Question of the Day: What Law Would Have Stopped Jared Lee Loughner?

The Washington Post is really getting on my tits (as the Brits are wont to say). The paper that once defined journalistic excellence is once again forgetting the basic principles of objective reporting or editorial balance. Case in point: the paper’s coverage of the so-called Safeway Massacre. “Arizona gun laws, which have been criticized by gun-control groups, permit any law-abiding resident older than 18 to buy or possess a firearm,” the Post tells its readers, trying to link the murders to Arizona’s “lax” gun laws. “To buy a handgun, as opposed to a rifle or shotgun, federal law requires the buyer to be at least 21.” Hello? Laughner’s 22. And the Post knows it—though they somehow forget to mention it. Deep breath . . .

There’s plenty more misleading information and pro-gun control spinnery pokery where that came from. For example, guys, not all guns traced by the ATF were involved in actual crimes. And tagging on a quote from the NRA at the end of every gun-related story does not absolve you from a responsibility to tell both sides of the story in a full, frank and fair manner.

So here’s the wider question: given that Laughner qualified for a gun under the provisions established by the Brady Law, what regulation or regulations could have stopped him from committing his heinous crime? Here’s one suggestion from (you guessed it) The Huffington Post:

The easiest way to prevent psychotics from obtaining guns, in a manner that is low-cost, constitutional and minimally infringes upon the prerogatives of law-abiding gun owners, is to require a brief psychiatric examination and a prescription in order to purchase a gun . . .

A prescription requirement need not be onerous. Requiring a brief psychiatric check up prior to issuing a gun license, and possibly a renewal every fixed number of years, could be done in a manner to impinge only minimally upon the activities of psychiatrically healthy gun owners. While mental health remains in some respects a nuanced art, it does not require great psychiatric acumen or years of Freudian analysis to determine that a man like Jared Loughner ought not to be packing heat. In states with significant gun-owning populations, mental health workers might even be employed by the state to conduct such screenings on-site . . .

With time, gun owners would surely come to see such screenings as routine — like annual car inspections — and the massacres prevented might change public perceptions regarding lawful gun ownership.

What a bizarre idea: letting the generally anti-gun mental health profession decide who gets to exercise their constitutional right based on criteria they devise. Catch-22 much? Even if there was a mental health check for gun owners, how would such a process prevent a disturbed person from acquiring a gun illegally. And how do you count prevented massacres?

Anyway, what else you got? Seriously. I’m all ears.

comments

  1. avatar JOE MATAFOME says:

    NO LAW OR BAN OR ANYTHING could have stopped this tragedy or any future tragedy if the criminal is truely intent on following thru with his evil actions. It’s not that we’re giving up, it’s just a fact of life. Evil people will harm anyone they please whenever they please and wherever the please.

  2. avatar GunKing1 says:

    Wow, Huff post is really clueless. I mean, why shouldn’t we have someone else decide if we can exercise our RIGHT.

    1. avatar Ivy Leaf says:

      That’s exactly what the anti-gun forces want to do – in THEIR opinion, NOBODY should be allowed to own a firearm except on-duty law enforcement and military. Do they WANT high murder rates like in Chicago & Wash. D.C. where guns ARE outlawed? Where guns are outlawed, only OUTLAWS have guns! And since law abiding citizens in those places don’t have guns, the outlaws are free to rob & shoot anyone they want! Where guns are allowed, burglars are less likely to stick around – they prefer to go where people can’t defend themselves & their property. Why can’t the Brady movement & other anti-gun forces understand this simple logic?

  3. avatar Javier E says:

    These anti gun persons need to open a window or at the very least remove their heads from that very dark orifice and take in a deep breath of reality. Drugs (the organic kind) not the ones labeled J&J, Merk, Phizer and others of that ilk have been band for decades. Yet can you tell me how it is that there are stil arrests being made for posetion of these band substances. Wait maybe thats to specific of a failure. How about bombs and the very making of them any body remember Mr. Timothy James McVeigh, or how about Ted Kaczynski I’m quite sure that mailing bombs is illegal somewhere. The laws DONT, and WONT stop any body from commiting such an outragious act of violence, after all “Thou shall not kill” is one the oldest laws I know about. Seems almost stupid does it not. To steal things from others, too. Yet murders and thefts happen every day all over the world.

  4. avatar NukemJim says:

    Plus the psychiatrists are not so accurate at predicting what people will do.

    I can document many instances where a parolee commited murder/rape/child abuse etc… after the psychiatrists said the person was not a danger to society and was then released.

    NukemJim

  5. avatar Different perspective says:

    Seriously guys he got banned from school and could not come back until a doc said he was alright. There needs to be some sort of better check to keep these guys from owning guns. I don’t want to be associated with these fruitcakes any more. And we (gun owners) need to do something to keep the lunatic fringe in check. I think responsible gun ownership extends beyond how I handle and treat my fire arms it extends to a larger societal view.

    Maybe simply starting with an a way for mental health experts to give feedback about people of interest would be a start.

  6. avatar JadeGold says:

    Let’s see…the Army, who is taking most anyone these days, wouldn’t take Loughner. A friggin’ community college kicked him out unless he passed a psych evaluation.

    Yet, gunloons wring their hands and say ‘nothing could be done.’

    Frankly, gunloons who espouse such bilge aren’t qualified or responsible enough to own or handle guns. We’re not talking about someone for whom the color yellow makes him sad–we’re talking about someone who wasn’t judged fit enough to enlist or take algebra classes.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Yes, yes. So what law do you propose that would have prevented this tragedy?

  7. avatar JadeGold says:

    Actually the HuffPo suggestion has its merits.

  8. avatar Ralph says:

    Reading the Huffington Post is the first sign of incipient insanity. Taking anything seriously that’s proposed on HuffPo is clinical insanity.

  9. avatar Martin Albright says:

    Besides the obvious problems with required psych evals (like the fact that people in the psychiatric profession generally disdain firearms ownership or the fact that requiring someone to obtain an examination before excercising a Constitutional right is probably a prohibited infringement) there is the liability issue: Let’s say Joe Schmoe gets his psych eval, psych approves him for a gun, which he buys and then kills his wife or a bunch of random strangers. Under our current litigious climate, what’s to prevent a victim or victim’s NOK from suing the doctor?

    The inevitable result would be that the safest “diagnosis” for any doctor would be “No, not suitable for firearms ownership.” That way if the person obtains a gun the psych is off the hook because he can say he did his job and it was the government that failed.

  10. avatar fire_medic says:

    So what did he do that got him tossed from his community college? Must have been pretty significant. I know a lot of instances that colleges, especially community colleges, let things slide. Since he actually got “asked” to leave, seems to me some one some where didn’t report a very significant incident.

  11. avatar Ralph says:

    Loughner was rejected from military service because he failed the drug test, according to an Army spokesman. Had this information been shared, Loughner would have been flagged when he was background-checked and would not have been able to purchase his firearm legally. The system failed because the Army was prohibited from sharing information based on vague notions of privacy rights.

  12. avatar Andy says:

    How about a law that if a guy makes multiple, repeated death threats somebody ought to take him a lot more seriously. Had the local PD done even a cursory glance at this guy then the alarm bells should have gone off.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email