Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wrong Laws

It is commendable that we have new laws trying to stop the mentally ill from being able to purchase guns. But all they have to do is lie about whether they have been in a mental institute. Maybe the background checks will get better. I still think that if a person has been diagnosed by a licensed medical doctor to have a mental illness, and stops taking his/her prescribed medications, then that should be enough to have them involuntarily placed into a mental health facility for long term observation and made to take their medicine. I am sorry if that sounds harsh and a turn into the past, but if it were your child sitting in a lecture room at college getting an education, and a gunman walks into the hall and kills your child, then I think you would be ready to vote for these laws to be more stringent. This has been the saddest line of stories posted. One after another of people shooting others because they are probably in a manic phase and are acting out a delusion that lives only in their individual sick minds. Enough already!

Law enforcement sources confirm that Northern Illinois University shooter Stephen Kazmierczak struggled with persistent mental illness that, at times, had the potential to make him a danger to himself, but he was, nevertheless, able to legally purchase the guns he used in his campus rampage.

After the shootings, NIU parents expressed outrage and disbelief over his access to guns, echoing grievances brought up by parents after last April's shootings at Virginia Tech.

"Why was this tormented young man able to carry out this massacre?" NIU parent Connie Catellani asked. "How could he legally obtain a weapon, designed to kill so many people in such a short time?"

Law enforcement officials told ABC News that Kazmierczak's parents placed him in a Chicago mental institution, for months of intensive treatment, when he was a teenager, and that he remained on medication as an adult.

Despite past treatment for mental health problems, Kazmierczak, 27, was able to purchase four guns in three visits to a gun store in Champaign, Ill., over a six-month period. Each time, he filled out a federal form, which asks two critical questions:

"Have you ever been adjudicated mentally defective (which includes a determination by a court, board, commission or other lawful authority that you are a danger to yourself or to others, or are incompetent to manage your own affairs)?" the form asks, "or have you ever been committed to a mental institution?"

Federal law says that if a court orders a person's commitment to a mental institution, that information is supposed to go into a federal database. A background check against that database would flag such a gun buyer, who would not be legally allowed to buy a firearm.

Police believe Kazmierczak's parents — not a judge — voluntarily committed him. Under current law, that voluntary commitment by his family would not make it illegal for him to purchase guns.

Gun control advocates say the law presents a gaping, potentially dangerous loophole.

Campus Shooting Highlights Legal Loophole


Diane J Standiford said...

Isn't anyone who murders mentally ill? A Seattle woman (5 blocks from my home) was stabbed to death by a mentally ill man. If someone wants a gun, they can get one. If not from a store then in an alley.
And how can we know when people stop taking their meds? We need to figure out why there is so much mental illness and we need to provide health ins. that covers mental health---good mental health is the foundation our bodies rely on.

Anonymous said...

If more people had guns, then this person could have been kllled before he murdered so many people.