by David Safier
Friday I participated in a national conference call for bloggers sponsored by Media Matters: "Common sense gun policies in the wake of the Tucson shooting." Featured speakers were Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL 5), Arkadi Gerney from Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and Cliff Schecter, blogger and commentator.
I'm now in the pipeline and receiving news clips and other materials about the push for improving some of the worst lapses in our regulations regarding the sale of guns as well as the counter-offensive by the NRA and others to move toward making guns more easily available and allowing them in more locations.
I'll be posting information in bits and pieces, including a poll from a surprising source which shows NRA members support both criminal background checks at gun shows and reporting lost or stolen guns to police.
During the call, I asked if Jared Loughner would have been stopped from buying a gun in any other states, based on his record of drug use and run-ins with police. Here are the pieces of the answer I received.
- In a few states, like New York, New Jersey and California, police have a discretionary permitting policy, which means they can look into the criminal and employment records of people wanting to buy guns and block the sales if they see red flags.
- In many states, mental health and drug-related reporting is so lax, problems often don't make it into the database who should, allowing them to buy guns. Poorly funded agencies is one of the reasons current gun buying restrictions aren't enforced more effectively.
- Loughner purchased a gun earlier, not the one he used during the shooting. It was less than a year after the military refused him because he admitted to drug use, which should have kept him from purchasing that gun. The one year window had passed by the time he bought the glock.