Article: Va. Tech father: Pass better gun laws


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nwilliams
June 19, 2007, 02:44 PM
Just came across another article I figured I'd share it.


Va. Tech father: Pass better gun laws

By KRISTEN GELINEAU, Associated Press Writer Mon Jun 18, 9:49 PM ET

RICHMOND, Va. - The father of one of the Virginia Tech shooting victims asked state lawmakers Monday to pass better gun laws and close the legal loopholes that allowed a student gunman to skirt Virginia's mental health system.

The legislative committee focused on gunman Seung-Hui Cho, who was ordered to undergo outpatient mental health treatment in December 2005. It was unclear whether he ever received treatment up to the April 16 shootings in which he killed 27 students and five faculty members before committing suicide.

"More sensible gun legislation must be passed in coordination with the mental health issues this panel will address," Joseph Samaha, father of slain student Reema Samaha, told the committee. "It's time that you become responsive and proactive, not reactive, on legislation that will close the loopholes."

Cho was involuntarily sent to Carilion St. Albans Behavioral Center for an overnight stay and mental evaluation in December 2005 after police received a report that he was suicidal. A special justice found him to be a danger to himself, but not to others, and ordered him to receive outpatient treatment.

Cho made an appointment with Virginia Tech's Cook Counseling Center, but there was no indication that he received treatment.

In April, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine signed an executive order intended to close the loophole that allowed Cho to purchase the guns he used. Kaine's order compels anyone ordered by a court to get mental health treatment be added to a state police database of people barred from buying guns.

Before that, only people who were committed to inpatient mental hospitals were entered into the database that licensed firearms dealers use to run instant background checks on prospective buyers.

The main topic Monday was on who ensures that people ordered to receive involuntary mental health treatment actually get it. Legal and mental health experts walked the committee through the complexities of Virginia's emergency mental health system.

"The code is not clear about the monitoring responsibility," said James Stewart, the state's inspector general for mental health, mental retardation and substance abuse services. "There's a lot of confusion surrounding that part of the code."

Several of the victims' families plan to meet with Kaine on Saturday over being left out of the governor's panel investigating the tragedy. Last week, families at the panel's meeting said they felt ostracized because they have no representative.

Panel Chairman W. Gerald Massengill said then that it is important for the panel to remain objective and not be driven by emotions.

Thomas Fadoul, an attorney working with many of the families, said Monday that the families want an apology for any notion that they may be too emotional or unable to ask intelligent questions.

Last week, members of the governor's panel obtained university mental health records of the student gunman after weeks of negotiation with his family.

The families want full and open access to all of Cho's records instead of waiting for his family's consent, Fadoul said.

"Quite frankly, the families don't want to depend on consent by the Cho family for every single thing that they need to find," Fadoul said.
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Associated Press Writer Lubna Takruri in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

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JohnBT
June 19, 2007, 02:53 PM
From this morning's Richmond Times-Dispatch:

"Virginia's mental-health system may be understaffed, underfunded and under fire, but learning to read might help get things pointed in the right direction.

That was the view yesterday from key legislators who told mental-health officials that state laws may not be as murky as some have alleged; nor are they solely to blame for the breakdowns in procedure that allowed troubled Virginia Tech gunman Seung-Hui Cho to slip through the cracks of the state's mental-health system.

After state mental-health Inspector General James W. Stewart III recently spelled out findings about Cho's muddled care in December 2005, some lawmakers said state law simply wasn't being followed. And they recoiled at any notion that state laws leave gray areas about treatment plans and monitoring outpatient care.

"I don't see them as lacking in clarity," said a frustrated Del. Robert B. Bell, R-Charlottesville, referring to code sections that specifically assign responsibility for outpatient-treatment plans to the local mental-health agency. "It seems as clear as day that they are supposed to do something.""

jselvy
June 19, 2007, 02:56 PM
And here we have the opening volley for HR 2640 part II.
From involuntary commitment to any court ordered evaluation. Before you shout me down for being overly paranoid. I think that is exactly what this guy is asking for.

Jefferson

K-Romulus
June 19, 2007, 03:00 PM
I have tried to find out what gun laws this guy would like to see passed. No luck with Google.

Fn-P9
June 19, 2007, 03:06 PM
So if you are a private practice psychologist and you see someone who my be a danger to himself and/or others, do you have to call up the state to say "yeah ol Jim bob here may kill someone"? I wonder what is the exact process the doctor has to go through. Seems almost ridiculous that he has to follow up on his patient by hurting his patient through laws. Seems somewhat counter productive to try and heal someone but keep beating them down by hampering his 2nd amend. and who knows what else.

If you work in the gun industry, get a divorce and feel really depressed, then a anti-gun shrink reports to the law enforcement that you MAY try to kill your self, you get thrown INVOLUNTARILY into a medical evaluation suite; seems that you loose 2nd and prob loose your job. Even if 99.9999% of depression is a thing that comes and goes, especially when 2 people get divorced. Sorry for a run on sentence.:confused:

Henry Bowman
June 19, 2007, 03:07 PM
"More sensible gun legislation must be passed in coordination with the mental health issues this panel will address," Joseph Samaha, father of slain student Reema Samaha, told the committee. "It's time that you become responsive and proactive, not reactive, on legislation that will close the loopholes.""Gun Free Zones" are a loophole in the law that protects evil and/or crazy criminals, and yes it needs to be closed.

In April, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine signed an executive order intended to close the loophole that allowed Cho to purchase the guns he used. Kaine's order compels anyone ordered by a court to get mental health treatment be added to a state police database of people barred from buying guns.


Before that, only people who were committed to inpatient mental hospitals were entered into the database that licensed firearms dealers use to run instant background checks on prospective buyers.Is there any rational reason why any status that would prevent you from buying/owning a firearm should not be applied to buying/operating a motor vehicle? If "for the children" bans were enacted and enforced across the board using the anti-gun logic, it would inconvenience the masses and they might object. "The police will protect us all" makes as much sense as "you can just use public transportation."

JohnBT
June 19, 2007, 03:15 PM
"The father of one of the Virginia Tech shooting victims asked state lawmakers Monday to pass better gun laws and close the legal loopholes that allowed a student gunman to skirt Virginia's mental health system."

Maybe I've read too many local articles and heard too many local broadcasts, but it appears to me that he was addressing the cracks in the mental health system that Cho fell through. I didn't see him addressing gun laws directly - only the mental health system and the fact that the court-ordered treatment didn't keep Cho from acquiring guns. IOW, a breakdown of the system that was supposedly in place.

I know how the posted article reads, but that wasn't how the rest of them came across. They focused on the day's topic - the mental health system.

John

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