Gun Ownership : How the violent mentally ill can buy guns

Discussion in 'Law Forum - Prisons - Gun Ownership' started by MsInterpret, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. MsInterpret

    MsInterpret Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    How the violent mentally ill can buy guns

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    By Jen Christensen, CNN
    updated 2:46 PM EST, Wed January 30, 2013

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    The federal background check for gun purchases fails to catch many mentally ill people with violent backgrounds, experts say.


    Can there be a solution to America's gun problems? Anderson Cooper looks at both sides of the debate in "Guns Under Fire: an AC360º Town Hall Special" Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on CNN.

    (CNN) -- Last November, Oklahoma City police officers went to check on an elderly woman after relatives reported they hadn't heard from her in a while.​

    At 77, Janet Hume was living with her adult son, Gerald, who the family said was schizophrenic. Since she typically kept in close contact with relatives, police decided to investigate.​

    They visited the Hume home on three occasions. Each time, her son refused to let them inside, insisting "everything was OK," according to a police affidavit.​

    But it was far from it.​

    What police eventually discovered instead was a horrendous casethat underscores how little the country's current gun laws can do to stop a mentally ill person from buying a gun -- even if, like Gerald Hume, they have a documented history of violence.​

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    Gerald Hume'
    That third time police went to check on Janet Hume, all hell broke loose.​


    Gerald Hume held police at bay for 11 hours, barricading himself inside the home as a police helicopter flew overhead. During negotiations, police records show Hume admitted shooting his mother in the chest.​

    At 4:30 a.m. on November 14, an Oklahoma City Police tactical unit finally forced its way into the home. Hume pointed his 9mm Glock at them. An officer used a stun gun on him; another fired a beanbag rifle at him. But police still had to rush him, pushing him down with their shields.​

    Police then quickly searched Hume's home, finding Janet Hume's body in a bedroom, the affidavit said.​

    While Hume's lawyer declined to be interviewed, the inventory of items seized from the home in relation to the case tells a gruesome story.​

    In addition to the handgun and three rifles, police also removed a Whirlpool freezer, a reciprocating saw and a serrated kitchen knife, according to the inventory, filed with the search warrant. They also seized a pair of blood-splattered safety glasses and a white plastic trash bag containing women's clothing that was "cut up/stained," the document said.​

    Authorities found parts of Janet Hume's body inside the freezer, along with the body of a house cat, the district attorney told the Oklahoman newspaper.​

    Gerald Hume was described in the affidavit as a "known schizophrenic (who) hears voices, and requires treatment" and who has had "several mental health interventions with OCPD" and a history of violent behavior.​

    He didn't steal his guns or borrow them. He bought them.​

    "He bought them like any normal person would -- he got them at Walmart," said Oklahoma City Police Capt. Dexter Nelson.​

    Hume bought the rifles at the Walmart in Moore, Oklahoma, on September 25. The next day he bought the Glock at Gun World in the nearby town of Dell City, according to Nelson. Both are federally licensed gun dealers that conduct background checks. The checks, in theory, are supposed to stop certain people -- including the mentally ill with a history of violence -- from buying them.​


    Repeated system failure

    "Even after you have a brief conversation with (Gerald Hume), you can tell something is not right," Nelson said. "Visibly, he even looks 'off.'"​

    Many law enforcement and gun merchants are frustrated with the system, he said. But "what could (the retailers) do if a person passes a background check? They don't have the authority to check if he's lying. We as law enforcement don't even have that ability, because mental health records are kept in each separate jurisdiction in Oklahoma. Those files aren't transferred to a central state or federal system we can check.​

    "It's far too easy to pass a federal background check."​

    Federal law makes it illegal to sell or give a firearm to anyone who "has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution."​

    Federally licensed gun shops must use the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS. Private sellers and gun shows have no background check requirement.​

    But information in the NICS is incomplete, particularly where mental health records are concerned, investigations found. That's because of what some of the system's critics call a huge legal loophole in the background check laws that put "guns in the hands of killers," according to a study conducted by a group of mayors.​

     
  2. Kemetstry

    Kemetstry going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    We need a mental health system and mandatory background checks





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  3. MimiBelle

    MimiBelle Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    we need to fix the mental health system...before relying on it for status checks. lol and no this isnt a call to 'lock the looniesaway'. alongside the elders and children, that population is dear to me.
     
  4. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    sorry, the NRA says no to background checks….they want to sell more guns
     
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