And Gabby Giffords would not have taken a bullet to the head.
In a fit of rage the CEO of a weapons training company, angered by the potential confiscation of American guns, posted a Youtube video in which he threatened to kill people:
The head of firearms training company who took to YouTube and Facebook this week to threaten a murderous response to any attempt on the Obama administration’s part to “ban assault rifles and impose stricter gun control” has had his handgun carry permit suspended by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security for presenting “material likelihood of risk of harm to the public.”
James Yeager, CEO of Tactical Response, appeared in a video this Wednesday, in which he seemed pretty damn sincere about his intention to “start killing people” over gun control.
In the video, since removed but preserved elsewhere, Yeager claims “Vice President [Joe] Biden is asking the president to bypass Congress and use executive privilege, executive order to ban assault rifles and to impose stricter gun control.”
Subsequently, his gun permit was revoked:
In its statement concerning the rescinding of Yeager’s handgun permit, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security said Yeager’s comments “were irresponsible, dangerous, and deserved our immediate attention.”
“The number one priority for our department is to ensure the public’s safety,” writes Commissioner Bill Gibbons.
It reminds us that someone else posted YouTube videos:
In a series of YouTube videos, a person identifying himself as Jared Lee Loughner complains about government mind control, treasonous laws, illiterate dreamers and the U.S. currency.
“The government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar,” the person wrote in one of the videos, which contain music and white text on a black background.
“No! I won’t pay debt with a currency that’s not backed by gold and silver. No, I won’t trust in God.”
The postings describe no coherent political ideology, said Mark Potok, an investigator with the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks violent extremists. Loughner was not in the Center’s database of hate groups and radicals.
“He certainly sounds like he’s gone off the deep end, but at the same time, he is mouthing some rhetoric that is quite reminiscent of the anti-government movement … It’s hard to know what to make of his ideology.”
Jared Loughner had mental problems and it was no secret:
The best-known evidence of Loughner’s mental issues comes from Pima Community College, where he was suspended last year apparently because of mental problems. The college informed him that he could return only if he obtained “a mental health clearance indicating that, in the opinion of a mental health professional, his presence at the college does not present a danger to himself or others.”
Dupnik, the local Sheriff, was more than acquainted with Loughner:
“All I can tell you is that this person may have a mental issue,”
Dupnik said there had been earlier contact between Loughner and law enforcement after he had made death threats, although they had not been against Giffords. He said the authorities believe he may not have been working alone.
Loughner, 22, who is in law enforcement custody, lives near the scene of the shooting, which killed six people and injured at least a dozen others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said there’s reason to believe Loughner has “a mental issue” and described him as “unhinged.” Dupnik said he believed Giffords was the target of the attack.
“As we understand it, there have been law enforcement contacts with the individual where he made threats to kill,” Dupnik said during a press conference Saturday evening. But he wouldn’t say who those threats were aimed at.
In September, after Mr. Loughner had an outburst over a biology grade that left his instructor “visibly upset,” one officer wrote, Mr. Loughner’s “head was constantly tilted to the left and his eyes were jittery and looking up and to the left.”
Another officer called to the scene wrote, “By taking the extra time through repeated explanation I was eventually able to communicate with Mr. Loughner that his actions in the classroom were disruptive and not permitted,” adding, “It was clear that he was unable to fully understand his actions.”
Death threats. Unhinged. What the hell was Dupnik thinking? These are crimes. Aren’t they enough to put someone on the prohibited list? Perhaps not.
Persons subject to prohibition
Sections 922(g) and (n) of the Gun Control Act prohibits certain persons from shipping or transporting any firearm in interstate or foreign commerce, or receiving any firearm which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce, or possessing any firearm in or affecting commerce. These prohibitions apply to any person who:
Has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year
Is under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year
Is a fugitive from justice
Is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance
Has been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution
Is illegally or unlawfully in the United States
Has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions
Having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced U.S. citizenship
Is subject to a court order that restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of such intimate partner
Has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence
Making death threats in Pima county netted a year’s probation for a man making death threats.
That’s not enough to to be placed on the prohibited list, but had Dupnik arrested Loughner for making death threats it’s extremely likely he would have been found mentally incompetent to stand trial, which is precisely what happened.
And that should have gotten Loughner on the NICS prohibited list. It has been speculated that Loughner got to skate because his mother worked for Pima County and may have personally known Sheriff Dupnik.
Gabby Giffords got to address Jared Loughner at his sentencing. She should also have thanked Sheriff Clarence Dupnik for his contribution to the tragedy. Dupnik might as well have put the gun in Loughner’s hand that day. The system is only as good as the people in it.
Mental illness and weapons is an issue that has to be taken seriously. It’d be crazy not to.