The aftermath of high-profile shootings are odd times. For one thing, we routinely see anti-gunners immediately call for various gun control measures that ultimately turn out to have no bearing on what happened. We hear about the need for universal background checks, only to find out that the killer passed such a check. We hear about magazine restrictions only to find out the killer used a 10-round magazine.
Things like that.
The other side of the aftermath, however, is how some people call for some incredibly stupid things.
Frankly, it doesn’t even require a mass shooting for someone to try to impose some pretty idiotic ideas.
In the wake of the recent Westerly shootings, Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha suggests a tightening of state gun laws to — at the very least — give hometown police chiefs notice that someone who lives in their community is seeking to buy a firearm elsewhere.
Asked about Neronha’s 2020 legislative agenda, spokeswoman Kristy dosReis said this week that one “simple change” would clarify that gun stores should submit the application to purchase a firearm to the police department where the buyer lives, instead of, or in addition to, where the gun store is located.
“A police department in the city or town where the purchaser resides is more likely to have additional information about the purchaser than a police department in another town (where the gun store is, for example),” dosReis said in an email. “That additional information, even if it does not constitute a legal prohibitor, could potentially allow that police department to take additional steps if there are reasons to be concerned about the safety of the purchaser or any other person.
“Such actions could range from having a simple conversation with the purchaser to potentially seeking a red flag order to stop the sale, if there is a legal basis to pursue one,” she said.
The proposal comes after a Westerly man, Joseph Giachello, bought a gun at a firearms dealer in Richmond and used it to fatally shoot a manager at his affordable-housing complex. He wounded two other women at the complex, Babcock Village, before turning the gun on himself.
The shooting is a tragedy, to be sure. However, what bothers me here is that Neronha is looking for excuses to bar someone from having a gun, even if there are absolutely no legal grounds to do so.
He’s simply using this tragedy to justify it.
Note how he’s made it clear that there may not be a legal reason for someone to be denied a firearm, but they still want to make it so the state has an additional information where they can act to bar someone from having a gun. That includes potentially red-flagging someone who hasn’t done anything wrong, just because they want to buy a gun and didn’t buy one in their hometown.
Look, let me make something clear. If someone is a danger to themselves or others, there are steps the government can take to make them not a threat any longer. The law is quite clear and if someone is that bad of a problem, then the state should make use of those steps to have someone declared “mentally defective.”
But if there’s no reason for someone to be denied a gun, it’s not the police department’s business.
Especially since the state has no firearm registration, meaning it’s none of their damn business who buys what and where, so long as the weapons in question are legal in the state.