Virginia Tech And The Failure Of Gun Control Lawsby Doug Mataconis
As it turns out, under currently existing Federal gun control laws, Cho Sueng-Hui should never have been allowed to buy a gun at all:
WASHINGTON, April 20 – Under federal law, the Virginia Tech gunman Seung-Hui Cho should have been prohibited from buying a gun after a Virginia court declared him to be a danger to himself in late 2005 and sent him for psychiatric treatment, a state official and several legal experts said Friday.
Federal law prohibits anyone who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective,” as well as those who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility, from buying a gun.
The special justice’s order in late 2005 that directed Mr. Cho to seek outpatient treatment and declared him to be mentally ill and an imminent danger to himself fits the federal criteria and should have immediately disqualified him, said Richard J. Bonnie, chairman of the Supreme Court of Virginia’s Commission on Mental Health Law Reform.
A spokesman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also said that if Mr. Cho had been found mentally defective by a court, he should have been denied the right to purchase a gun.
The federal law defines adjudication as a mental defective to include “determination by a court, board, commission or other lawful authority” that as a result of mental illness, the person is a “danger to himself or others.”
So, instead of this being a debate over America’s allegedly lax gun control laws, what it really turns out to be is an example of a premise that is made clear on the streets of America every day. Gun control laws do nothing to disarm criminals or people, such as Cho, intent on committing criminal acts. All they do is disarm innocent civilians who are denied the means to protect themselves.