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VT Killer "legally" purchased pistols? Maybe not...

Discussion in 'Legal' started by FW, Apr 19, 2007.

  1. FW

    FW Well-Known Member

    Perhaps I've interpreted this wrong, but I haven't noticed anyone else question it yet.

    All the news sources have claimed Seung-Hui Cho "legally" purchase firearms. Of course this is also being used as reasoning to call more restrictions.

    According to ABC news http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=3052278&page=1

    It seems ATF form 4473 question 12f might possibly have made his purchase not legal, although it could be questionable.

    Any thoughts on this?
  2. average_shooter

    average_shooter Well-Known Member

    In one of the interviews I saw with the shop owner this issue was brought up. Essentially the shop owner said Cho lied on the form and it was up to the FBI and state agencies to deny the sale, the shop had none of that information, just a proceed or deny from the NICS.

    He, the shop owner, went on to state, or ask, Cho broke how many laws? And we already have over 20,000 gun laws on the books, what good would one more do when this guy was intent on comitting murder?
  3. Rem700SD

    Rem700SD Well-Known Member

    From what I've read, and this is splitting hairs, is that he was under a court order to see a psychiatrist. He was not declared legally incompetent that I've read, and he was not ADMITTED to the facility. He underwent OUTPATIENT treatment.
    I believe the specific disqualifier is being involuntarilly admitted (court order) to a psychiatric facility. ( I don't have a yellow sheet in front of me.)

    So while in the spirit of the law he should not have been anywhere outside of a rubber room, technically he was still eligible for purchase.

    The rumoured arson case should have been a disqualifier if it was prosecuted properly, as well.

  4. Rob G

    Rob G Well-Known Member

    From what I've heard it looks like this guy had a history of mental illness, stalking, and several other things that should have disqualified him from purchasing a gun. Unfortunately these things were never properly reported and handled in a way that would have created the necessary records to flag a background check. Basically the same type of people who hate guns and wanted these laws then failed to report someone who clearly shouldn't have owned one (probably because they were trying to be "gently" and "understanding" with him) thereby negating the laws and making it possible for him to still buy one. :banghead:
  5. Caimlas

    Caimlas Well-Known Member

    Wow. Just wow. The level of incompetence at every single level throughout this affair is astounding. No, it's magnificent. No... I lack sufficiently succinct verbiage of a non-colorful nature to describe this. The FBI, ATF, local LEOs, campus security, news organizations, faculty and students, the school president and his office - and on down the line - screwed the pooch. It's almost like everyone involved was willfully making the wrong decision every time something was presented to them. Either that, or Cho played th system like a pro for optimal affect. The whole system was set up for failure, at almost every level but the state (legislation allowing firearms, which were then forbidden by the campus).

    As for the NICS check? I wouldn't be surprised if they did it willfully, knowing a bit about how the ATF operates. Let one slip through the cracks, just so the antis can say, "look, see! the system is broken! we need more control!"

    And what was with the serial number on hsi glock supposedly getting filed off? Why would he do that, particularly if he's going to off himself? It makes no damn sense!

    I kind of ramble on about this a bit here: There's something suspicious about the shooting events at Virginia Tech
  6. Bubbles

    Bubbles Well-Known Member

    In Virginia you are DQ's from purchasing a handgun if you have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution. This is a court hearing w/ a judge, attorney for the Commonwealth, and defense attorney for the person being committed. It has a fairly high standard of evidence. These proceedings are available to VCIN/NICS.

    Cho's case was a bit different. According to news reports he voluntarily elected to seek treatment. What can happen is that in cases where someone hasn't committed a felony but a friend or family member is worried, the person can go before a judge and a case made. The person has the option - voluntarily commit yourself, or the judge/court will do it for you (involuntary commitment). Cho also wasn't committed, he was "temporarily held for observation", which also isn't a DQ'ing event.

    There was a bill introduced in the VA legislature a few years back that would have DQ's anyone admitted voluntarily from purchasing a firearm. A lot of mental health professionals spoke out against it b/c they were worried that people would not seek treatment for problems if they thought that they would lose their rights because of it. The bill died in committee.
  7. halvey

    halvey Well-Known Member

    I highly doubt that.

    Your tinfoil hat isn't helping much is it?
  8. John Hicks

    John Hicks Well-Known Member

    I hate to say it, but I'd be a big fan of tightening this part of the law.

    Any court-ordered therapy is a disqualifier. Just like any court-ordered anti-stalking (i.e. restraining order) is a disqualifier.

    It would have to come with some sort of framework for reinstatement (or sunset) of the red flag. This would be to prevent someone with a curable illness (like severe depression) from having their rights permanently taken away.

    Still processing the ideas in my head. Once I come up with one that sticks . . .

  9. ElZorro

    ElZorro Active Member

    Bubbles; Have you tried to contact Phil VanCleave?

    I'd sure like to get his take on this thing. He's generally right on top of this sort of thing; or anything to do with RKBA.

  10. Regen

    Regen Well-Known Member

    Bubbles -

    If his trip to the hospital was voluntarily, why was there a court proceeding? If you go to a hospital emergency room and tell them that you are depressed and fell you are a danger to yourself or others, they are going to hold you for observation in a pysch ward. No need to go to a judge. The judge getting involved indicates that someone thought he was a danger to himself and/or others. If he was in the hospital already for observation, they could have kept him for a short period of time without involving the courts. (In NY I think it is 72 hours, I don't know about VA)
  11. Risasi

    Risasi Well-Known Member


    I do believe in MK Ultra, the orchestration of events by our governement, and other .gov's. To further solidify their strength, and weaken the rights of the common people.

    However I think you identified the key points. Gross incompetence, and lack of enforcement of current laws. And I am a very firm believer in lack of diligence, and general sloth and laziness, by government and non-government alike.

    Now could "they" have known ahead of time this kid was going to snap? Sure, perhaps "they" did. But I do not believe there was some vast right/left wing conspiracy to pass more gun laws. More likely though, other than a few teachers nobody gave a rip about doing their jobs. Or their hands were tied by other stupid laws, that prevented them from getting this guy off of the street.

    Just FYI; As it stands right now at the federal level they could declare some national emergency, call FEMA in, kick in martial law. They have internment camps, they could lock down travel. They could force a national ID on the populace. They could disarm the populace. All these contingencies have already been prepared ahead of time. They don't do it because it would be a HUGE logistics problem. They CAN'T do it right now. We are unmanageable. We are not yet sheepish enough. So those who would rule over us do not push that agenda at this time. Rather they chip away here and there at the rights of the common man. You would do well to focus on those issues instead.
  12. Onmilo

    Onmilo Well-Known Member

    In the State of Illinois if you are going through a divorce and your spouce's attorney files an order of protection against you, and most do as a matter of course AND they don't have to tell you the order of protection has been filed, You cannot buy a gun because the O.O.P. will show up when the background check is called in and you will be denied.

    After the divorce is settled the O.O.P.s are removed but you must go to the courthouse and file documents showing that to be true before the refusal is rebuked and you are legally allowed to purchase again.

    The shop I work for has had several denials for just this reason.

    If any Laws were broken during the transaction they were broken by the perpetrator for not answering the question on the Form 4473 truthfully.
  13. mbt2001

    mbt2001 Well-Known Member

    I dunno... This whole "stalking" case that they are bringing up... He sent some text messages and went to see girls he chatted with. No, I don't know if that is "stalking", but it certainly doesn't seem like that those girls were in any real danger or that there was anything really untoward going on.

    I mean, pointing at stuff in hindsight is always a mistake. There is a tendancy to try to build profiles, and strategies based around the wrong things and ignore the real lessons.

    Obviously, they should have locked down the campus after the first shooting. Further to that, if they are banning guns from college, they need to ensure that guns are not getting into the school OR they need to let students and professors be allowed to carry. It is that simple.

    I haven't heard anyone speak about how VT dropped the ball on ensuring that there were not guns on campus.
  14. Harry Tuttle

    Harry Tuttle Well-Known Member

    According to his english professor, he was taking pictures of girls in his classes from under his desk and several refused to attend class after that.

    It seems to me he should have been shown some "peer intolerance" behind the woodshed, but no, in this enlightened era, we need to respect other's frailties.
  15. John Hicks

    John Hicks Well-Known Member

    Silly. They had a "RULE". And everyone follows the rules, so no need for enforcement. :rolleyes:

    It's been beaten to death, but this really is an example of why laws don't stop criminals. If they want to do it, it's gonna happen.

  16. Lobotomy Boy

    Lobotomy Boy Well-Known Member

    It seems plausible that someone at some point could have had legitimate reasons to obtain a restraining order against Cho. Had that happened, the current system might have been effective in denying him access to guns.

    That brings up the possibility of obtaining guns illegally. I don't have a clue about how this is done, since I have no problem obtaining guns legally, but from what I've seen here in the Minneapolis metro area, it seems to be a fairly easy process. At least it seems to be an easy process for young black males involved in gang culture. It is not so easy for law-abiding citizens without contacts in the criminal community.

    So why is it that the anti-gun crowd shrieks like raped peahens for more gun laws at a time like this, laws that only affect law-abiding citizens who, because they abide by the law, are not committing violent crimes, yet they say nothing about the failure to enforce existing laws, such as those intended to keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals and children?
  17. Kaylee

    Kaylee Moderator

    I could maybe agree with that, except for the fact that R.O.s seem to handed out like candy in divorce cases. My father had a boilerplate one slapped on him a couple years back in his divorce, which was kinda wierd given that not only had a cop or judge never even seen him when it was issued, he'd not so much as raised his voice to my mom...

  18. Bubbles

    Bubbles Well-Known Member

    I asked this of a friend whose brother had it happen. He had attempted suicide and his family wanted him to attend therapy after he was released from the hospital. He refused; parents sought a court order since the son was 18 at the time. The parents presented their evidence to the judge, and the judge gave the son two choices: voluntarily attend therapy, or the court would order the son to be involuntarily committed. Basically it's a "last chance" for someone to seek help before the Commonwealth takes over.

    FWIW the son told the judge to FU and he was involuntarily committed.

    From what I understand in the media about Cho's case - and they may have their facts wrong - Cho would have gone through a similar process. If Cho told the judge "no problem, I'll be happy to attend therapy voluntarily" then that would not have been an impediment to him purchasing a firearm under Virginia law.

    As has been pointed out, there were plenty of times that Cho could have been flagged in VCIN/NICS. Certainly a RO from one of his stalking victims, or a prosecution for the arson, would have done it.
  19. MD_Willington

    MD_Willington Well-Known Member

    He lied on the 4473

    I filled one out last night, it asks if you've been committed to an institution...

    Fastest NICS check ever for me to, 5 minutes at the max...
  20. VARifleman

    VARifleman Well-Known Member

    It doesn't take an involuntary commitment to get denied for reason 4 of the GCA. "Adjudicated mentally defective" which includes when a court determines that you are a danger to yourself and/or others.

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