Gun qualifications possibly changed
POSTED: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 - 5:09pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 - 4:16am
Since 1993, you’ve had to fill out a form and pass a background check to make sure you are legally allowed to own a gun.
KETK found though, there’s only so much they can check.
With the passage of the so-called Brady Law in the early nineties, a federally licensed gun dealer is required to call the FBI to make sure you aren’t wanted, on parole, an ex-con , a fugitive, an illegal alien, or mentally defective before he can sell you a gun.
The form you fill out there in the store, makes you swear none of these things apply to you.
But it turns out, the one thing no one knows is if you are mentally disturbed.
It’s virtually the honor system.
That’s why Jared Loughner was able to walk into a store in Tucson and buy the gun he used to kill six people and wound 13 including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
And now Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy of New York, has introduced legislation to expand the definition of mental incompetence.
She wants anyone who at any time was forced into treatment for mental problems, or made to take medication for emotional issues to be on the list.
But, there is no list.
Mac Woods of the Shootist Gun Shop tells KETK mental health information just isn’t available.
Nor is it likely to be.
“No, it doesn’t matter how they redefine mental health,” he says, “because right now there’s no mechanism in the FBI background check to explore someone’s mental health. It wouldn’t make any difference what the definition might be or might not be. It’s very heavily protected by the American Mental Health Associations and so forth and I don’t really see them budging on that a bit.”
So it is left to the discretion of the firearms dealer to determine if the next Jared Loughner is too unbalanced to purchase a firearm.
“If I feel badly about them,” Woods told us. “If I’m concerned about their mental health status or any part of their status, then I’m not going to sell them the firearm.”
Now, Woods told KETK that he is ardently pro-second amendment, but says that the medical profession’s lobby is going to have to be overcome if a meaningful check on mental competence can be made.