Crime

If Only Virginia Were More Like New York

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It's hard to have a fruitful discussion of whether gun laws should be changed in light of the Virginia Tech massacre without knowing what they currently require. But if you're hoping to bone up on the subject, do not rely on The New York Times, which yesterday reported:

Virginia is what those in the gun world call a shall issue state, meaning anyone who is not excluded under certain restrictions can obtain a gun. But in more restrictive states like California, New Jersey, New York, Hawaii, Massachusetts and others, people are first referred to local police departments for an extensive vetting process. In some cases, references must be provided; there is usually a waiting period.

"This kid never would have gotten a gun in New York, New Jersey or any state that does that in a million years," Mr. Everitt [a spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence] said. "There's just no way."

As it has before, the Times is conflating permits to carry handguns with licenses to purchase them. Virginia, like most states, has a nondiscretionary, or "shall issue," carry permit law, meaning that anyone who meets certain objective criteria (which always include a background check and may also include fingerprinting and firearms training) can obtain a permit. California, New Jersey, New York, Hawaii, and Massachusetts, by contrast, have discretionary, or "may issue," carry permit laws, which give police wide authority to decide who gets to carry a gun. But as far as I know, Cho Seung-Hui did not have a carry permit, and it's hard to see how it would have mattered if he had: All guns were prohibited on Virginia Tech's campus, with the exception of those used by police and security guards, and mass murderers do not worry much about such legal niceties in any case.

When it comes to buying a handgun, Virginians have to pass a background check, but they don't need a license. In New York and the other states mentioned by the Times, residents must have a license to legally purchase a handgun. So the question is whether the requirements imposed by these states would have stymied someone like Cho. According to the summaries compiled by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (which the Times could have consulted if the idea of visiting a site aimed at gun owners was too distasteful), it takes less than a month to get a handgun license in New Jersey, more like six months in New York. The New Jersey license expires after 90 days, while the New York license is good until revoked, except in New York City and three counties near it. Both states require a background check and fingerprinting. My sense is that it's very difficult to legally have a handgun in the New York City area, not as hard upstate, but I'd welcome a more definitive assessment from someone with more expertise.

Is Everitt right that "there's just no way" Cho could have legally purchased a handgun in New York or New Jersey? If so, why? After all, he passed Virginia's background check, which, despite all the recent talk about the state's laxness, the Brady Campaign describes as "the best system since it includes checking both state and federal records to prevent criminals and other prohibited people from buying guns."

It's worth keeping in mind that even if Virginia had copied New York's gun laws in every particular, and the extra requirements stopped Cho from buying handguns, he still could have obtained rifles and/or shotguns and used these more powerful weapons in his attack, which might have resulted in even more deaths. In a shooting rampage like this one, the concealability of handguns does not seem to be a crucial consideration. 

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  1. Do “legal” guns shoot deadlier bullets? WTF difference does it make if the gun was “legal” or “Illegal”.

    Or are we to suppose that Cho would have said: “Aww fuck can’t get a gun at the store…Oh well killing spree off.”

  2. When I bought my most recent handgun, I had to answer a questionnare (sp) which asked whether I was in need of or have received phyciatric treatment. If VAs system has a similar setup, then this guy made his purchase illegally.

  3. SO tired of this being flogged by both sides.

  4. Warren-

    You have a mouse, and presumably the ability to choose which links to click on. If you’re not interested in the policy debates that are inevitable, then click on one of the many other links available.

  5. Good Piece Jacob.

    Warren, I have lots to say about all of this but everyone else has already said it. Hundreds of thousands of times.

  6. It seems the main problem is that his mental health record never made it into the NICS database. He most likely should not have been able to purchase any gun, but the Virginia State Police were probably too lazy to upload the data or had no system in place for doing so.

    However, even if this information was in the system and Cho was denied the purchase, he could have easily made an illegal purchase in DC while home on spring break.

  7. Media, not sure that’s what Warren meant.

  8. MC-

    FWIW, the NICS system is federal, though it presumably uses state records.

  9. Does anybody know what fraction of criminals who use handguns in their crimes had a concealed carry permit for the gun? Ancedotally, it seems to be the norm for the criminal to not have got a permit, but I’ve never seen any solid numbers.

  10. Or, would Warren rather have gun discussions censored? As with television, you should be able to decide what you do and do not want to see.

    Aside from that, I’m actually surprised that Cho actually went through the trouble of obtaining these handguns legally. I’m sure with the money he shelled out at the gun shop he could have easily purchased more destructive weapons illegally. Then again, he wasn’t exactly in the right state of mind to make rational decisions. Maybe, by buying them legally, he was trying to make some kind of political point?

    …i’m rambling now…

  11. mediageek,

    I meant the combined system, as Jacob noted above.

    While I personally don’t think someone who has been committed should be able to buy a gun, I am somewhat concerned about these databases. Just like the “no fly list”, how do you get your name removed if there’s a mistake?

    I tried searching to determine exactly gets one into these databases and what records they contain but couldn’t come up with much, other than felonies and things like that. Anybody know?

  12. Does anybody know what fraction of criminals who use handguns in their crimes had a concealed carry permit for the gun? Ancedotally, it seems to be the norm for the criminal to not have got a permit, but I’ve never seen any solid numbers.

    I think its almost none. The revocation rate for permits is well under 1%, and that does not necessarily mean it was revoked for any type of gun crime.

  13. “Carry” permits are permits to carry a concealed weapon. It’s legal to carry weapons in plain sight, though not advisable to actually do so in most circumstances.

  14. MC-

    Here’s a link to the .gov’s offical NICS website.

    All of the stats I’ve seen regarding concealed carry permits being revoked put the number at well under 1% of those issued.

  15. New Jersey, New York, Hawaii, and Massachusetts, by contrast, have discretionary, or “may shall not issue,” carry permit laws,

    There. Fixed that for ya.

  16. I’m sure with the money he shelled out at the gun shop he could have easily purchased more destructive weapons illegally.

    Black market prices are typically higher than legal market prices.

    Your cheapest guns are usually found at pawn shops.

  17. I have noticed in the past a tendency for the vast majority of people, even police and gun owners, to be incredibly ill-informed as to the actual laws relating to weapons. The New York Times in particular knows nothing about guns or gun law. Take any reporting from the NYT on guns with a bucket of salt.

    People also have a tendency to assume that gun laws are the same in different states. People from the northeast are especially prone to this problem as they often ask me questions which are completely asinine from the point of view of a long time TX resident. If I hear one more dumb yankee ask me about registration, I’ll probably scream.

    Finally, concealed carry statistics vary from state to state. I don’t know if there is a federal database, but Texas has a handy link . Short answer? The percentage of CHL holders that committ crimes is usually less than one percent, with the exception of Unlawful Carry of Weapons by License Holder, for obvious reasons.

  18. While I do share your point of view to an extent Warren, this blog has certainly been better than many other places. I remember blogs that were debating gun control on Monday night and Tuesday morning.

    Got kicked out of one after I asked “Do you have any fucking shame?”

    Apparently opinions that this is a tragedy and not a political football aren’t welcome in some places.

    An example of what I was responding to on that blog
    “(three hours after news broke) “I’ll drop kick anyone who tries to turn this into a pro gun control argument.”
    “(8 hours after)If we took everyone’s guns away than there would be no murder or rape or violent crime.”
    “The real responsibility for stuff like this lies with those people who think that a gun can help solve problems.”
    “Who cares about the second amendment.”

    Apparently by using profanity I was being offensive to the self righteous jackasses who thought this story was about their political agenda, and not about 32 college students murdered by some fucking psychopath.

    But Warren, just like me, if you don’t want to be involved with a discussion there are plenty of other subjects and blogs to check out (Im not going back to that one after they started deleting my comments).

  19. In a shooting rampage like this one, the concealability of handguns does not seem to be a crucial consideration.

    Well, other than while he was walking from the dorm to the classroom building.

    When I bought my most recent handgun, I had to answer a questionnare (sp) which asked whether I was in need of or have received phyciatric treatment. If VAs system has a similar setup, then this guy made his purchase illegally.

    I presume you filled out the Form 4473. It’s Federal, BATFE, so Virginia uses it as well. Picky point, he committed a federal felony by lying on the form. The gun store did nothing illegal.

    It seems the main problem is that his mental health record never made it into the NICS database. He most likely should not have been able to purchase any gun, but the Virginia State Police were probably too lazy to upload the data or had no system in place for doing so.

    There’s no place to put them. Most mental health records are confidential, particularly since HIPPA, and cannot be revealed either to the NICS, or to the VA State Police.

    Does anybody know what fraction of criminals who use handguns in their crimes had a concealed carry permit for the gun?

    Approaching zero. First, once someone is a criminal they’re ineligible for a CHL. Second, CHLs are far less likely to be arrested than the general population. In fact, in a multi-year Texas study, even though men are far more likely to be arrested than women, men with CHLs were less likely to be arrested than women who were not licensees.

    “Carry” permits are permits to carry a concealed weapon. It’s legal to carry weapons in plain sight, though not advisable to actually do so in most circumstances.

    This depends on state law. Legal open carry is less prevalent than shall-issue concealed carry.

    Black market prices are typically higher than legal market prices.

    Not necessarily. Firearms can be either smuggled into the country or stolen, and sold illegally, for less than they can be manufactured or imported, and sold at retail. Handguns on Britain’s black market go for less than comparable models do at a Texas gun shop.

    Your cheapest guns are usually found at pawn shops.

    Pawnshops are FFL dealers. They follow exactly the same firearm purchase rules that gun stores do.

  20. The last time a bought a pistol in MA I went through a license check, background check and fingerprint scan. I also had to buy an axe a few days later. I was able to buy this ridiculously lethal weapon with cash on the spot despite my delibrate attempts to make the clerk think I was a little unbalanced…buying an axe, rope and a plastic tarp together with specifying that the axe needed to have a long handle and a sharp blade will do that.

    Obtaining a carry permit in MA depends mostly on which city you live in since the police have discretion. The last time I renewed my Class A LTC in MA it was in Chelmsford and the woman at police headquarters was quite helpful and was almost eager to show off the new equiptment they had for printing the cards. Compare this to stories I heard of people trying to get a LTC in Boston.

  21. “… he committed a federal felony by lying on the form.”

    He committed a fedeal felony by taking his guns into a Post Office to mail his package to NBC.

    This was a bad dude! He didn’t seem to care what was prohibited at all.

  22. Saying there’s “no way” he’d get a gun in New York because there are restrictions is like saying there’s “no way” a person from the Netherlands could buy marijuana in America because, unlike the Netherlands, it’s illegal (I know that technically it’s illegal in the Netherlands, but you know what I mean).

  23. …..shall not issue… LOL

    Way back in the Dark Ages in conservative OC TWC applied for a permit and since I didn’t know John Wayne personally, Sheriff Brad Gates essentially told me to go screw myself. It swayed him not that I was carrying enormous sums of cash in my briefcase every day and that hundreds of people knew that I did.

    Have to say that the Ruger .357 that I left sitting on top of desk everyday may have had some deterrent effect on the sticky fingered employees (and their sleazeball homies).

  24. jimmydageek | April 20, 2007, 11:54am | #

    Or, would Warren rather have gun discussions censored? As with television, you should be able to decide what you do and do not want to see.

    Aside from that, I’m actually surprised that Cho actually went through the trouble of obtaining these handguns legally. I’m sure with the money he shelled out at the gun shop he could have easily purchased more destructive weapons illegally. Then again, he wasn’t exactly in the right state of mind to make rational decisions. Maybe, by buying them legally, he was trying to make some kind of political point?

    …i’m rambling now…

    I am sure this fellow was hooked up with the underground gun club in Virginia. I am sure this underground gun club is easily available to anyone and everyone who wishes to purchase a gun.

    I never thought he bought the guns locally, then heard on the news they were legally purchased in Virginia. I was suprised by that fact. I thought for sure they would be illegal guns. I am wondering why somebody who was committed as an imminent threat to himself and others was able to purchase two handguns.

    Wether he went for a concealed carry permits is irrelevent, and just another blip in the static. Feel free to chase your tails around about that.

    Killers like this are going to get guns as long as guns are manufactured, legally, or illegaly. It does not matter. You could argue that guns made it easier to kill, and you could argue that the Virginia system fell down, and he was able to purchase the guns legally, you have all that on the one hand, and on the other, the fact that he would kill wether it was with a gun, a fertilizer bomb, or mail bomb. The arguement shouldn’t be about guns, conceal carry permits, or his manifesto, this is all static. All these arguements will only serve to limit others’ individual freedoms.

    This fellow was no different than a Kleibold, Harris, Kinkle, or any other of the school shooters. As much as the right wing blogs want to make him a convert to islam, he is just a poor lonely sap who thought he could change the world by shooting it up.

  25. I’m not sure the rejoinder “he could have simply gotten the gun illegal” applies in this case.

    The ability to navigate through a gray/black market requires a certain level of social skills I’m not sure Cho has at this point.

  26. “I am wondering why somebody who was committed as an imminent threat to himself and others was able to purchase two handguns.”

    It would depend on whether he had been involuntarily committed or legally declared incompetent.

    Just being referred to a counselor won’t do it.

  27. clone12:

    I’ve got to agree with you. I would have no idea how to go about purchasing an illegal gun and I have friends. If he’d tried just going up to some shady looking guy and asked him to get him a gun, there’s a strong possibility that the whistle would have been blown.

  28. I haven’t tried, but couldn’t one find an illegal gun (or someone who sells them) fairly easily on the internet? Using the internet doesn’t require social skills…

    Plus, not every homicidal maniac is as socially unskilled as Cho, and may very well be able to get an illegal gun. How did the guy that went on a rampage at that school in Germany get a gun?

  29. Just for reference, currently:

    38 states are shall-issue concealed carry.
    2 states (Alaska, Vermont) don’t require a license to carry.
    2 states (Wisconsin, Illinois) prohibit concealed carry.
    8 states are discretionary.

    I had a couple in a CHL class who moved to Texas from a discretionary state. They had both applied for licenses there. After all the paperwork, training, fees, etc. the county officials approved his license and disapproved hers. She didn’t “need” a license, because he had one and could protect her.

  30. LarryA: thanks for posting (below) about “packing.org”. That’s an interesting site!

    (grin. although I don’t know what you’re signaling by that. grin)

  31. The ability to navigate through a gray/black market requires a certain level of social skills I’m not sure Cho has at this point.

    Well, not at this point, no. He’s probably not feeling up to doing much of anything these days.

  32. Just one nit pick: Californian doesn’t require a license to purchase, like the other states mentioned.

  33. To the person that doesn’t know how easy it is to obtain a gun illegally:

    1. Hop on Craigslist.com or any other similar site.

    2. Go to “wanted” section and make a post titled “gun wanted”.

    3. Sit back, watch the emails roll in and ignore those that disclose a background check, etc, is required.

  34. Jacob,

    You’re close to being right about the relative difficulty in getting a pistol permit in different parts of NYS. Note that you need a permit to even have a handgun in your own home, so a mere pistol permit != concealed-carry license. In NYC it’s pretty much impossible to get even a home-use pistol permit, unless you’re Mafia, a celebrity, or otherwise extremely well-connected politically.

    In rural areas upstate, it’s generally easier, though it does take a few months. However, in upstate cities (Buffalo, Roch, Syracuse, Albany), your chances are not so good, and it’s likely that if you do get a permit it will only be valid for possessing a handgun inside your home (ie, not a CCL at all).

    Though a lot of this depends on the whim of your local sheriff, as one would expect in a may-issue state.

  35. Handguns on Britain’s black market go for less than comparable models do at a Texas gun shop.

    I’m surprised to read that. Waddaya know.

    Pawnshops are FFL dealers. They follow exactly the same firearm purchase rules that gun stores do.

    I never said otherwise. They carry used guns, usually from your lower-end manufacturers, which means if you need a heater cheap, they’re a good place to start.

  36. crimethink,

    Maybe I’m biased because my ancestors are from Burlington, but I’ve never understood why someone would live in upstate NY instead of just going to PA or Vermont.

  37. Interesting: http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/04/18/commentary.plate/index.html

    Tom Plate, former editor of the editorial pages of the LA Times opines, Ted Nugent responds.

  38. “3. Sit back, watch the emails roll in and ignore those that disclose a background check, etc, is required.”

    Jimmy-

    In some states private-party transfers of firearms are still completely legal.

  39. Craigslist’s TOS actually bans any and all mention of guns in ads.

    I screwed them over by buying some guns through a couple posts anyway. You just have to choose words that the non-initiated are unaware of.

    Mind you, it’s not illegal at all for me to buy these, just Craigslists stupid rules, and the stupid administrators that delete any ad with the word gun or pistol in it.

  40. ellipsis – Craigslist was just an example, but you could place a wanted ad anywhere and receive several offers.

    mediageek – I completely understand what you’re saying. I simply meant that you can easily obtain guns illegally via wanted ads.

  41. “”The last time a bought a pistol in MA I went through a license check, background check and fingerprint scan. I also had to buy an axe a few days later. I was able to buy this ridiculously lethal weapon with cash on the spot despite my delibrate attempts to make the clerk think I was a little unbalanced…buying an axe, rope and a plastic tarp together with specifying that the axe needed to have a long handle and a sharp blade will do that.”””

    Should of asked them if it’s sharp enought to cut bone. I bet you would have got a funny look over that one.

    “””In NYC it’s pretty much impossible to get even a home-use pistol permit, unless you’re Mafia, a celebrity, or otherwise extremely well-connected politically.”””

    I’d bet the Mafia’s guns aren’t legal, and many of the celeberities for that matter. I agree, gun laws are tougher for the NYC area than NYS.

    I use to work with someone who had a .22 and a target permit. He said they told him when he got the permit that the only places he could carry his gun (in a locked case), was his house, the range, and only the roads necessary to get from one to the other. I imagine it’s the same with a home permit. If you take it off your property, in some cases that’s your front door. Your arrested and serving a 3 1/2 years in prison, mandatory. I had no idea they moved it from the 1 year mandatory to the 3 1/2 years but I’ve been seeing the ads in the subway recently.

  42. “This kid never would have gotten a gun in New York, New Jersey or any state that does that in a million years,” Mr. Everitt [a spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence] said. “There’s just no way.”

    Gee I wonder how all those bank robbers, muggers, car jackers, gang bangers and drug dealers in New York got their guns? I rather doubt they “vetted” by the police department.

    Criminals don’t obey the law. That’s why they’re called criminals.

  43. ellipsis,

    For the same reason vultures are attracted to dead elephants. Rochester used to be a wealthy city and hasn’t completely decayed yet.

    And then there’s the fact that I’m here already, and distaste for this area hasn’t yet overcome my inertia.

  44. Chris Monnier,

    Hence the “in this case” as a qualifier.

    As an aside, part of the “gun-as-deterrence” argument rests on the assumption that the assailant is a rational, reward maximizing criminal who does an implicit cost/benefit analysis of robbing someone net of the expected negative utility of getting shot.

    My sense is that this rational, utility-maximizing incentive process probably does not describe Cho in any realistic fashion. Cho was less criminal than an affliction. You may be able to limit the extent of his damage (I have my own doubts), but I doubt more guns would have prevented this particular rampage altogether.

  45. “””but I doubt more guns would have prevented this particular rampage altogether.”””

    Maybe, maybe not. Cho could have still fired off some shots, but not many before someone else would shoot him.

    I assure you, if I was armed and Cho broke into my classroom and started shooting, he wouldn’t have shot more than 3 times. Unless he killed me with one of those three.

    It usually takes a gun to put a guy with a gun down.

  46. “Usually” is the operative word.

    From my reading, it appears that Cho committed suicide as soon as he came into contact with the police. This indicates that he planned to kill himself after his rampage regardless.

    It’s also possible that in a university created in Ted Nugent’s image, he would have simply struck a dorm full of sleeping gun-wielding students in the 4AM in the morning, in which case the raw number of guns existing might have reduced the number of killing but probably not deter it at all.

    Again, the deterrence theory of guns assumes in good part the rationality and the self-preservation instinct of the assailant, which in this case is obviously non-existent.

  47. “Aww fuck can’t get a gun at the store…Oh well killing spree off.”

    It might have discouraged him from using a gun at least. While I know that there are lots of illegal guns out there, I wouldn’t know how to go about buying a gun in any place other than a store or a gun show. Could have been the same for Cho.

    Don’t take this as anti-gun rights statement. Just being an intellectually-honest libertarian.

  48. Dang it. Somebody already made that point. That’s what I get for not reading before commenting.

  49. When I bought my most recent handgun, I had to answer a questionnare (sp) which asked whether I was in need of or have received phyciatric treatment. If VAs system has a similar setup, then this guy made his purchase illegally. – sage

    I wish someone with some expertise would clear this up. I don’t think Virginia’s rules were that strict. We know that Cho did not have restraining orders filed on him for his stalky behavior, so he wouldn’t have been disqualified on that account. His referral by school authorities to the police led to a “temporary detenion order” by a magistrate, but…

    After the December 2005 psychological examination of Cho, a special justice in Montgomery County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court found that Cho presented “an imminent danger to himself as a result of mental illness,” but that he “the alternatives to involuntary hospitalization and treatment were investigated and were deemed suitable.”

    Cho was ordered by Paul M. Barnett, a special justice in Christiansburg, to receive outpatient treatment. – Richmond Times-Dispatch

    So he wasn’t actually committed, was he, though he seems to have blown off the court-ordered counseling. Was the order he was under sufficient to disqualify him from buying a pistol under Brady, some other federal statute, or a parallel law of the Commonwealth? I think I’d be OK with someone like that being barred until and unless he fulfilled the terms of the order, or it was vacated. If someone in the same situation (minus the killing spree) had been charged with lying on his application, would he necessarily have been convicted?

    I imagine that some of the various states may have restrictions tighter than the Federal process on this question. Some of the articles I’ve read mention that involuntary commitment is often staved off by getting family or friends to convince the troubled soul to agree to treatment, and even a voluntary stay in a hospital. Would someone who did that have to answer “Yes” on the Federal form to the relevant question? What about someone who agreed to be observed, and is then given a clean bill by his doctors? Do we want a system where someone who is on the borderline refuses in-patient treatment, in order to avoid closing off his option ever to own a handgun?

    Kevin

  50. I believe it was Ali G who suggested that you could stop suicide bombers if the laws against it were more strict.

  51. When I bought my most recent handgun, I had to answer a questionnaire (sp) which asked whether I was in need of or have received psychiatric treatment. If VAs system has a similar setup, then this guy made his purchase illegally. – sage

    I wish someone with some expertise would clear this up. I don’t think Virginia’s rules were that strict.

    Sage didn’t specify which state, and the rules vary widely. AFAIK Virginia has a standard background check with the Federal BATF Form 4473, plus a one-gun-a-month law.

    The pertinent question reads:
    f. Have you ever been adjudicated mentally defective (which includes having been adjudicated incompetent to manage your own affairs) or have you ever been committed to a mental institution? (Emphasis in original.)

    Note this is the procedure for purchase from a FFL (Federally-licensed dealer.) In most states individuals can sell firearms to other individuals from the same state without a background check.

  52. LarryA (and others):

    Cho got both guns from a licensed dealer, which means he would have had to answer the question about mental competence or commitment “No,” twice. Based on what he went through in the VA court system, did he lie or fudge the facts or was he technically telling the truth?

    Kevin

  53. When it comes to buying a handgun, Virginians have to pass a background check, but they don’t need a license.

    I say again, as a Tennesseeian buying a FREAKING SHOTGUN in VA, I had to wait the full 3 busness days to be “cleared” and I have never been accused of a felony.

  54. New info: lots of MSM jabber about the Brady Bill because Cho purchased 10 round magazines on eBay.

    You know, the maximum size the Brady Bill restricted magazines down to, but Cho bought them without the Brady Bill being in force any more.

    We need a word for this sort of reporting. You know, saying you want a law to make someone do what they already did?

  55. I was listening to Friday’s NewsHour on PBS, and Dave Kopel seems to have answered my question.

    DAVE KOPEL, The Independence Institute: Well, let’s take a look at the statute. I think, actually, the federal law was clear enough in this case, but the problem was that, as in lots of cases, the law didn’t get properly enforced.

    The Federal Gun Control Act, ever since 1968, has prohibited the possession by a person or the sale to a person who is what they call mentally defective. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms wrote a regulation, and that regulation says that that category includes a person who has been found by some kind of official body to be a danger to himself or others.

    Cho was found to be a danger to himself or others when he was brought before a magistrate. The magistrate had the option to commit him but found that less restrictive treatment, the outpatient treatment, would be sufficient. Yet even though he wasn’t committed, that’s sufficient under federal law to bar him for the rest of his life from ever possessing a firearm.

    And, in fact, there’s a case from the federal district court of Michigan, U.S. v. Vertz, that finds exactly that, that, in a very similar situation, the Federal Gun Control Act did apply and prohibited the person from having a gun.

    Now, clearly it would be very helpful if these regulations were better known and disseminated more broadly to the mental health community and to the judges and magistrates who may make these commitments or determinations about a person’s danger so that this information does get reported.

    So, had the current regulatory regime put Cho’s name in the database after the magistrate’s ruling, no licensed dealer should have sold to him. The court screwed up by not reporting to the database.

    Kevin

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