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Old 03-11-2013, 10:46 PM   #1
bimmerfan08
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California Seizes Guns as Owners Lose Right to Bear Arms

Wearing bulletproof vests and carrying 40-caliber Glock pistols, nine California Justice Department agents assembled outside a ranch-style house in a suburb east of Los Angeles. They were looking for a gun owner who’d recently spent two days in a mental hospital.

They knocked on the door and asked to come in. About 45 minutes later, they came away peacefully with three firearms.

California is the only state that tracks and disarms people with legally registered guns who have lost the right to own them, according to Attorney General Kamala Harris. Almost 20,000 gun owners in the state are prohibited from possessing firearms, including convicted felons, those under a domestic violence restraining order or deemed mental unstable.

“What do we do about the guns that are already in the hands of persons who, by law, are considered too dangerous to possess them?” Harris said in a letter to Vice President Joe Biden after a Connecticut school shooting in December left 26 dead. She recommended that Biden, heading a White House review of gun policy, consider California as a national model.

As many as 200,000 people nationwide may no longer be qualified to own firearms, according to Garen Wintemute, director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis. Other states may lack confiscation programs because they don’t track purchases as closely as California, which requires most weapons sales go through a licensed dealer and be reported.

“Very, very few states have an archive of firearm owners like we have,” said Wintemute, who helped set up the program.

Funding Increase
Harris, a 48-year-old Democrat, has asked California lawmakers to more than the number of agents from the current 33 who seized about 2,000 weapons last year, along with 117,000 rounds of ammunition and 11,000 high-capacity magazines, according to state data.

“We’re not contacting anybody who can legally own a gun,” said John Marsh, a supervising agent who coordinates the sometimes-contentious seizures. “I got called the Antichrist the other day. Every conspiracy theory you’ve heard of, take that times 10.”

The no-gun list is compiled by cross-referencing files on almost 1 million handgun and assault-weapon owners with databases of new criminal records and involuntary mental-health commitments. About 15 to 20 names are added each day, according to the attorney general’s office.

Probable Cause
Merely being in a database of registered gun owners and having a “disqualifying event,” such as a felony conviction or restraining order, isn’t sufficient evidence for a search warrant, Marsh said March 5 during raids in San Bernardino County. So the agents often must talk their way into a residence to look for weapons, he said.

At a house in Fontana, agents were looking for a gun owner with a criminal history of a sex offense, pimping, according to the attorney general’s office. Marsh said that while the woman appeared to be home, they got no answer at the door. Without a warrant, the agents couldn’t enter and had to leave empty- handed.

They had better luck in nearby Upland, where they seized three guns from the home of Lynette Phillips, 48, who’d been hospitalized for mental illness, and her husband, David. One gun was registered to her, two to him.

“The prohibited person can’t have access to a firearm,” regardless of who the registered owner is, said Michelle Gregory, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office.

Involuntarily Held
In an interview as agents inventoried the guns, Lynette Phillips said that while she’d been held involuntarily in a mental hospital in December, the nurse who admitted her had exaggerated the magnitude of her condition.

Todd Smith, chief executive officer of Aurora Charter Oak Hospital in Covina, where documents provided by Phillips show she was treated, didn’t respond to telephone and e-mail requests for comment on the circumstances of the treatment.

Phillips said her husband used the guns for recreation. She didn’t blame the attorney general’s agents for taking the guns based on the information they had, she said.

“I do feel I have every right to purchase a gun,” Phillips said. “I’m not a threat. We’re law-abiding citizens.”

No one was arrested.

“It’s not unusual to not arrest a mental-health person because every county in the state handles those particular cases differently,” Gregory said by e-mail. “Unless there’s an extenuating need to arrest them on the spot, we refer the case” to the local district attorney’s office, she said.

Convicted Felons
Agents more often arrest convicted felons who are prohibited from buying, receiving, owning or possessing a firearm, Gregory said. Violation of the ban is itself a felony.

The state Senate agreed March 7 to expand the seizure program using $24 million in surplus funds from fees that gun dealers charge buyers for background checks.

Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association, a gun lobby that says it has more than 4 million individuals as members, didn’t respond to a request for comment on the program.

Sam Paredes, executive director of the Folsom-based advocacy group Gun Owners of California, praised the program, though not how it is funded.

“We think that crime control instead of gun control is absolutely the way to go,” he said. “The issue we have is funding this program only from resources from law-abiding gun purchasers. This program has a benefit to the entire public and therefore the entire public should be paying through general- fund expenditures, and not just legal gun owners.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-0...tml?cmpid=yhoo
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Old 03-11-2013, 10:47 PM   #2
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At this point, I'm starting to believe democrats are power hungry and will achieve this by stripping away freedoms and compiling laws.
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Old 03-11-2013, 11:53 PM   #3
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At this point, I'm starting to believe democrats are power hungry and will achieve this by stripping away freedoms and compiling laws.
That's what you're supposed to believe.
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Old 03-11-2013, 11:55 PM   #4
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Do you believe that everyone, without question of mental health or criminal history, should be allowed to own a gun? Legitimate question.
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:08 AM   #5
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They did not lose their right to bear arms. They had already given up their right by violation of legal (and to this point, constitutional) statute. If you violate the law, certain restrictions can quite legally and constitutionally be placed on a person's liberties.

If these laws are unconstitutional, as I am sure you would proclaim. Why is it that the NRA has not come to the defense of these gun owners and taken this through the judicial process to overturn these laws as unconstitutional?

Perhaps they are constitutional, and you are just blowing a lot of smoke.
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:34 AM   #6
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I have mixed feelings about this.

What I am certain of is that the govt should pay twice the retail value to him.
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:36 AM   #7
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It's refreshing to see laws being enforced for a change. Good job California
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:45 AM   #8
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Do you believe that everyone, without question of mental health or criminal history, should be allowed to own a gun? Legitimate question.
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They did not lose their right to bear arms. They had already given up their right by violation of legal (and to this point, constitutional) statute. If you violate the law, certain restrictions can quite legally and constitutionally be placed on a person's liberties.

If these laws are unconstitutional, as I am sure you would proclaim. Why is it that the NRA has not come to the defense of these gun owners and taken this through the judicial process to overturn these laws as unconstitutional?

Perhaps they are constitutional, and you are just blowing a lot of smoke.
I'm not entirely against the notion so no. I agree that criminals who have a track record of committing crimes should lose this right. However what defines someone who is mentally unstable enough that they too lose this right? I.e. what's the methodology behind this madness?

Also why are law-abiding firearm owners the ones who have to fund this? Society should contribute as a whole if they want to clean up this mess.

Perhaps auction off the firearms and use that as a partial source for funding.
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:47 AM   #9
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It's refreshing to see laws being enforced for a change. Good job California
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:54 AM   #10
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Criminal record and/or involuntary mental health commitments? Those are the exact people that shouldn't have guns.

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Old 03-12-2013, 08:39 AM   #11
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Violent criminals is a no brainer. I'm curious as to what qualifies as mentally unstable.



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What I am certain of is that the govt should pay twice the retail value to him.
That doesn't seem quite fair to tax payers.
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:51 AM   #12
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Yeah, wouldn't want to deny anyone the right to own guns...





...orrrrrr on the other hand...
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:12 AM   #13
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What constitutes "mentally unstable" and restraining orders a lot of time are unfortunately sometimes frivolous and abused. Conviction of domestic violence would suffice.
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:29 AM   #14
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What's next, a DUI article about California seizing cars as owners lose the right to drive?

There are a set of laws and a process in place to prevent people that have demonstrated they can't/won't behave themselves from buying/owning/having access to guns. Those laws are being enforced. Glad to read about something being done proactively.

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I have mixed feelings about this.

What I am certain of is that the govt should pay twice the retail value to him.
I am certain thats a bad idea.

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What constitutes "mentally unstable" and restraining orders a lot of time are unfortunately sometimes frivolous and abused. Conviction of domestic violence would suffice.
Conviction of domestic violence should suffice.

I think the definition of mentally unstable is probably subjective and the kind of thing thats hard to define at all, never mind draw lines that everyone can agree on. Am sure its no small challenge.
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:47 AM   #15
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For this I give CA a pat on the back.

Still have a gripe over their regulations of plastics sold within the state.
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:09 PM   #16
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Conviction of domestic violence should suffice.

I think the definition of mentally unstable is probably subjective and the kind of thing thats hard to define at all, never mind draw lines that everyone can agree on. Am sure its no small challenge.
Like PK said in regards to mental health, people do not want to be on lists and will try to circumvent any method which may deem them "unstable".
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:39 PM   #17
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Like PK said in regards to mental health, people do not want to be on lists and will try to circumvent any method which may deem them "unstable".


People who would otherwise have sought out help may not. And of all people to encourage to seek help, you'd think it would be the ones who happen to own firearms.

There is no perfect approach. But if the end results (i.e., number of incidents prevented) are similar between the two approaches, then I choose the one that infringes on the least amount of rights.


'Merica.
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:59 PM   #18
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Actually, it is quite difficult to get somebody on an involuntary 72-hour mental-health hold in California. It generally requires the cops to arrest that person on the grounds of clear and present danger. Then they are usually held for 24-48 hours in the local lockup, in case they are tripping on LSD, AngelDust, etc, then two head shrinkers do an eval and if they both agree, then a 72 hold can be done. Its not just some beat cop can say "hey, I don't like the look of that person, so I'm whacking them in on a 720hour psych hold."

You have generally got to be pretty far round the twist to get an involuntary 72-hour psych hold.
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Old 03-12-2013, 03:49 PM   #19
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Actually, it is quite difficult to get somebody on an involuntary 72-hour mental-health hold in California. It generally requires the cops to arrest that person on the grounds of clear and present danger. Then they are usually held for 24-48 hours in the local lockup, in case they are tripping on LSD, AngelDust, etc, then two head shrinkers do an eval and if they both agree, then a 72 hold can be done. Its not just some beat cop can say "hey, I don't like the look of that person, so I'm whacking them in on a 720hour psych hold."

You have generally got to be pretty far round the twist to get an involuntary 72-hour psych hold.
With regards to having your gun ownership/access rights revoked on the basis of mental "instability", is a 72 hour hold some legal standard?
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Old 03-12-2013, 03:49 PM   #20
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what? No posts yet from JJ, or resident e46 OT gun and gun law guru?

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