Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Who Can't Get a Gun in This Country?

Norman Leboon, who has threatened to kill Congressman Eric Cantor, has been found unfit to stand trial for psychiatric reasons. This is not a big surprise; last year Leboon was arrested for threatening to have the Archangel Gabriel kill his roommate. But on the other hand, that wasn't enough to get Leboon's license to carry a concealed handgun canceled. Of course, when Norman got really crazy his brother came and tried to confiscate the gun. He just couldn't find it.

Charles Alan Wilson, who has been arrested for threatening to murder a United State Senator, also has a concealed-carry permit, and a .38 handgun to conceal. He told the FBI all about it.

On the other hand, Jacob Ward of the Hutaree militia had his guns taken away by his mother. This made him so angry that he asked the police to arrest his mother, "and was irate when the cops refused":
Police reports indicate Ward wanted his AK47 and .45-caliber pistol back because an Ohio crime family was after him for trying to marry a Macedonian woman who had been held captive on an island in Lake Erie by another crime family.
Fortunately, the police can't make you give a delusional relative his guns back. But they can't stop you from giving them back, either. And it's apparently up to you, and not the cops, to take the guns when your family member becomes a menace.

All irrelevant in the case of Huntsville shooter Amy Bishop, of course, whose husband bought the gun she would someday use in Huntsville back in 1989. (If you remember her husband claiming that he didn't know where she got the gun, because the family didn't have one, it's because he said that in public. He was just lying.) This is one family member who wanted to make sure that Amy had access to a gun, which is odd considering she'd killed her brother with a gun in 1986. Now, her husband likely doesn't believe that Bishop murdered her brother, and Bishop was never charged or even fully booked. But even if you grant Bishop's version of the story, why should anyone who's killed someone through incredible carelessness with a firearm have another firearm? If you can't load and unload a gun without committing fratricide, you just shouldn't have guns. Really.

And of course, the people who sold Virginia Tech killer Seung-Hui Cho his two handguns couldn't have known that he would use them to kill 32 people before he killed himself. There was nothing in his past that predicted he would become a mass murderer. His psychiatric history only suggested the suicide part. And though we worry, or pretend to worry, about selling guns to murderers, nobody ever complains about people selling guns to people who might kill themselves. Think about how cold that is.

So my question is: who can't get a gun in this country? People suffering paranoid delusions can have handguns and assault rifles and concealed-carry permits. People who've been arrested for threatening other people can have guns. Suicidal college students can have guns. People who've killed other people with guns can have new guns. Seriously, who the hell is not allowed to have a gun? I'm not proposing any draconian new gun laws here. But how on earth can it be this easy for people who are obviously a menace (one way or another) to get semi-automatics?

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