01 May 2007

Virginia We have A Problem

This week, Governor Kaine signed an Executive Order (EO) prohibiting another category of people from owning firearms. Kaine's EO would take away gun rights for life of any person adjudicated dangerous, but only ordered to be treated as an OUTPATIENT. (Anyone who is committed as an inpatient currently loses their gun rights already.)

So, what's the problem?
1. Kaine's action is probably unconstitutional! If Kaine can just issue an Imperial Decree changing existing law without any debate from our elected representatives, why not just disband the General Assembly, if they aren't needed any more? :-(
The proper way to handle a situation like this is for the Governor to call a special session of the General Assembly to address this issue and ask the the General Assembly to modify the law.
2. His EO may appear to be a reasonable restriction because no one wants a violent, insane person to have a gun or any other weapon for that matter.
However, what judge in HIS right mind would allow a person who the judge KNOWS to be a danger to himself or to others to be sent home and allowed to do outpatient treatment?!? The judge should commit himself to inpatient treatment for doing such a thing! That's like sending serial murderer Jeffrey Dahmer back home but requiring him to attend weekly counseling sessions!
If a person is adjudicated dangerous to himself or others, he should be confined, NOT sent home!
So you might ask, why would there be ANY patients who were both dangerous AND ordered to do outpatient treatments?
Because the judge might believe that the person isn't really 'dangerous,' but the judge feels that the person does desperately need mental help and that the person wouldn't seek such help on his own. So the judge declares the person to be 'dangerous' so that the person can be forced to take the outpatient treatment.
Should a person who is not believed to be dangerous by a judge be banned from having guns for the rest of his life?
3. The Governor's edict is retroactive! Thus, if you were treated as an outpatient under a court order thirty years ago and have been fine ever since, you can now no longer BUY, OWN, or POSSESS any firearms.
If you do you can be charged with a federal FELONY!
4. The Governor has falsely promised that gun rights could be restored. NOT true. There is no way to get your name off the federal list once Virginia has added you to it, even if you are now perfectly normal. You will be prohibited by federal law from buying or possessing a firearm for the rest of your life. And you may not even realize you are a 'prohibited' person, so when you attempt to purchase a firearm, you may be shocked when you are arrested for lying on the 4473, which is a FELONY.
5. Once you are on the federal mental defect list, you could lose more than your gun rights. Your security clearance could be at risk.
Your job too.
6. According to the Washington Post, Attorney General McDonnell said, "We are still in a state of mourning, but now is the time for action." What he's really saying is that he's got to do something, anything, to make it look like the government is doing something.
Just another "feel good" measure - and one embraced by Governor Kaine!
And talk about rushing to do something - Kaine JUST APPOINTED a commission to look at the mental health problem and make suggestions, but Kaine didn't even wait for the commission to meet! He just charged forward on his political hobbyhorse!
So how did we get into this situation?
Simple - the Court system failed us by not committing the VT murderer to involuntary treatment. As if that wasn't bad enough, the Governor comes along with a knee-jerk solution and compounds the problem by throwing out a huge net to catch such a very rare person. That huge net brings in all kinds of unintended consequences. And it still won't guarantee more government failures that could lead to more murders and mayhem down the road.
Lest you think I am exaggerating the negative impact that the Governor's actions will have on those who need help, want help, and are willing to seek help, I will share with you an email I just received from one of our brave Armed Forces members.


"I came back [from my tour of duty] last fall. I'm very worried that getting advice, counseling, or treatment could have ramifications on my ability to carry, own, and use firearms. I've been diagnosed with "mild PTSD" [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder] and am very anxious that treatment it is going to put me on some list. I believe I can handle the PTSD, if necessary, but it'd be a whole lot easier if there weren't that Sword of Damocles hanging over my head.
As it is, I'm treating myself based on information from public sources."


I'll be honest - that email tore me up. Just watching the news and seeing what those men and women go through in protecting this country is enough to give ME mild PTSD! I can't even imagine being at war and living through all that our fighting men and women live through.
Yet we put them in a position of being afraid to seek a helping hand in adjusting back to normal, peacetime life!
Is this what those who are suffering from emotional stress and trauma, or have common things like depression, get to look forward to? The additional worry of becoming a second-class citizen, disarmed by their own government for seeking help?
And what about employment? Those in a position to lose their guns unfairly will now also be in a position to lose their security clearances unfairly, too.
For now, VCDL needs to investigate the whole situation and its implications in more detail. We have been talking to the Attorney General's Office, as well as to the aides of House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith and Delegate John Welch.
Things like a temporary injunction come to mind, so that the law can be changed carefully and not in a knee jerk reaction. Letting the General Assembly change the law, if it needs changing at all, in a constitutional way is a necessity, too. ;-)
This alert for now is just a 'heads up.' The implications of what is happening could have grave consequences for a lot of innocent people and we are going to be monitoring the situation carefully.

VA-ALERT is a project of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL).
VCDL is an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization dedicated to defending the human rights of all Virginians. The membership considers the Right to Keep and Bear Arms to be an essential human right.

1 comment:

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