article: Murderous 'monster' acquires an arsenal of 13 guns in Delano

A summary of main problems the article identifies in the current system of background checks under the fold.

1. Not all guns in Minnesota require a background check. Long rifles do not. Neither do shotguns, which according to the article is what Christian Oberender killed his mother with is 1995.

2. Background checks right now only check for things that would strike one from buying a gun. The article also points out that the man in the article, Christian Oberender, was able to circumvent the checks by transposing his name on applications. Background checks also need to verify identity, which does not happen in Minnesota.

3. Civil commitments for mental health need to be classified differently. According to the article, civil commitments for mental health cannot be reported to BCA without permission of the patient. I understand the issues regarding privacy, but Oberender was committed after he had shot his mother. There seems to be a need to allow the Mental Health organizations to be able to report commitment to the state without patient permission in the cases of people who were committed for being violent, especially violent with guns.

4.Background checks are only as good as the information provided to them. It's important that the organizations responsible for juvenile justice, criminal justice in general, and mental health commitment send records to the BCA so that proper background checks on gun permit applications can be checked.

5. There are more loopholes than the gun show loophole. When Oberender killed his mother in 1995, that apparently predated digital fingerprints which would go into a main database. Confessing my lack of thorough knowledge in this area, but is there a way to get fingerprints in that were not digital? That's an awfully big bunch of people who should possibly not have guns because they were felons; their fingerprints should be checkable too.

I will concede that I am not an expert on background checks or gun law, and I am not using this case to argue, as many are, that we don't need more gun laws. What this case clearly shows, however, is that the current background system is flawed and needs to be fixed. That may mean further inconveniences for gun purchasers--fingerprinting, e.g., or providing a social security number-- but if the result is that people like Oberender are flagged and cannot get guns, then society is better off.

Originally posted to Maple Jenny on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 05:47 AM PST.

Also republished by Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA) and Shut Down the NRA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  How many more children/families must we continue (7+ / 0-)

    sacrificing, year after year, at the altar of the NRA's gun Cult before we take back our Government and get Congress to pass sensible firearm regulations like FULL background check on EVERY sale/transfer, licensing and registration?

    Sure, those things - even when implemented a few months/years from now - will have very little effect short term and the carnage will continue, but after a few years of having those regulations in placed we will see reductions in the carnage from keeping guns away from (some, not all) people that should not have their hands on a firearm. This will happen in a few ways:

    1. Registration (or some tracking mechanism so that the provenance of every gun can be traced) will make gun owners much less likely to sell guns to criminals, which is done with impunity since private sales are not regulated and this results in many straw purchases that get "laundered" into illegal guns.  Many people that claim their guns were stolen probably just sold them to one of the dealers that import them into states with strict gun regulations and supply criminals.  Knowing that the gun can be traced back to you, will make an owner think twice before selling it to unscrupulous dealers.

    2. Fewer guns will end up in the hands of violent felons that, in spite of being banned from purchasing firearms, still get them.  Here is where true/full background checks as you suggest become important.

    3. People that are licensed/trained will eventually start keeping firearms secured and out of the reach of so many young people that shouldn't have access to them, and yet they do (as in the NM tragedy this weekend or in the carnage in Newtown).

    Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

    by DefendOurConstitution on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 05:58:19 AM PST

    •  Is this all there is? Is there nothing more? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kickemout

      Everyone is so obsessed with their guns and their laws  that they aren't even paying any attention to the kids.  That's how we got here in the first place.  What are we going to do for the suffering children who are so desperate that they are ready to kill themselves or someone else?    

      All the gun regulations currently under consideration are not going to significantly decrease the availability of guns, and they don't do anything to help alleviate the tremendous suffering of these children.   The shooters are the canaries in the coal mine.  If you look below the surface, you find kids cutting, anorexic, bulemic -- an epidemic of stress and anxiety and depressive disorders in our nation's children.   And, if you drill down deeper still, it raises serious questions about the environment that we create for our children in this country.

      I am not arguing against the gun laws.   Go ahead, and pass them.   It will make the adults feel better, at any rate, and maybe it will make a tiny difference.  We can hope so.

      But, what time is going to be the right time to discuss a focus on intervention and family services, social services and mental health care services?    When do we take a serious look at the environments in which our kids spend their days, at our daycares and schools?   Wehn do we ask if we are doing enough for special needs children and home schooled children to ensure their social needs are being met?  When do we start talking about what we can do to engage kids, help them build an emotional support network, teach them coping skills, identify at risk kids, and have strong intervention programs to help kids who are drop out of school programes, like Adam Lanza and James Holmes, or faster crisis response programs for kids who are identified as an immediate threat, like James Homes.

      When do we talk about that?  

      Because having suicidal homicidal kids wandering around in a daze trying to figure out how to break into Dad's locked gun cabinet or how to build homemade explosives, is still a huge problem , and having a kid shoot up the school or theatre with a .30-.30 instead of an "assault weapon", like my hometown shooter, Luke Wooham, did, is still a huge problem.

      At the end of the day, if we don't find these kids and help them, bad things are going to happen, now or later.

      An assault weapons ban and some regulations and executive orders is the very least that we can do.  Why aren't we doing more?  Doesn't this issue deserve more?   Don't these kids deserve more?

       

  •  We absolutely need background (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, Wayward Wind

    checks as a federal law.

    •  the NICS already is Federal Law (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlackSheep1

      When I have purchased guns from an FFL, I have had to produce a Driver's License and it was checked against the information I filled out on the 4473.  I remember that was the case for rifles in Maryland (not regulated weapons).  

      Under capitalism man exploits man, under communism the roles are reversed.

      by DavidMS on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 06:15:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  NICS is broken (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BachFan, exlrrp

        The database is sorely deficient for a range of reasons.

        As of 30 November 12, there are 8,260,880 names in the database.  Nearly 63% are in the illegal aliens category - folks who got caught sneaking into the country or remaining illegally.

        There are 723,819 felons (or those convicted of a misdemeanor which carries a possible sentence in excess of two years), while in the US, the estimates of those convicted of felonies range from 5,850,000 to 18 million.

        There are 1,796,058 names of people who have been adjudicated as mentally incompetent, which has been estimated to be roughly 40% of the accurate number.

        And on and on...

        NICS Data 30/11/12

        What is really needed in a true background investigation process along the lines of those conducted in NYS for pistol permit applicants.

        I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

        by Wayward Wind on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 06:38:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Should a PTSD rating disqualify you? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Wayward Wind

          Just wondering what you think

          Happy just to be alive

          by exlrrp on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 06:43:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            exlrrp

            I am not sure if it should be automatic, or tied to a particular rating (i.e. 100%) or based on the recommendation of the therapist involved if he or she believes that the veteran is a danger to himself or others.

            I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

            by Wayward Wind on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 06:47:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I have one (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BlackSheep1

              70%, the highest you can get without being sittig in a wheelchair drooling.
              I also have a lifelong spotless criminal record, an honorable discharge with citations, former volunteer fireman, former business owner, former city comissioner, father and grandfather. I don't drink or smoke. Ive never hit, pushed, shoved or physically threatened a woman, not even the ones who hit, pushed, shoved and threw stuff at me

              If I was deprived of something considered to be a civil right because of that, I'd be really mad.

              Happy just to be alive

              by exlrrp on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 06:55:42 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  As I said, I am uncertain (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                exlrrp

                as to what triggers a VA report, but a quick check on Google seems to indicate that they report those cases where a determination has been had that a fiduciary needs to be appointed to handle the financial affairs of a veteran based on incompetency.

                I am guessing that a PTSD rating alone is not one of the triggers, but perhaps a diagnosis by a mental health professional that a veteran is potentially suicidal might well be - as it should.

                I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

                by Wayward Wind on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 07:16:06 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  They will report suicidal or homicidal (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  BlackSheep1

                  But the therapist you see for PTSD is not the one who makes the determination. You are interviewed by a psychiatrist who then forwards his recommendations to a board.
                  his interview took about 15 minutes, there's no possible way I could say he got to know me. Just told him a couple of war stories (I had backup, including witness statements) and that was it.

                  One thing I'm real sure of: if PTSD is considered a disqualifier, you just lost almost every  combat vet.

                  thanks for your thoughts

                  Happy just to be alive

                  by exlrrp on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 07:39:01 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  We fingerprint schoolteachers in the United States (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Glen The Plumber, NancyWH

    to check for any criminal record affecting their ability to work with children.

    Why should we not fingerprint people who wish to carry instruments of murder?

    When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

    by litho on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 06:07:41 AM PST

  •  background checks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BachFan, NancyWH
    Oberender was committed after he had shot his mother.
    I am less concerned that he was committed, and more concerned that he shot his mother.

    Any persons who have legal trouble due to shooting someone should be classified in such a way that they are detected in a background search.  This include those successfully prosecuted, and also those who plea bargain or get off the charges due to mental health grounds.    This should be similar to the way that sex offenders are tracked.  In fact, it makes tremedous sense that we should have a violent offender tracking system, similar to a sex offender tracking system, for use for this type of background check.

    The distinction that I am making is that it is not the medical record that need to be tracked in this situation, it is the legal records.  This elimiantes those privacy issues you mentioned.  A person's medical history is certainly confidential, but criminal records are public.

    •  I agree with you. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BachFan, DFWmom, NancyWH

      I understand the notion that someone's juvenile record may not be a predictor of future violence, therefore we want to not let it affect their adult life. But when you shoot someone multiple times, I think you've revoked the right to own a gun for the rest of your life.

  •  The deal with background checks are that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wayward Wind

    they are pretty freakin' useless if they don't also include everybody else who access to your home (or where ever it is that you keep your gun cache . .. ).

  •  Should a PTSD rating disqualify you? (0+ / 0-)

    Just wondering what people think

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 06:40:38 AM PST

    •  I don't know the answer (0+ / 0-)

      but I do know that the VA s one of the federal agencies which is required to provide information for the database.  I don't know if those are folks diagnosed with PTSD or for some other reasons.

      I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

      by Wayward Wind on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 06:48:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  exlrrp: I don't think so, but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Silvia Nightshade

      I'm a woman who's experienced sexual assault.
      And I own a rifle.

      The fact that I'm a vet doesn't mitigate either of those facts.

      LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 09:38:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Digital fingerprints (0+ / 0-)

    should be easy to implement going forward.  Tanning salons use cheap little fingerprint readers that are USB and do a very good job of matching fingerprints from an on-demand scan.  As to digitizing a backlog of paper fingerprints, well... that could be a nice job for someone to do for a couple years, hah.

    "I don't want a unicorn. I want a fucking pegasus. And I want it to carry a flaming sword." -mahakali overdrive

    by Silvia Nightshade on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 08:12:29 AM PST

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