Crime Commission taking comments

https://pilotonline.com/news/government/politics/virginia/article_c09c3716-c05e-11e9-b6d9-b7612d31558c.html

I wonder how much consideration those comments get?

This is is what I sent for the Tidewater Libertarian Party

 

Re: Libertarian perspective on firearms law

 

Dear Commissioners:

From our founding documents we know that the primary purpose of government is to secure our rights. That, of course, includes the right to live with a reasonable expectation of safety, but that is not the only right to protect.

 

In the wake of recent mass shootings there have been a number of bills proposed that would curtail our liberties. It is the task of the commission to evaluate those measures as they relate to that duty to protect our rights.

 

The type of firearms we own, the capacity of their magazines and any accessories, such as suppressors, that are attached are simply choices made by a free citizens in a free country. We bear no burden to justifyour choices or prove any need.

 

If someone proposes to limit our choices, it is their burden to demonstrate that such limits are necessary for that reasonable expectation of safety, that the measures they propose will achieve that end, and that there are no alternative measures that will accomplish that end without curtailing my rights. None of the proposed measures meet any part of that burden.

 

As shocking as these random mass shootings are, they average fewer than 50 deaths per year, less that 1/100th of 1% of all homicides. Tragic as they are, they are not a significant cause of death. Remember that firearms are used defensively, mostly without firing a shot, thousands of times for every life lost in these shootings.

 

But, rare as they are, would the proposed measures prevent them? Nearly all of the shooters bought their firearms passing a background check, so subjecting private sales to NICS or VA State Police checks would not have changed anything. Most were carried out with ordinary handguns, and those using AR or AK type semi-automatic rifles could as easily have been carried out with handguns or, worse, shotguns. Keep in mind that repeating shotguns can be reloaded without removing a magazine. Studies by the Rand Corporation, the Institute for Justice and the FBI of past mass shootings have confirmed that magazine size makes little, if any, difference in the outcome. Suppressors have only been used in such shooting once, and experts assure us that they only make gunshots unrecognizable on TV. In short, none of the proposed measures would have accomplished their purpose.

 

There are measures in existing law that could help, without further curtailing rights.

 

The existing NICS database system was designed to keep new firearms out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill. Unfortunately, much disqualifying information never reaches the database. While medical privacy laws prevent reporting by health care professionals, crimes committed by the mentally ill enjoy no such protection. However, school leniency programs and decisions by local prosecutors often result in crimes by the mentally ill not being prosecuted. Simply prosecuting these crimes, and then taking the mental illness into consideration at sentencing and in probation, would get these crimes into the database without violating patient privacy.

 

Remember that Seung Hui Cho had twice been charged with stalking but not prosecuted, instead being counseled by University staff. Had he been prosecuted, he would not have been able to legally buy his firearms and his family would have been aware of his deteriorating mental condition.

 

Further, while lies on the Federal Firearms purchase form, including straw purchases, are felonies, fewer than 1 in 1000 such violations are prosecuted. If EVERY violation were prosecuted, and EVERY case of stalking or other crimes against persons were prosecuted, the NICS database could be very effective without further curtailing anyone’s rights.

 

No new curtailments on our rights are justified while existing laws are not used as intended.

 

Thank you for considering these comments, and please do remember that protection of our rights is your first duty when making your determinations.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Wm. Donald Tabor Jr. DDS writing for the

Tidewater Libertarian Party

5 thoughts on “Crime Commission taking comments

  1. “If EVERY violation were prosecuted, and EVERY case of stalking or other crimes against persons were prosecuted, the NICS database could be very effective without further curtailing anyone’s rights.”

    Sure. If EVERY speeder were apprehended the roads would probably be safer, too.

    You are blaming our current justice system because it cannot control millions of people that have as much access to 330 million firearms awash in the US as you do, but shouldn’t.

    Understandable. Now we need to come up with the money to make it work. Our judicial system is woefully understaffed. The backlogs in the courts is shameful and without plea bargaining and deals, they would grind to a halt. Without sufficient prosecutors and public defenders people are already languishing in jail just awaiting justice with no convictions. Your home state is one of the worst.

    And you expect millions more cases to suddenly be resolved so NICS is more useful?

    Conservatives don’t like to spend money on justice. But that’s another story.

    You complain that too many mentally ill are not prosecuted and given criminal records so they show up on NICS. The jails and prisons are already packed with the mentally ill because we have no other place to put them.

    Again, money rears its ever present head. A healthcare system that is the most expensive in the world and we cannot deal with the mentally ill. Plus our record keeping is abysmal. Administrative paperwork, health records, and, yes, privacy laws are a tangled web so the loopholes, intentional or not, are pervasive.

    You are blaming a system that only a police state could fix. And a system of neighborhood spies like East Germany used to have.

    Yes, we can probably address some of these issues. Local red flag laws, better reporting to NICS, a longer waiting period to check out some blanks or discrepancies. And these seem to gain some traction.

    The irony of your opening paragraph is interesting, however.

    “…the right to live with a reasonable expectation of safety…”. The shoppers in El Paso probably expected that.

    I think that right is more important than most. When you are dead, the right to life, or any right for that matter, is kind of moot.

    I also think that a responsible citizen should have to prove that he is just that. Asking the government to prove he is not, particularly after the fact, is a burden the rest of should not have to bear.

    You have to prove your identity, residence and citizenship via affirmation to exercise your right to vote. You don’t show up at the polls and demand a ballot unless the state proves you are not eligible.

    IMHO

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Whatever happened to ‘if it would save one life?”

    Prosecuting stalkers and domestic abusers would have prevented VA Tech, Parkland, Dayton and many others.

    You keep calling for expanded background checks, but what good is that if the database is neglected.

    That doesn’t mean we have to imprison all of them, for many, probation with adherence to counseling as a condition would be appropriate, as walking away from counseling as Cho and Cruz did would have gotten them locked up.

    And convicting straw purchasers, even if they just get probation, would have them in the database so they could not continue straw purchases.

    DO you want to do something that works or not?

    Like

  3. Of course. I suggest you re-read my comment.

    You are overlooking the gargantuan upgrades needed to do want you want. And the money needed.

    Plus I have held for years that our background checks are cheesecloth.

    So let’s do it. What or who is holding us back?

    You are trying to make reforms without any effort by the law abiding citizen to lift a finger. Unfortunately our country doesn’t work that way.

    Personally I think the gun lobby is happy with the system we have. Even you have touted the infinitesimal number of casualties of random terror almost as a nuisance more than a tragedy. You only do a body count.

    But you forget the wounded, some crippled for life, the traumatized, the families, the children, the friends. Add those up and you have thousands who are affected. And of course the affects on the Americans who are starting to look over their shoulders or avoid crowds or festivals, etc.

    But maybe you are right. 330 million guns is so huge that we might as well give up any serious way of accounting and accountability.

    Don’t want to fund courts, record keeping, legal services, then what we have is what we get.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, we have 330million guns, but less than 1/10th of 1% will be misused.

    We have millions of mentally ill people, but a similarly small share are dangerous.

    The actual problem is small, it’s just identifying them that is hard. But fortunately, most identify themselves by committing certain tell-tale crimes BEFORE killing anyone. So, focusing on those bellwether crimes is the magic bullet.

    Regarding NICS violations, remember that every single on of those is an attempt to get a gun into the hands of someone banned. Some straw purchasers make a living of it buying scores of guns for felons. A conviction for a straw purchase permanently puts them out of business.

    These are things we can do that will help without infringing on the rights of good people.

    Like

  5. Let’s hope that Trump’s DOJ makes prosecuting straw purchasers a to priority. I don’t know why they haven’t so far. It has been 2 1/2 years and lots of casualties.

    And stop plea bargaining.

    Neither one of those will cost much, do you think?

    I think we can find money from the states by having open voting. No registration and all that massive inconvenience to exercise a Constitutional right. After all, those voter rolls are ripe picking for a dictator.

    Just show up and vote, no questions asked.

    But I guess some rights are more equal than others.

    Liked by 2 people

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