Category Archives: Gun Issues

Protecting Nevada Victims of Domestic Violence and Stalking: We Could Be Doing A Better Job

By almost any common sense standard Ronald E. Haskell should not have had a firearm. By almost any ethical standard he should not have had access to a firearm considering his past behavior towards his ex-wife, and by any moral standard he should not have taken his gun and assassinated six people in Spring, TX, and attempted to murder a seventh. There are three pieces of legislation in Congress which might have prevented this tragedy — and all three are opposed by the National Rifle Association and the gun manufacturers who support it.  [MJ]

It doesn’t do to sit out here in the Nevada sage brush and lament the problems far away in Texas without considering our own situation in regard to domestic violence and gun ownership.

In 2011, 35% of female homicide victims were killed during a domestic violence incident, and firearms accounted for the deaths of 214 women between 2001 and 2010. [CAP pdf] Let’s approach this rationally.

First, do we have a problem with domestic violence in the State?  Figures from the Nevada Department of Public Safety may indicate that we do. The latest general report available online (pdf) shows the number of domestic violence incidents — of all types — increasing during the period from 2000 to 2005.  There were 20,653 DVIs in 2000, followed by 26,417 in 2001. There were 26,691 in 2002 and another 27,915 in 2003.  2004 totals were 29,233 and in 2005 there were 31,247.  Evidently, things didn’t get much better by 2009.

When the Violence Policy Center rated states according to females murdered by males in single victim homicides by rate, Nevada came up #1, with a 2.70, beating out Alabama with a 2.64 rate and Louisiana with a rate of 1.99. [VPC pdf]  The Nevada Legislature took some serious steps to correct the dismal statistics in the early 2000′s in 2007, [DB] and we have seen some improvement.

Happily, by 2011 the Nevada ranking had dropped to 16th with a rating of 1.48. [VPC pdf] The bad news is that this ranking is still in the “Top 20″ nationally. We obviously have room for improvement to reach Illinois at 0.27, Massachusetts at 0.53, and Vermont at 0.36. [VPC pdf]  We do know that during the period 2003 and 2012 there were 221 domestic violence homicides in Nevada and 52.9% of the fatalities were caused by guns. [CAP pdf]  There are some steps we could take to improve our numbers.

What can be done to improve the situation?  As noted many times in this venue, Nevada should have universal background checks to determine if any of the categories of persons who are proscribed from firearm ownership are attempting to purchase weaponry.   The sorry history of S. 221 was most recently discussed here in an article about the Background Check Initiative.  In short, without at least a cursory background check there is little way to determine if the buyer is subject to the restrictions on firearm possession set forth in NRS 33.031 and NRS 33.033.

The permissive language in NRS 33.031 is also a potential loophole through which a miscreant could retain or acquire firearms.  The statute says, “a court MAY include” within an NRS 33.030 extended restraining order the provision that the “adverse party” will surrender firearms, and cannot possess them while the order is in effect.  In order to attach this proviso, the court must decide that the “adverse party” has a (1) documented history of domestic violence, (2) Has used or threatened to use a firearm to injure or harass the applicant, a minor child or any other person, or (3) Has used a firearm in the commission or attempted commission of any crime.  First, it doesn’t appear that this provision can be applied during a temporary restraining order — the first one issued after the violent incident.  Secondly, the firearm surrender requirement is spoken of only in terms of the extended order of protection.  Granted this gives the “adverse party” some representational rights, since the temporary order might not include the presence of our “adverse party,” in court.  However, it also presents some practical issues.

A Nevada Court has one “judicial” day to consider a temporary restraining order of protection, but it has 45 days in the instance of an application for an extended order. [NRS 33.020]  Thus we have a potential circumstance in which a person with a documented history of domestic violence, one who has used or threatened to shoot the applicant, the children, or others, or has already used a firearm in the commission of a crime — has more than a month of “free” firearm possession in this State. That’s certainly sufficient time for the “adverse party” to locate and endanger the remainder of the family.

One possible solution to the problem might be to eliminate the permissive “may”  from the provisions regarding an extended order of protection and simply say that if the “adverse party” meets the three criteria then law enforcement “will” take custody of the individual’s firearms.  Additionally, if the court finds that there is ample evidence of previous incidents of domestic violence, or clear and present danger from immediate threats, then it “may” remove the firearms during the period covered by the temporary restraining order.

There is no intent in this suggestion to permanently deprive any individual of his 2nd Amendment entertainment devices, merely to secure them while a domestic situation remains volatile.  Nor is this a “blank check” for government to “take guns away” without Constitutional protections — the permissive language (may) pertaining to the temporary restraining order gives the court some latitude to determine the extent of the volatility, and to protect the victim, and, to no small extent, protect our “adverse party” from doing something in the heat of the moment he might regret for the rest of his life.

There is also some elasticity in Nevada laws which place some women and children at risk.  NRS 200.575 discusses stalking, which is a misdemeanor for the first offense, and a gross misdemeanor for the second.  Nevada adds a category of “aggravated stalking:”

“A person who commits the crime of stalking and in conjunction therewith threatens the person with the intent to cause the person to be placed in reasonable fear of death or substantial bodily harm commits the crime of aggravated stalking. A person who commits the crime of aggravated stalking shall be punished for a category B felony by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 2 years and a maximum term of not more than 15 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $5,000.”

It is only when the stalker adds threats of death and substantial bodily harm that he would be committing a felony, and thus ineligible to possess firearms under Nevada law.  This sounds reasonable until we run into the problematic nature of stalker mentalities.  After a conviction for a first and second offense the individual may still acquire firearms, if the victim can’t prove a fear of “death or substantial bodily harm,” beyond a reasonable doubt.  The background check would not exclude the individual unless he’s already convicted of felonious, or “aggravated” stalking since stalking convictions are misdemeanors for the first two offenses.

Another suggestion:  Make the imposition of an order of protection mandatory in all cases of stalking. In the instance of a first conviction the court “may” include the surrender of firearms in the order, and “shall” include it in the case of a second conviction; especially if the stalking is done to the same victim as in the first case.   Current law (NRS 200.591) permits a court to issue a temporary or extended order of protection but doesn’t require it.  Might women and families be safer if the temporary order were applied for the first offense, with the provision that the court “may” include the surrender of deadly weapons?  They would certainly seem to be safer if an extended order was immediately applied after the second conviction, and proscribed the possession of firearms for the duration of the order.

The slippage in the system comes, of course, when there is no background check required for all gun sales, such that after the misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor convictions the stalker can simply purchase a firearm at a gun show and move on to the felony he may have been contemplating.

Spare me the “law abiding citizens” argument from the 2nd Amendment extremists.  A person who commits domestic violence has broken the law. A person who stalks another person in the state of Nevada has broken the law.  This is not law-abiding behavior.  When a person’s behavior is classified as a misdemeanor, a gross misdemeanor, or a class B felony — it is not law-abiding. Period.

Spare me the “Big Plot To Take Guns” argument. No one is speaking of temporary or extended orders of protection which deprive the non-law-abiding of their 2nd Amendment playthings in perpetuity. When the stalker hits the B Felony grade he’s done it to himself; if he’s still in the misdemeanor range the surrender of firearms lasts only as long as the orders of protection.

And, finally, spare us the misery of a rendition of the Spring, TX massacre in the Silver State.


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Filed under Gun Issues, Nevada legislature, Nevada politics, women, Women's Issues

The Unsportsmanlike Act

Duck StampThe Bipartisan Sportsman’s Act of 2014 (S. 2363) sailed through the first cloture roadblock on an 82-12 vote [roll call 218] and then sank in the mire of Senate obstructionism.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) pulled the plug in the face of Republican squabbling over amendments. [The Hill]  What started out as a simple two title bill got entangled in …. Guns.

Title I of the original bill would have allowed hunters to get duck stamps online, and allowed target practice on federal lands, among other improvements for those who truly are into hunting. Title II concerned conservation of various habitats. [S. 2363]  And then things got complicated.

Guns Galore!

Thirty eight amendments were offered to the bill.  Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) wanted to add his “Second Amendment Enforcement Act” to the bill, which would have gutted gun regulations in the District of Columbia, and just about everywhere else for that matter. [CR S4283]  He also proposed allowing firearms in postal facilities. [CR S4283] Nothing like encouraging the customers to, in a phrase from a bygone era, “go postal?”

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) joined Senator Paul in his efforts to add the proposed “Second Amendment Enforcement Act” to the bill, [CR S4283]  and he, too, wanted to extend firearm privileges in postal facilities. Lee’s three amendments essentially proposed the same extensions of Paul’s expansion of gun ‘rights.’

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TX) offered his “Second Amendment Enforcement Act” to the original bill, and Senator Jefferson Beauregard Session (R-Old South) chimed in with his rendition.  Not to be outdone, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) wanted a “Second Amendment Enforcement Act included in the three amendments he filed, as did Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Idaho Republican Senator Mike Crapo, Richard Burr (R-NC), Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) in three amendments, and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), and Nevada’s own Senator Dean Heller.

There’s nothing new about this “Second Amendment Enforcement Act,” it was drafted by the National Rifle Association, and was introduced by Senators McCain (R-GreenRoom) and Tester (D-MT) as a response to gun regulations in the District of Columbia. [] By the lights of the NRA there shouldn’t be any.  It also showed up in the 110th Congress (2008) in the form of H.R. 6691.  It appeared in Representative Mike Ross’s H.R. 645 in 2011 [NRA] where it died in Committee in February 2011. [GovTrack]

If the fish can’t live in the water, why are you fishing there?

Senator Heller also signed on to Senator Barrasso’s amendment which deviated from the chorus of ‘gun rights’ and headed into the Clean Water Act.  SA 3453 took the regulation out of regulations concerning the identification of waters protected by the Clean Water Act:

(a) In General.–Neither the Secretary of the Army nor the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall– (1) finalize the proposed rule entitled “Definition of `Waters of the United States’ Under the Clean Water Act” (79 Fed. Reg. 22188 (April 21, 2014)); or
(2) use the proposed rule described in paragraph (1), or any substantially similar proposed rule or guidance, as the basis for any rulemaking or any decision regarding the scope or enforcement of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.).  (b) Rules.–The use of the proposed rule described in subsection (a)(1), or any substantially similar proposed rule or guidance, as the basis for any rulemaking or any decision regarding the scope or enforcement of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) shall be grounds for vacation of the final rule, decision, or enforcement action.”

That’s simple, if the Army and the EPA can’t finalize rules regarding the definition of protected water under the Clean Water Act, there’s no clean water? This unpleasant notion was also put forward by Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), and  Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO).

It’s rather difficult to imagine a bill intended to encourage hunting and fishing including a proposal to allow more pollution of hunting and fishing realms. However, several Republican Senators managed to do it.  This “Polluted Waters Act of 2014″ didn’t quite mesh with Senator Cardin’s (D-DE) amendment to enact the National Fish Habitat Action Plan.  Nor does it seem particularly appealing to someone like myself who thoroughly enjoys fly fishing — imagine all the fun of standing in a mountain stream watching what gray slime doesn’t attach to the waders float along downstream?

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) was disappointed there wasn’t an “amendment process,” [The Hill] but with the “Second Amendment Solutions” attached, and the specter of the Dirty Water Fishing Act of 2014 included, we shouldn’t be too disappointed that this little bill didn’t make it past the Senate Obstruction Machine.

It would have been nice if the hunters could have gotten their duck stamps online…

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Filed under Congress, ecology, Gun Issues, Heller, Nevada politics, Politics

NRA: Protect Your Local Stalker

NRA Stalker

The National Rifle Association seems set upon a course to convince most sentient creatures that is has completely lost the plot.  Its Flying Monkey Brigade is out to kill a bill that would prevent those convicted of stalking from purchasing firearms. [RS] The Association issued a letter opposing the bill proposed by former prosecutor Amy Klobuchar (D-MN):

“In the letter, the NRA argued that the legislation “manipulates emotionally compelling issues such as ‘domestic violence’ and ‘stalking’ simply to cast as wide a net as possible for firearm prohibitions.” [RS]

Translation: Members of Congress should not enact any legislation about which people have some passionate views, especially when those views concern the personal safety of themselves and their loved ones?  Or, are we too read this as, members of Congress should not enact bills which restrict the access of gun ownership to anyone, no matter how inappropriate or unsafe the circumstances?

The letter went further:

“The NRA is also concerned that the definition of “stalking” is too broad to warrant any abridging of the Second Amendment. “‘Stalking’ offenses do not necessarily include violent or even threatening behavior,” the letter read.

“Under federal law, for example, stalking includes ‘a course of conduct’ that never involves any personal contact whatsoever, occurs wholly through the mail, online media, or telephone service, is undertaken with the intent to ‘harass’ and would be reasonably expected to cause (even if it doesn’t succeed in causing) ‘substantial emotional distress’ to another person.” [RS]

So, Gee — if there wasn’t any physical contact — this isn’t really really threatening behavior? This doesn’t cause any ‘real’ fear, any ‘real’ concern for personal or family safety?  There’s nothing to say that the behavior might escalate?

The Bureau of Justice Statistics issued a report in 2009 (pdf) which offers another view of the issue.  The report found that stalkers also engaged in property damage, illegal entry and burglary, battery, rape, sexual assault, attacks on family members, on children, and on family pets. Most stalking victims reported threats of physical harm, threats to kill, threats to harm another family member or to harm a pet. There were threats of suicide, harming co-workers, and the use of weapons.   All of this does not sound like a “course of conduct” which would be mitigated by the addition of firearms.

How do we deal with the NRA charge that ‘stalking’ is too vague a term, and just another excuse to take guns away?  Nevada’s statutes offer a fair example of how stalking is defined:

“A person who, without lawful authority, willfully or maliciously engages in a course of conduct that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, harassed or fearful for the immediate safety of a family or household member, and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, harassed or fearful for the immediate safety of a family or household member, commits the crime of stalking.”

Where the NRA simply omits the list of things that stalkers do to terrify their prey — and dismisses it as something that might not even be scary — the state of Nevada explains that if the stalker causes an otherwise reasonable person to feel “terrorized, frightened, intimidated, harassed, or fearful for immediate safety,” this constitutes stalking.  In short, the NRA displays a thorough disregard for the victims of stalking , and focuses solely on the ‘poor’ stalker — who might not have done any physical harm (yet) — being unable to hop down to the gun shop and procure whatever weapon desired.  This state of affairs is unlikely to alleviate the situation of the victim.

46% of the victims of the stalkers report fearing “what would happen next,” exactly the frame of mind the stalker sought to induce. 29% feared the stalking would never stop. One in eight stalking victims lost time at work, and one in seven found it necessary to move because of a stalker. [VOC] And then there’s the health end of the problem:

“The prevalence of anxiety, insomnia, social dysfunction, and severe depression is much higher among stalking victims than the general population, especially if the stalking involves being followed or having one’s property destroyed. [Eric Blauuw et al. "The Toll of Stalking," Journal of Interpersonal Violence 17, no. 1(2002):50-63.]

There’s also that “emotionally compelling” issue of domestic violence, which the NRA intimates ought not to deprive a batterer of “his rights.”  Nevada has addressed this issue head on.

Nevada takes domestic violence seriously.  There’s nothing vague about the provisions of NRS 33.018. Domestic violence is domestic violence, and there are penalties for it. Neither is there anything incomprehensible about NRS 200.485 which delineates the elements of a domestic violence battery. If a person uses “willful and unlawful force or violence upon the person of another,” that’s a battery. [NVLeg] And, if a person commits an act of domestic violence, the state of Nevada provides for injunctions to protect the victim, including two sections in the statutes addressing firearms. [NRS 33.031 & NRS 33.033]

The 2007 Nevada Legislature passed AB 194, signed by the Governor on June 7, 2007, and from that time forward a court may issue an extended order of protection which requires that an ‘adverse’ party give up their firearms.  The votes in the Legislature weren’t even close — the Assembly vote was 41-0, and the Senate vote was 20-1.   There was a reason for that — some appalling numbers which put Nevada at the top of some lists which weren’t all that positive.

During testimony on AB 194 (pdf) the Assembly Judiciary Committee heard testimony stating:

“Since 1999, Nevada has consistently rated among the top five states for domestic violence homicides of women. In 2004, Nevada had 2.21 female homicides per 100,000 women, and the national average is 1.37. Statistics show that 55 to 67 percent of domestic violence homicides are committed with the use of firearms. Out of the 25 homicides in Nevada in 2004, 15 were killed with firearms, six were beaten to death, and four were killed with knives. That shows about 60 percent being killed with firearms. When firearms are used in domestic violence assaults, it is 12 times more likely to result in death than assaults without firearms involved. It is clear that firearms and domestic violence are a deadly combination.” (page 25)

Until the NRA ceases to lobby for the sales of firearms to stalkers and domestic abusers, there’s no reason to take them seriously.

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Filed under Gun Issues, health, Health Care, Nevada politics, Politics

Nevadans Launch Background Check Initiative

Gadsden Flag Shoot Officers

Checking the Background:  We were horrified when the news reported on December 15, 2012 that a classroom full of elementary school children was slaughtered, surely that incident would be enough to create a demand for action to reduce the chances of any repetition. It wasn’t.  As of May 7, 2013 another 71 children died — 31 as homicides, 40 classified as “accidental.” [MJ]  The incidents were sufficient to allow the passage of SB 221, a background check bill, which got through the State Legislature in spite of solid Republican opposition.  [DB]

Then the NRA launched its flying monkeys, and the calls to the Governor’s office were 3-1 in favor of a veto. [LVRJ] Governor Sandoval caved, and vetoed the measure. [LVSun] His veto message cited “unreasonable burdens on law abiding citizens” as a reason to veto the universal background check bill. [VM June 2013, pdf] [DB]

Also included in the veto message was the tired excuse offered by gun enthusiasts — the bill would do little to prevent the proliferation of firearms among criminals.  As mentioned often before, the opponents of gun safety legislation are wont to argue that if a bill doesn’t (a) present a perfect solution to a complex problem, or (b) if any potential tragedy isn’t specifically addressed, then there’s no reason to try any proposal because it might “erode 2nd Amendment rights.” [more at DB 6/17/13]  Unfortunately, the concept of erosion has been glued to the NRA mantra that any attempt to delineate reasonable limitations on 2nd Amendment rights is anathema. [Discussed previously here]

Progress? Given this recent history of attempts in Nevada to address something as generally popular in the state as universal background checks, it’s nice to see that people are still willing to address the issue, in the face of the opposition — now wrapped in their ‘cop killer flag’ and seething with post Bundy-ian anti-government rage?

An initiative petition (pdf) [RR]  has been filed with the Secretary of State by Nevadans for Background Checks, and supported by the Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence. [LVRJ] Supporters have their work cut out for them, collecting at least 101,667 signatures by Nov. 11. Actually, it’s a bit more complicated than the simple collection of signatures: “Statewide petitions filed in 2014 require 101,667 valid signatures from registered Nevada voters including at least 25,417 signatures from each of the four Petition Districts. (NRS 293.127563(2))” [NVSoS]  The Petition Districts are coterminous with the Congressional Districts. [map pdf NVSoS]

One resident of District 2 has already weighed in:

“This is the back door to gun registration – the current preferred avenue to gun confiscation being pushed by the virulent Left. Useless for one thing. There will always be illegal traffic in firearms. Prohibition taught us that making something illegal creates an industry out of thin air. The modern drug industry is also an example. It’s also unconstitutional. But that’s the point. Devalue the Constitution and disarm those willing to defend it.” [EDFP]

Recognize the arguments? (1) The government just wants to confiscate guns, + (2) we can’t do anything about it so it’s best not to even try.  However, the next comment was right in line with the Absolutists:  “ANY infringement on the right to keep and bear arms is unconstitutional. Against the law of the land. Illegal. Get it?” [EDFP]  Evidently, this Absolutists conflates infringement with inconvenience?

The Ralston Report makes a pertinent observation: “Similar bill was vetoed by Gov. Brian Sandoval last session.  Wonder which base gets more fired up….”

The answer may well be “both,” or “all of the above?”  Certainly, the Absolutist gun enthusiasts as exemplified by our District Two commenter will be moved to go the polls, but then that person is very likely already so moved.  Years of accumulated belief in the inefficacy of government, the imposition of unreasonable taxation, and the ‘freedom’ arguments revolving around gun safety legislation, are likely to have produced a Government Fearing Anti Tax voter.

A more interesting question might be how many liberals, progressives, moderates, and independent thinking Nevadans might be moved to newly increased levels of interest in the off year elections by the inclusion of a ballot question about which they feel they have an interest?

In some respects this is roughly akin to the conservative wedge issue tactics of elections long gone by — witness the anti-abortion, or anti-gay marriage referenda and initiatives pushed since the 1980s in various states which drove turn out from specific groups.  There’s nothing inherently bothersome about taking a page from the opposition handbook and trying it out in a new setting.

If advocates of improved gun safety legislation can’t get everything they might want, background checks, ammunition capacity limits, and assault weapons bans –then there’s nothing wrong with attempting to get at least one slice of the pie.   It isn’t like the Tea Party, NRA, anti-government folks have recently covered themselves in glory.


Filed under Gun Issues, Nevada politics, Politics

We’re the worst? Nevada is the Least Safe State

We could be doing a little better than this:

“Among the things that led to Nevada’s dismal overall status were a 47th ranking for “murder and non-negligent manslaughter per capita,” 47th for “public hospital rankings,” 43rd for “percentage of population without health insurance coverage,” 31st for “employer health insurance coverage rates” and 47th for “assault per capita.”

Piled on these were poor financial rankings for Nevada: 49th for “annual consumer savings account averages” and 50th for “percentage of people who spend more than they make.”  [Full story RGJ]

So, in terms of overall financial safety, Nevada ranks 50th — only Mississippi ranks lower; and in the home and community safety column we’re ranked 49th, with only Tennessee ranked below us.  [WalletHub]

We didn’t make the infamous top ten rankings in “aggregate state rankings in gun violence outcomes,” but we are sitting at number 12. [CAP pdf] We were 9th in national rankings of firearm deaths (2010), and if we extend the time period to 2001-2010 Nevada climbs into 5th place. [CAP pdf]

In short, having relatively lax gun safety statutes and regulations, and being in proximity to other states with lax statutes and regulations isn’t going to produce happy outcomes in regard to overall firearm deaths by accident, suicide, negligence, or homicide.

Our recent example of gun violence in Las Vegas should be perceived as yet another reminder that radicalized gun enthusiasts with access to copious amounts of firearms and ammunition isn’t a recipe for reducing our crime rate and raising the level of public safety.

If we would reduce the level of gun violence, there are some things that work.  No, they aren’t going to stop ALL or each instance of it, but they do help bring down the unfortunate statistics.

#1. Enact universal background checks for all gun sales.  At the risk of redundancy, Nevada proscribes arms sales to felons, fugitives, juveniles without adult supervision, undocumented aliens, and the seriously mentally ill. Arms may also be proscribed for those who have been involved in domestic violence incidents.  It would help our law enforcement officials if we were more careful to insure that people in these classifications do not acquire their own arsenals.

#2. Limit the ammunition capacity.  Seriously, if a person hasn’t shot the home intruder with ten rounds, what makes anyone think the next 20 would do more than merely shoot up the house? In at least two highly publicized instances the shooter has been apprehended while trying to reload.

There’s another element which deserves some consideration — Nevada ranks in the upper half of national suicide statistics, with a 20.3 rate. And, we know that of the four categorized methods, firearms are used most often (50.5%). [AFSP] [CDC] To see firearms as strictly related to “crime” statistics is to miss a significant portion of the public health and safety issues associated with the profusion of firearms.

The risk factors for suicides are well documented: family history, child abuse, previous attempts, personal history of mental disorders or clinical depression, history of alcohol or substance abuse.. [CDC] However, while we’ve put a great deal of effort into studying suicide, rather less has been done to research protective measures. This is not to say we don’t have a grasp of what works to prevent suicides. Easy access to clinical care for physical, mental, and substance abuse disorders mitigates the problem, as does having a variety of clinical interventions and the provision of support for those seeking help.

Individuals with family/community support, access to medical care relationships, and those who have been provided with assistance or training in problem solving, conflict resolution, and non-violent means of dealing with disputes, also are less likely to commit suicide.

If we’re serious about reducing this element of insecurity in Nevada there are measures we could take ‘for starters’.

#1. Enhance and improve the capacity of Nevada’s Drug Courts.  We currently have 17 adult drug courts in the state [NVJud] among the specialty courts available.  Each and every specialty court should be able to function secure in the knowledge that the rehabilitation services it mandates are readily available for those those come through the system.

#2. Improve the level of staffing and support services in our mental health system.  Unfortunately, information regarding current levels of support and regional availability of services is difficult to access because the State Division of Public and Behavioral Health is still trying to get its website up and running — a project which it estimates will take three to six months. (The old links aren’t working today.)

Adopting any, or as could be hoped, of all four suggestions will take some political leadership, and a bit of readjustment in how we perceive and deal with our fellow citizens.

First, it would be helpful if we could expand the discussion of firearm safety beyond the tortured logic of “freedom” or other generic complaints about governance and see the proliferation of firearms as a public health issue. Secondly, once we can visualize aspects of firearm safety as an element of public health then we can begin to address subordinate issues such as keeping firearms out of the hands of those who are a danger to themselves and others, and of restraining the amount of damage a troubled person might be able to do.

Further, if we can reform and improve our delivery of social and mental health services we might see the reduction in the kinds of behaviors which augment our unfortunate statistics.  Social and mental health services are labor intensive, and there are no convenient technological answers to issues involving human beings and their behavior.  Money doesn’t solve mental health problems, but it does build and staff those facilities which can alleviate the suffering which accompanies disorders and substance abuse problems.

In short, we will get what we are willing to pay for.

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Filed under Gun Issues, Nevada, Nevada economy, Nevada legislature, Nevada politics, Politics

Guns, Nevada, and The Law – Does SB 221 Matter?

In the wake of the shooting of two police officers and an innocent civilian in Las Vegas, several voices have questioned the veto of Nevada’s SB 221 — does this matter?

On June 13, 2013 Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval vetoed SB 221, (pdf) a bill to improve the background check process for gun sales in the state.  Passage of the bill was a close thing in the State Senate, the May 22 vote was 11-10.  The Assembly voted on SB 221 June 3rd, and the bill passed 23-19.

“No” votes were cast in the state Senate by Brower, Cegavske, Pete Goicoechea, Donald Gustavson, Scott Hammond, Joseph Hardy, Mark Hutchison, Ben Kieckhefer, Michael Roberson, and James Settelmeyer, [Senate vote]

Members of the state Assembly who cast “no” votes were: Paul Anderson, Richard Carrillo. Skip Daly, Wesley Duncan, John Ellison, Michele Fiore, Tom Grady, John Hambrick, Ira Hansen, Cresent Hardy, Pat Hickey, Randy Kirner, Peter Livermore, James Ohrenschall, James Oscarson, Michael Sprinkle, Lynn Stewart, Jim Wheeler, and Melissa Woodbury.

Opponents of the measure generally clung to arguments about “freedom,” and the inviolability of the 2nd Amendment.  Questions were raised about whether the law would “address” the problem directly, and would this have been at the expense of responsible gun owners and dealers.

Would the provisions of SB 221 if implemented have prevented the tragic loss of two Las Vegas law enforcement officer and a perfectly innocent civilian?  IT DOESN’T MATTER.  Here’s why:

## It’s a logical and policy mistake to attempt to link the reduction of gun violence in this state, or in this nation, to any one piece of legislation pertaining to any one incident.  As long as proponents of gun proliferation man the barricades of the single instance/single solution battlements nothing will be done.  If the standard by which a bill is judged is whether or not it would have prevented a single instance of gun violence then the answer will invariably be negative.  Why? Because no legislation is intrinsically capable of addressing all the nuances of its application — that’s why we have lawyers and judges.   The “standard” proposition is a red herring, not a logical argument.

Senator Hardy said his opposition was based on the proposition that the bill didn’t address the acute psychotic shooter and we can’t predict when such an individual might snap.  In short, if the bill didn’t pass the “Single Incident/Single Solution Test,”  it was unworthy of his support. [SenTest pdf]

## Continuing to conceive of gun violence incidents in terms of causality is to occupy the ethereal without addressing the reality.  If we start looking for what was the proximate cause of the shooting in Las Vegas we will be binding ourselves to the tree while avoiding a discussion of how the forest became polluted.  We know the proximate cause already — two addled idiots armed with lethal weapons shot and killed  two police officers and an innocent civilian.  The word we need to adopt is correlation, a word which often doesn’t go down well with purists and ideologues who want certainty.  Good luck with that.  Why is the differentiation between causality and correlation important? There’s a study for that from the American Journal of Medicine..

“It should be noted that the study couldn’t tie guns to gun deaths in terms of causation but the correlation of civilian gun ownership and gun deaths is not deniable. Also of note, the study showed that mental illness does also seem to correlate with gun deaths, but the correlation isn’t nearly as high as simple gun ownership.”

What do we know? There is a high correlation between gun ownership and gun deaths, and we know that there’s a correlation — just not as high — for mental illness and gun deaths. *

## The potential efficacy of SB 221, as with all other legislation, is also connected to the statutory matrix in which it is placed.  For example, the enaction of legislation mandating comprehensive background checks is moot if funding isn’t appropriated for its implementation.  Or, what would be comprehensive about background checks if there were no ‘backgrounds’ which would exclude a person from firearms ownership?

Do we toss up our hands and say that because we couldn’t get final adoption of a comprehensive background check bill out of Carson City this necessarily means there is nothing we can do?  Of course not, that would be to adopt the same flawed logic of the opponents of gun safety legislation, “if we couldn’t get that done we can’t do anything.”

The passage and adoption of SB 211 would matter IF it were a piece of a larger, more comprehensive, perspective on gun violence in the state of Nevada.

What Does Matter?

First, let’s unload the weighty sacks of rhetorical rubbish which require perfect solutions to problems created by imperfect people.  There is agreement that current Nevada law restricting arms sales to felons, fugitives, undocumented aliens, juveniles without parental supervision, and the mentally ill.   If we are in agreement about this level of restraint, then SB 221 would have made perfect sense — we check the backgrounds in all gun sales to exclude the people we already agree should not be buying firearms.   Might this be inconvenient for some people? — perhaps.  So what? Who wants to be identified as the person or business who sold the next deranged shooter the firearm?

Secondly, let’s admit that there are people who may temporarily have issues such that owning or possessing  a firearm is not a good idea, for themselves or anyone else.  We already allow the courts the authority to temporarily remove firearms from homes in which there has been serious and documented spousal abuse.  We could, if we were serious about gun safety in this state, amend our statutory matrix to provide means by which the family of a potential suicide could be empowered to seek the removal of firearms from the person’s home.   We could, again if we’re getting serious, allow law enforcement agencies to apply for temporary firearm removal from homes occupied by those who have “scared the Hell out of neighbors, friends, and family” because of their delusional rants, writings, or other forms of communication.

Third, we might also amend our statutory matrix to incorporate the limitation of ammunition capacity.  There are two highly publicized instances (Tucson, Seattle) in which shooters were captured while trying to re-load.  This element wouldn’t eliminate the tragedy altogether, but would mitigate the casualty level.

Fourth, during the Bush Administration sought and got a gun manufacturers shield law — after some victims and municipalities successfully brought litigation — in October 2005 Wayne LaPierre announced that the 2nd Amendment was is “in the best shape it’s been in decades…” [NYT] The gun manufacturers might have been in good shape, but local and state governments watching health and public safety budgets drained by gun violence certainly weren’t.  This special shield law could be repealed to create a stronger legislative matrix for gun safety statutes.

Finally, the sad history of SB 221 matters if it convinces those who advocate for gun safety legislation that “nothing can be done” in the face of fanatical opposition from gun manufacturers.  This is far from the truth, and far from the function of government to secure domestic tranquility. [NVconst]


* For those who want more information on correlations, see here and here.


Filed under Gun Issues

This Flag Isn’t Funny Anymore

Gadsden Flag Not Funny

Tea Party members had some fun with their Gadsden Flag. Some waved it at soccer games, others flew it on poles. Others combined it with a Confederate Battle flag, and still others added captions of their own.  The fun is gone now.

Two Las Vegas Metro officers are dead.  Shot by a pair of white supremacists.

Witnesses told police one of the shooters yelled “This is the start of a revolution” before shooting the officers. Gillespie later said he could not confirm that.

The shooters then stripped the officers of their weapons and ammunition and badges, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation. They then covered the officers with something that featured the Gadsden flag, a yellow banner with a coiled snake above the words, “Don’t tread on Me.” [LVRJ]

Let’s speculate for a moment what will happen to all those yellow banners in the wake of this tragedy.

There will be Gadsden flag owners who quietly fold up their flags and put them away in cupboards, drawers, or closets.  They may well believe that whatever antipathy they have toward the government, it doesn’t do to wave a banner which was used to cover the bodies of police officers.

There may also be some enablers.  Their banners may be relegated to the closet, but they will add this to their litany of complaints.  IF the shooters hadn’t used the flag it would still be authentically American. The shooters by their lights are marginal, and not representative of the Tea Party movement, they are “not one of us.”

We’ll probably get some response from the excusers.  IF the government hadn’t threatened to use force at the Bundy Ranch, IF the government hadn’t killed the person who assaulted the Georgia courthouse, IF the NSA didn’t spy on civilians, (blah, blah, blah) then the Patriots would not have felt compelled to drape the slain officers in the yellow flag.  Now they can’t fly their flag anymore because ‘liberals’ will refer to the Las Vegas shooting.

A tiny minority will gather to the yellow flag cause.  The two shooters will be martyrs, just what they might have had in mind.  There are still some among us who find Timothy McVeigh a martyr to The Cause.  Still some inclined to believe every e-mail forwarded to their inboxes filled with vitriolic, hyperbolic and wildly false information which they believe validates their warped world view.

But, this wasn’t “going out in a blaze of glory.” This was an ambush on two police officers who were having lunch.  Two men, doing their job, for their community, their friends and their families.  It was nothing more than a cowardly attack on two unsuspecting peace officers.  Nothing more.

Yellow is the color of cowards.


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Tales of Two Gun Carriers

** We had to know, sooner or later, someone was going to test the Stand Your Ground law in Nevada. Unfortunately, it’s sooner. [Nevada Progressive] 73 year old Wayne Burgarello shot and killed two people who were in his vacant Sparks duplex.  Now Burgarello’s hearing has been delayed until June 12th in a Sparks JP Court. [RGJ]  Were the victims trespassing? It seems very likely.  Did Burgarello have other options than shooting the trespassers?  NRS 207.200 specifies what happens in the case the owner of the property gives an oral or written demand that the trespasser leave — the law kicks in — and further notes that the trespass is a misdemeanor.  Did Burgarello have options other than the use of deadly force?  We will hear his version of the story, however if Stand Your Ground equates to Silence the Witnesses then we won’t hear the voices of the two shooting victims.  Burgarello would have been totally within his rights to (a) issue a trespassing warning, and then (b) seek the assistance of the authorities to remove the trespassers.

Without knowing much more than that a neighbor told Burgarello that the victims were squatting in the vacant property, and that Burgarello showed up with three weapons, the impression is left that we may have yet another Angry Old Man shooting — a la Curtis Reeves.   Just as getting popcorn tossed at you in a movie theater doesn’t seem an appropriate time for lethal force, shooting a drug addled squatter when other remedies were at hand doesn’t quite square with ‘defense of property’ either.

** Now that General Eric Shinseki has been tossed to the media wolves for his inability to get the VA to clear up the wait-time morass, it’s high time to clean up the mess — for real — and that the Reno, NV VA facility has the 10th longest wait time isn’t good news. [RGJ]  Little wonder there’s been a waiting list:

“The 18,000 veterans who enrolled between October and March added to the 38,000 to 40,000 veterans the hospital already served, Farr said. The VA hospital in Reno serves Northern Nevada and as far south as Tonopah, Nev., plus nine California counties that border the Silver State.”  [RGJ

A person might have thought that the Congress would do something to alleviate the numbers problem -- for example, authorizing the establishment of 27 new VA facilities -- but after initial optimism last February the Senate Republicans threw up enough road blocks to stop the legislation from advancing.  Republicans wanted to attach a provision to enhance sanctions on Iran, and worried about "budget" considerations. [Reuters]  The result was that the filibuster continued on S. 1982 on a 56-41 vote. [Roll call 46]

Members of the Senate who voted to sustain the filibuster of S. 1982 were:

Alexander (R-TN) Ayotte (R-NH) Barrasso (R-WY) Blunt (R-MO)
Boozman (R-AR) Burr (R-NC) Chambliss (R-GA) Coats (R-IN)
Coburn (R-OK) Cochran (R-MS) Collins (R-ME) Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX) Crapo (R-ID) Cruz (R-TX) Enzi (R-WY) Fischer (R-NE) Flake (R-AZ) Graham (R-SC) Grassley (R-IA) Hatch (R-UT)
Hoeven (R-ND) Inhofe (R-OK) Isakson (R-GA) Johanns (R-NE)
Johnson (R-WI) Kirk (R-IL) Lee (R-UT) McCain (R-AZ) McConnell (R-KY) Paul (R-KY) Portman (R-OH) Risch (R-ID) Roberts (R-KS) Rubio (R-FL) Scott (R-SC) Sessions (R-AL) Shelby (R-AL) Thune (R-SD) Toomey (R-PA) Vitter (R-LA)

See any D’s after those names?  Other than for the inclination of the broadcast media to interview All The Usual Suspects about their “reactions” to the VA debacle, this should be a list of people who have absolutely NO room to talk about the VA services or lack thereof.

Some people have no problem offering succor to those who take the law into their own hands and play Terminator, while dismissing the needs of veterans as “too expensive” when those legitimate gun carriers are asking for assistance; medical, educational, and in terms of employment.  It’s a strange world indeed.

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Filed under Gun Issues, Nevada, Nevada legislature, Nevada politics, Politics

Sandoval’s Promise: Nevada gun laws and mental health services

There’s nothing simple about the issues involved in the delivery of mental health care, the availability of firearms, and the tragic connections between the two.  Nevada has already experienced this.  In early September 2011, thirty-three year old Eduardo Sencion of Carson City walked into the local IHOP restaurant and killed four (including himself) and wounded eight others, of the twelve people injured or killed were five members of the National Guard. [ABC]  The entire incident took 85 seconds during which Sencion fired his assault rifle at those in the restaurant, at a passing motorcyclist, and finally took his own life. [RGJ]  Sencion’s Norinco MAK90 had been altered to fire as an automatic weapon. And then there was this chilling detail:

“Doctors diagnosed Sencion with paranoid schizophrenia when he was 18, and he took medications to control the voices that told him to do bad things, (Sheriff) Furlong said. But toxicology tests revealed that none of those drugs was in his system on the day of the shooting, the sheriff said.” [RGJ]

On October 21, 2013 seventh grader Jose Reyes took the 9mm semi-automatic hand gun he found at home to school, he wounded two students, killed a teacher, and then committed suicide.  Reyes previously told his family felt bullied by other children, and at one point was prescribed a 10 mg dosage of Prozac.  One of the elements of particular interest: ” Police believe Reyes used a family computer to search the phrases “top 10 evil children,” “bullying,” “super columbine massacre role playing game,” and “school shootings.” [RGJ]

There’s always a danger in comparing elements of disparate tragedies, but there are legitimate points of comparison.  Both shooters were male. Both were young when diagnosed with mental health issues.  Both used firearms.  Both were citizens of a state in which mental health care funding is scarce at best, and all but non-existent at worst:

Dr. Tracey Green, the state health officer, said there is not enough space in the Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas and other hospitals, so mentally ill people wait and wait in emergency rooms for the next available beds. In January alone, an average of 139 people have been waiting each day on Legal 2000 three-day holds. She noted additional beds soon will open, but not enough to deal with the total problem. [LVRJ] (January 29, 2014)

Then on February 20, 2014 the walk in clinic at the Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas closed its doors. [Channel8]  By February 27, 2014 state officials were “scrambling” to find alternatives and options for mental health care treatment. [RGJ] On May 20, 2014 the Governor’s Behavioral Health and Wellness Council made 16 recommendations to help sort the problem. [RGJ] This in a state already notorious for shipping its ‘mental health problems’ out to other communities. [SacBee]

The report’s recommendations included suggestions ranging from providing services to the most chronically ill, to improved behavioral and mental health services in Nevada schools.

“The  Council  recommends  expansion  of  high  intensity case  management  and  housing services for  the  heaviest  users  of  the  most  expensive  behavioral  health  services  (i.e.,  emergency  room,  jail,  and  inpatient  admissions.)  We  especially  recommend  expansion  of  existing  programs such  as  Psychiatric  Assertive  Community  Treatment  (PACT)  teams  and  Mental  Health  Courts.”  [BHWC pdf]

and noted:

In  Nevada,  studies  have  suggested  that  19.3 percent of  elementary  school  children  have  behavioral  health  care  needs  and  over  30 percent of  adolescents  self reported  significant  levels  of  anxiety  or  depression.  According  to  the  Clark  County  Community  Mental  Health  Center,  in  2009,  almost  one quarter  of  Nevada’s  public  middle  school  students  seriously  thought  about  killing  themselves,  more  than  30 percent had  used  alcohol  or  illegal  drugs,  and  over  13 percent had attempted suicide.  … Child  mental  health related  visits to  hospital  emergency  rooms  have  increased  steadily  in  Nevada  over  the  last  five  years.    There  is  also  an  increasing  trend  of children  requiring  a  costly  in patient  admission  to  a  hospital  due  to  a  mental  health  crisis. [BHWC pdf]

None of the suggestions come cheaply.  The implementation of many of them will require assistance from the Federal government. The activation of some will require expenditures from state funds, and from the ACA expansion of Medicaid.  However, when compared to the human costs associated with the IHOP and Sparks Middle School shootings, it would be more expensive not to appropriate the requisite amount of funding.

After reading through the report, and its recommendations it’s impossible not to grapple with the feeling that the Council made its suggestions for the most affordable level of mental health care services for Nevadans, not necessarily what would constitute recommendations for providing the best level of mental health care for citizens of the state.  Perhaps this is yet another example of how the Austerians have won the day — when we speak not about how to be the BEST in the nation, but only to how we can address immediate needs and cobble together solutions to alleviate the current crisis.   The Austerity Enthusiasts may be pleased with the modest nature of the suggestions for improvement, but the report retains its minimalist tone, as if we have somehow lost the capacity to Think Big, in a Can Do nation.

And, so we muddle along.  And so do those who might follow Seung-Hui Cho (VA Tech), Adam Lanza (Sandy Hook), George Hennard (Lubbock TX), James Huberty (San Ysidro), Eric Harris and Dylan Kleibold (Columbine), Aaron Alexis (Washington Navy Yard),  James E. Holmes (Aurora), and Joseph Wesbecker (Louisville) Gerald Loughner (Phoenix) and Elliot Rodger (Isla Vista).  Not to glorify their names, but to illustrate: Young to middle aged, male, armed, and mentally ill.  But, what do we really know?

We know that there have been at least 62 mass shootings since 1982, and they have taken place in 30 states, and in most of these cases the gunman obtained firearms legally. [WaPo]

We know that those states which have stricter gun laws have fewer incidents of gun deaths. [Atlantic]

We know that while some of the most high profile perpetrators of gun violence are/were mentally ill — mental illness in itself isn’t a major factor, indeed there is no statistical correlation at the state level between mental illness and gun deaths. [Atlantic] However, it should be reasonably obvious that if gun purchasing restrictions are lax or nearly non-existent then more mentally ill individuals will have easier access to lethal weapons.

We know that there but for the diligence of concerned parents there might have been another Nevada tragedy in the offing after a Reno police officer sold a gun to a mentally ill young man.  [RGJ]

We also know that Governor Sandoval kept his promise to the NRA and vetoed SB 221 on June 13, 2013, which would have expanded background checks for firearms purchases because it might have “burdened” our citizens and impinged on their 2nd Amendment rights. [LVRJ]


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Filed under Gun Issues, Health Care, Mental Health, Nevada politics

Why do you clutch your gun?

What are you afraid of?  You, who must be appeased because you are an embattled man, powerless to control the world spiraling around you, what do you fear?

Are you so fearful that you cannot countenance controlling lethal weapons, or  making it more difficult for those who are seriously mentally ill to procure them? You are the author of your own terror.  When everyone has a firearm, everyone will have a firearm — even those you fear the most — and then your fears will be justified?

Or, has your gun become a substitute for something else? Are you afraid of being unable to provide for you family?  Are your job skills dated? Your education truncated? Your time spent in job hunting extended?  Why do you clutch your gun? It’s not going to get you an education, more training, or more interviews.

Do you fear the loss of your “masculinity?”  What does that mean? Does it mean you can’t slap the bookkeeper Mary Ann on the fanny down at the garage?   Does it mean that you can’t brag about making babies if you don’t make child support payments?  Does it mean that people have stopped listening to you when you grouse about The Old Lady not having dinner ready for you when she gets off her second shift?  Why do you clutch your gun? It’s not going to make your relationships at work any easier. Or provide you with a sense of the responsibility associated with parenting. Or even add any economic security to your two income household.

Do you fear the diminishment of your sense of self worth?  Can we ask how you calculate that value?  Is how much you are worth a function of the size of your paycheck, or it is based on the joy you take from your workmanship, craftsmanship, or competency you bring to your employment?   Is how much you are worth a function of some  sense of entitlement because you are The Man?  Why do you clutch your gun? Would you caress it less often if you understood that self worth is elevated when you can share the rewards of your efforts at being a good worker, a good parent, a good friend, and good partner with someone you’ve helped to become a better worker, a better parent, a better friend, and a more loving partner?

Are you afraid of The Other?  Are ‘they’ going to invade your home? Would you be less afraid if you read the crime statistics in your area? If you remembered that only 1% of the murders in Nevada happened in the course of a burglary? [DB]  If you recalled that there is a ‘geography’ of criminal behavior  in which most criminals indulge in criminal behavior close to their own neighborhoods and generally don’t move into areas in which they aren’t familiar with the terrain, would that make you less anxious?

Would you be less insecure if you recalled that the most prevalent crime in Nevada is good old fashioned larceny?  As of 2012 there were 45,237 of those — compared to a grand total of 5,954 murders (118), rapes (923), and robberies (4,913) combined? [NVACR pdf]

Why do you clutch your gun if only in the most perfect set of circumstances it would offer you and yours protection?  IF you were perfectly awake, and the firearm was loaded and at the ready, and IF the burglar(s) followed your directions to the letter, and IF you were absolutely certain the projectile would strike its target without careening off into the unknown, and IF everything would work to your benefit as easily as scoring points in a video game…

Why do you clutch your gun as if it were the only option available to you?  You are less likely to be robbed while walking a dog — get a dog! Don’t have a dog? — borrow the neighbor’s mutt — the neighbors will appreciate it, and the dog will love it. You are less likely to be assaulted when walking with someone else — walk with a partner. You are less likely to be the victim of a crime if you are in a well lighted area — make sure the public works department knows when your street lights are out.  You are less likely to be a victim of a burglary if you have a security system — there are a plethora of options on the market.  Can’t afford the system — just plant a sign.  Don’t want the sign? Plant some cactus under your windows — they don’t take much water and who wants to climb over a cactus on the way to a TV set?  There are carload lots of other options, none of which are as dangerous in the home as that firearm.

Why do you clutch your gun, when there are so many other dangers to you and your family which your gun will not remotely solve?  For example, about 25% of school children report they’ve been bullied at school  [SchBStat] That’s far higher than the probability that your child will be attacked by a home invader!  The gun in the drawer by the bed won’t solve that problem, but a quiet chat with your middle schooler about how he or she is feeling at school will yield the information you’ll need to keep the scion safer on the playground.

While you’re fantasizing about protecting the family from imaginary invaders — have you considered that your child is at greater health risk from obesity?  Enough fast food and poor eating habits and the probability of your child having life threatening problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis increases proportionately. [CDC]  Unless your child will only address a vegetable at gun point, the firearm isn’t really useful.  However, if you want to keep your child alive and healthy in the long run, “Eat Your Vegetables” will go much further than “grab your gun.”

Want to protect your wife? Approximately 54% of the respondents in a study of workplace safety reported some form of harassment, and 79% of those victims were women. [Aware]  Would you feel more secure if you knew that your spouse was knowledgeable about the policies at the workplace or about whom to contact? Only about a third in the survey knew about the company policies, and only about half knew whom to contact.  Have you asked your wife if she’s aware of the policies and the procedures?   Would you support her if she filed a report?  That doesn’t require a firearm — just a supportive spouse.

If you aren’t afraid, and you just enjoy shooting rounds at the firing range, and you take care of your firearms — keeping them operative, clean, and safely stored — then by all means have them, care for them, and enjoy your hobby!  But please don’t delude yourself that they will make you any more of a worthy person than you are. People who measure themselves by their possessions — are simply possessed.

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