Sources: Sheriff slaying suspect's mental health history was not in database
(CNN) -- Ten months after being released from a mental institution, the suspect in the slaying of a West Virginia sheriff was able to purchase a gun that authorities say was used in the crime because his mental health information was not entered into a federal database, two sources with knowledge of the investigation told CNN.
Tennis Maynard, 37, has been charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Sheriff Walter E. "Eugene" Crum and with attempted murder after he allegedly pointed a gun at a sheriff's deputy who chased him.He was involuntarily committed to a mental institution. That's an automatic disqualifier for firearms ownership - it's a question right on the 4473 form you fill out every single time you purchase a firearm. That information should have been sent to the Federal NICS when he was committed in February of 2010, but as of December 2010, nearly a year later, it hadn't. This allowed Maynard to purchase a handgun from a licensed dealer who performed a background check.
Let me repeat that. Licensed FFL holder. Federal background check. This wasn't some nebulous "gun show loophole". This was a dude who walked into a gun store, filled out the forms, and walked out with a firearm. He lied on the form, which in and of itself is a crime, but the background check that should have returned him as ineligible failed.
And yet they want to add more hoops and hurdles for peaceful gun owners?
We have a system in place that is supposed to stop people like Maynard from getting guns. We've been saying this for years - the NICS system that the Bradys and Bill Clinton swore would keep us safe should have been sufficient to stop this transaction from occurring. While a lot of noise is made about the "gun show loophole" - which is a load of crap, mind you, it's about private sales where you can and will be found liable if you sell a gun to an ineligible person - here we have someone who went to a licensed dealer and had a successful purchase despite being a prohibited person.
Please tell me why I should have to pay an FFL a transfer fee rather than conduct a private sale if the licensed dealers using the national system can't stop the mentally ill from getting firearms. All of the mass shootings in recent memory - probably of all time - are people with proven mental health problems. People like Maynard are exactly the kinds of people we want to keep guns away from - the bar for involuntary commitment is pretty darn high for a reason, and for him a mental hygiene commissioner even found him mentally impaired. This is precisely the kind of person the system is designed to stop from getting a firearm.
And yet the system still failed. In 2010, with modern computing power and the instant-access of the internet, this information should have been sent within seconds. Yet it took more than 10 months. Why? There is a serious flaw here, and before we start thinking about what new laws to add, we need to take a long, hard look at the many problems in the existing system and fix them first before we add more laws. Let's fix the broken system we have and see if it works before we come up with something ELSE that we'll neglect.
Unless, of course, the true intent isn't to actually stop the ineligible but to place ever higher burdens on the lawful...
That is all.