Aiming at the real target

Sane approach to gun-related crime is working in South Carolina

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Inanimate objects, including firearms, are incapable of harming people.

Behind every firearm-related crime is the very real face of a human being with a finger on the trigger. So when it comes to controlling gun-related crime, the most effective laws are those designed to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.

In South Carolina, the State Law Enforcement Division is aiming to do just that.

Since making improvements to better share state mental-health information with federal authorities in October, SLED has helped stop 55 attempted gun purchases, and has revoked 65 concealed-weapon permits involving people with mental-health issues.

SLED received $1 million from the Justice Department to improve its data-tracking of people with an involuntary commitment order, which automatically bans them from purchasing a gun or carrying one concealed.

The issue gained attention last year after a 28-year-old woman pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of threatening President Bush and members of Congress in 2005. She attempted to shoot staff members at a private, all-girls school in downtown Charleston, S.C.

Alice Boland purchased the pistol three days before the incident because her mental health reports did not show up on the federal background check. Police say the only thing that kept her from firing was that she did not know how to chamber a round.

There is no foolproof way to keep guns out of the hands of determined criminals and the deranged. Not even a total ban on firearms would do that.

However, improvements in the Palmetto State’s record-sharing process will help ensure that only sane, law-abiding people walk out of a federally licensed firearms dealer with guns.

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myfather15 02/27/14 - 06:52 am
Very fair assessment of the

Very fair assessment of the situation!! Banning firearms will do nothing!! But certainly background checks and mental health assessments should be done and included more thoroughly in the federal datebase.

jimmymac 02/27/14 - 07:38 am

You are so right! concentrate efforts on dealing with felons and people with mental issues and crime will go down.

Riverman1 02/27/14 - 08:54 am
A Few Questions

How is this mental health information gathered? HIPAA regulations seem to preclude health professionals from sharing medical information with others? How would a doctor even know a patient he was treating for emotional problems owned a gun? What level of emotional problem would stop one from having a gun?

harley_52 02/27/14 - 09:22 am
A Few More Questions....

Who has the authority to place someone onto the list? Is it appealable? Once on the list, how (if at all) does one get off the list? Does someone on the list have the ability to appeal and, if so, who has the authority to remove someone from the list? How does this affect sales between private parties? How about gifts and/or bequeathments of firearms between family members?

myfather15 02/27/14 - 10:48 am
I didn't mean mental health

I didn't mean mental health assessment's should be done before ANYONE buys a firearm!! Just read my own comment and I didn't mean to word it that way.

What I was saying is that if someone has been previously treated for serious mental health issues, then there should be some limitations on them purchasing or possessing firerarms.

Harley, I suppose that would be up to the doctor to determine whether the issue was serious enough to prevent one from purchasing or possessing a firearm. So, the doctor would need to be a trusted individual and not some committed left wing nutjob, who wants all firearms banned!! People who are committed involuntarily, under 10-13 forms, are already banned from possessing firearms.

Darby 02/27/14 - 06:13 pm
Control the crazies, control the killings...

No, it won't be perfect, but it's another tool, another "weapon" if you will, in the arsenal available to thinking people to make the Second Amendment work the way it can and should.

Speaking a crazies, just keep the anti-gun nuts as far away as possible and you will have made great strides toward gun (and personal) safety.

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