Local Mom Misses Target

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The January 9 article, Local Mom Takes Aim at Gun Show Loophole, is interesting. Other than the fawning tone of the article toward the cello playing Ms. Spangler (with the word cello mentioned over seven times), the paper misses some key facts and instead reads like a Protest Easy Guns press release rather than an objective newspaper.

Ms. Spanglers heart is in the right place as there is nothing wrong with wanting to curb violence, but her head is not.

The cause of the VA Tech violence was rooted in Seung Hui-Chos actions and in the failure of the Mental Health system in Virginia as well as the local officials in Blacksburg. Cho purchased his firearms not from a private seller at a gun show, but through an FFL holder. He filled out the forms, passed every background check that was required of him (including an FBI and Virginia State Police check), and produced documentation that allowed him to purchase these firearms, as well as waiting the required 30 days between handgun purchases as required by Virginia law.

These purchases might not have happened had the appropriate authorities at VA Tech and in Blacksburg not been legally constrained in getting him committed instead of released on an outpatient basis when he was declared a danger to himself. As a result, his name was never forwarded to the National Instant Check System (NICS). This partly resulted in allowing him to legally purchase a firearm. Ms. Spanglers movement would have people believe that he walked into a gunshow and walked out with two handguns. That simply is not the case. She, like many anti-gun, anti-Constitution organizations are trying to exploit a tragedy that furthers their own agenda.

What the article also doesnt show is that Ms. Spanglers facts about 25-50 percent of unlicensed dealers at gunshows also include vendors who sell jewelry, firearms accessories (such as holsters and grips), flashlights, beef jerky, paintings, war memorabilia and books. These are folks and businesses who do not have firearms to sell. In fact, BATF statistics show less than 2 percent of all firearms used in crimes come from private sales.

The article also has it incorrect regarding the Tiahrt amendment. It does not prevent law enforcement agencies from getting gun trace data. It prevents non-law enforcement entities like Mayors Against Illegal Guns from obtaining data for their own propaganda purposes. Law enforcement agencies have access to trace data. Both the ATF and the Fraternal Order of Police support the Tiahart Amendment as these are often the first leads in a crime thats been committed and are treated as evidence.

What Ms. Spanglers movement should be protesting instead is the lack of health are funding in Virginia and the way that privacy law regarding the release of personal information under HIPAA and FERPA is interpreted by state agencies. It is in these two areas that caused Cho to slip through the cracks. Yeah, its not sexy like the Lie-in, die-ins (appropriately named) but, its where the real problem lies.

I suggest to Ms. Spangler that she put her energies toward a useful but boring task like lobbying for increased mental health funding, and revising HIPAA, and FERPA policies so that agencies can share information. The VA Tech commission ran into problems getting Chos information even though he was dead, and they had subpoena power. It is items like these, along with allowing concealed handgun permit holders to carry their handguns on campus that will stop future murders.

TJ Parmele

Alexandria, VA


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