In the WTF department of today's gun control dialogue, the state of Georgia may come out as the leader of the pack when it comes to crazy:
(AP) -- While some states
push to tighten gun control laws after the Connecticut school massacre,
lawmakers in gun-friendly Georgia want to ease rules preventing some mentally
ill people from getting licenses to carry firearms.
"Simply being hospitalized doesn't make a person a criminal or a threat," said Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, the bill sponsor, in a statement. The legislation now heads to the state Senate.
But we can rest easy that as Georgia goes, does NOT go the rest of
Three senators potentially facing tough re-election challenges next year introduced NRA-endorsed legislation Wednesday that would bar more people from buying guns due to mental illness.
At the head of
the gun control debate, Sen. Lindsey Graham from neighboring South Carolina,
has noted that he owns an AR-15, opposes most gun control legislation, but stops
when it comes to matters of the mentally ill.
"We need to fix this major flaw in the system," Graham told reporters Wednesday. "There are lot of emotion around the gun violence issue, but I am hopeful this is one area where we can find tremendous bipartisan support to fix what I think is a gaping gap in our law."
Even the NRA
endorsed the measure.
So why is Georgia so dead set on giving guns to potentially dangerous people? Possibly because the mentally ill issues is only part of the larger scheme of the Georgia gun debate: the overall plan of mastermind organization GeorgiaCarry.org would allow guns to be carried in churches, bars and college campuses. However, the mix of alcohol, sex and immaturity, as one state representative put it, creates a worrying piece of legislation.
The Five-Year Rule
The National Council of State Legislatures has the breakdown on state and federal laws concerning possession of firearms by the mentally ill. Some state laws state that a five-year rule applies:
[District of Columbia] Section 7-2502.03 requires that the Chief [of police] confirm that the applicant:
- Within the 5 years immediately preceding the application, has not been acquitted of any criminal charge by reason of insanity or has not been adjudicated a chronic alcoholic by any court;
- Within the 5 years immediately preceding the application, has not been voluntarily or involuntarily committed to any mental hospital or institution. (DC)
Ironically, it's the gun-lovin' state of Texas that has the most specific rules determining gun possession fitness, covering everything from bipolar disorder to "antisocial personality disorder" - the latter which could include a substantial portion of the state.*
The Federal law is less specific:
Under 18 U.S.C. - 922(d), it is unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person "has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution."
Possibly the scariest part of the Georgia situation is the organization GeorgiaCarry.org. It's contentious website is headed with: "The Leader In The Fight To Reclaim And Expand Our Right To Bear Arms." It further proclaims its distrust in politicians who have not voted to put firearms into the hands of every two-year-old in Georgia:
We are not interested in "access" or being "inside players." We will not protect or make excuses for politicians who say they are our "friends" and then demonstrate otherwise by voting against us.
Some Right-wing leaders have whispered "Civil War" over the issue of gun control, while GeorgiaCarry.org fairly screams it: it wants absolutely everyone carrying a gun no matter who they are. Adam Lanza could have walked into the organization and asked for anything he wanted - and get it, no questions asked.
So could Jared Loughner, and James Holmes.
* The secessionist-possible state seems to dislike anyone who is not a Texan these days.