Keeping Guns Away From the Most Dangerous

 Hooray! America has just set a new record. Want to guess what it is?

Record breaking high school math scores, you say? Nope. Maybe a record number of workers pulling themselves out of poverty or a banner year for a decline in infectious diseases? No and no. 

Here’s the news: on just one day last month the citizenry of the United States filed the largest number of applications for an instant gun background check. Yup. On Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, a record breaking 203,086 of us weren’t just counting our blessings we were asking the FBI to hurry up and approve our gun purchase. 

There isn’t enough room in this column to include everything that needs to be said about gun ownership in America — both pro and con. And, please, understand this is not an attack on the constitutionally protected right to bear arms so hold off on the angry e-mails. This is a call to take a close look at the criminal damage done by those who use guns to kill people.

Who are they? How can we identify them? And, can we stop the most damaging shooters – the mass murderers — before they take innocent lives?

“You could think of domestic violence as a canary in the coal mine for future violence,” says Sarah Tofte of the non-profit group Everytown for Gun Safety.

Tofte’s analysis of the problem concludes that in 54% of mass shootings the  gunman had a history of family violence that should have been viewed more seriously. Think about that. More than half of mass shooters sent up the red flag of domestic abuse before they turned their gun on others.  Tofte told Time Magazine, “We may not know everything we need to know about why and when (gun violence) reverberates outside the home, but we know that it does, and we’ve seen it over and over again.”

Yet, only 17 states and the District of Columbia have passed gun-relinquishment bills that force* domestic abusers and other violent offenders with restraining orders to hand over their firearms.

Could a determined offender get another gun illegally? Yes, that’s a whole different and difficult problem. But according to a study by Michigan State University states that take guns from known violent criminals have a 22 percent lower rate of intimate-partner homicide by gun. Naturally, it is women and children who suffer the most.

Two decades ago Congress passed the so-called Lautenberg Amendment that prohibited people from owning or buying a gun if they’d been convicted of assaulting a spouse or child or if they were under permanent protective order. That is reported to have kept guns out of the hands of some 195,000 angry people. But over the years the family dynamic has changed.  Live-in partners, boyfriends, ex-spouses and stalkers aren’t covered under that law.

Gee, I know Washington lawmakers are busy these days but maybe they could find some time to update this?

The Main Reason to Keep Guns From Known Domestic Abusers

You know what else would help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people? If the Department of Defense would obey the existing federal law requiring the military to report violent felons and domestic abusers convicted of crimes that disqualify them from owning guns.

Each branch of the service is supposed to pass on to the FBI the names of those convicted during a court-martial so they can be added to the national data base. The DOD has ignored its own inspector general who has been warning about this lapse since back in the 1990’s. According to a report issued just weeks ago, nearly one in three military convicts who should be barred from gun ownership remains unknown to the FBI.

The most recent case in point is Devin Kelley. He was found guilty during a court martial on two vicious domestic abuse charges against his wife and infant stepson and had a history of violence against women. The Air Force never reported Kelley to the FBI for inclusion on the do-not-buy gun list. After serving time in a military prison the disgraced airman bought more firearms and committed mass murder at a Texas church earlier this year. 26 people died more than 20 others were wounded.

Its Way Past Time For the Dept. of Defense to Obey the Law and Report Military Convicts to the FBI

By the way, three cities (New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco) are now suing the Pentagon to force them to comply with the federal reporting law. Sad that the department tasked with insuring national security has to be forced into action.

Every state and the U.S. Congress should pass laws that take away a violent convict’s right to own a gun. Common sense tells us that those who have perpetrated violence against others in the past should not be allowed to have the deadliest of weapons – a gun.




  1. Diane Dimond on January 1, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Reader Paul Raynolds – NRA Training Counselor writes:

    Hi Diane,

    Just for the record, this is not an “angry email”. I found this column to be of interest mostly for what you did not say as opposed to what you did say. While I agree that convicted domestic abusers need to be denied firearms, all too often a simple accusation is enough to deny their 2nd Amendment rights. Obviously, those who abuse their partners (or anybody else for that matter) need to be dealt with to the full extent of the law but they still have access to due process considerations; presumably you’re okay with this.

    Completely absent from your column is the criminal abuse of firearms that result in homicides. Consider that most homicides are committed by young black men often against other young black men. This accounts for more than half of the annual homicides committed in this country or roughly 13,000 (and no, this is not racist; simply a statement of fact). Moreover, the vast majority of black on black homicide occurs in urban ghettos and is directly attributable to gang activity and/or other criminal activity such as drug distribution. So while much conversation is devoted to domestic abuse we don’t ever seem to confront the issues above. Not an attempt to prioritize one over another, just an observation.

    Diane, as you know there are roughly 33,000 firearms deaths every year. After criminal homicide, suicides account for almost all the rest and this too was not discussed in your column. I’m not sure how any of the gun control initiatives talked about would influence either of these causation’s. Again, I’m as interested in preventing firearm deaths as you are but surely we must direct our focus on things that will actually reduce these numbers; not “feel good” firearm legislation that offends the 2nd Amendment as well as common sense.

    Lastly, I’ve often wondered why many women’s organizations actively resist armed self defense as an option for abused and stalked women. Not a panacea but surely some percentage of such women would benefit from arming themselves with a personal defense handgun and knowledge in its use.

    Best and Happy New Year!

    Paul B. Raynolds – NRA Appointed Training Counselor

    • Diane Dimond on January 1, 2018 at 1:55 pm

      Dear Mr. Raynolds,

      I hope you made note of the line toward the top of the column which reads: “There isn’t enough room in this column to include everything that needs to be said about gun ownership in America — both pro and con….”

      See, I write a column every week – and have since 2008. I have written reams on guns issues, including columns focused on the black-on-black murder rate, mass murders by perps who’s families had tried in vain to have institutionalized, children accidentally shooting other children with unsecured guns and so on….

      This week I chose to focus on two rather “easy to fix” gun death problems (although I admit nothing is easy when dealing with legal gun owners who are convinced the government wants to confiscate their weapons) But easy if more states would pass gun relinquishment laws and the military would just do what they are supposed to do and report military convicts to the FBI. Would that insure that NO violent person would have a gun? Of course not, but it would go a long way in giving law enforcement the ability to take away a violent person’s firearm.

      I’m a staunch proponent of gun rights and agree with you that women’s groups SHOULD get behind safe and sane armed self-defense. I also think it would be great if the NRA would get behind the gun relinquishment idea! I mean, really, who can sanely argue that a convicted domestic abuser should keep his/her firearms? Its just common sense, right?

      So, how about it? Can you convince your NRA officials to join the idea of allowing confiscation of violent person’s guns?

      And, finally, I hope you peruse my website (including my older archive site) and see that I often write about the very topics you raised.

      Happy New Year to you and yours as well. ~DD

  2. Diane Dimond on January 1, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    ABQ Journal Reader Henry Zee writes:

    Can’t disagree with a word you say, Diane. And I’m a “from my cold dead hands kind of guy” when it comes to Guns.

    But practically as you wrote this, a nutcase who wielded a gun and threatened to kill an entire family was released on his own recognizance here in Albuquerque by a nitwit Judge:…/man-released-just-2-days…/4725104/

    No number of laws or reports to the NICS database will solve the problem of lousy judges and pathetic, feckless district attorneys.

    And the miscreant will probably have another gun in hand before the day is out.

    The Air Force and the rest of the military won’t be able to do a damned thing about that.

  3. Diane Dimond on January 1, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    Facebook Friend Ronald Jeffries Tallman writes:

    They haven’t done much here. More has to be done with the domestic situations. Just had one in Colorado. I think it might be more than the 54% of the mass shooters noted with that background. Regulations need tightening. Unauthorized sales or borrowing a weapon in the commission of a crime must be a serious offense. Carelessness cannot be tolerated.

  4. Diane Dimond on January 4, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    Creators Syndicate Reader fsilber writes:

    I attribute this to the gun control movement. They just won’t stop yammering about guns, putting them on everybody’s mind.

    This not only puts ideas into the heads of crazy people, but it forces people who care about their rights to point out the lies in gun control advocates’ arguments and the fraud in their research.

    After hearing both sides, those exposed to the debate start thinking that maybe they, too, should buy a gun.

    • Diane Dimond on January 4, 2018 at 12:22 pm

      Diane Dimond responds to fsilber:

      I don’t really understand how THIS would be your reaction to my column. My point: we can do more to keep guns out of the hands of violent domestic abusers. Not really a controversial position, I’d think.
      But I thank you for taking the time to comment.

  5. Diane Dimond on January 4, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    Creators Syndicate Reader ramrodd writes:

    Where does this writer draw the line? Common sense?

    Politicians push Unconstitutional Elimination of Due Process..

    The Lunacy of Connecticut’s Gun Confiscation Law
    The goal is to protect women from the increased lethality at a critical point in a relationship: when they are trying to leave their abusers. About 14 domestic homicides occur annually in Connecticut, half of which are caused by guns.

    The purpose of the bill is obviously to protect victims of domestic abuse from their abusers; however, the mechanism that Connecticut has chosen completely ignores our Constitutional right to carry a firearm, as well as being a blatant attack on the principle that we are all innocent until proven guilty.

    The end of our liberty is upon us friends.

  6. Diane Dimond on January 4, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    Creators Syndicate Reader dasraa writes:

    Idiot! Criminals DON’T go through background checks !!!!!

    • Diane Dimond on January 4, 2018 at 12:27 pm

      Diane Dimond responds to dasraa

      this column was focused on making sure that those convicted of domestic abuse are investigated to see if they have a gun. And if they do authorities should confiscate it. You against that? ~DD

  7. Diane Dimond on January 4, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    Creators Syndicate Reader jsmith5893 writes:

    >> Re: “You know what else would help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people?”>>

    Yes. You could start by enforcing the laws already on the books and insist empathetic judges and DAs quit allowing people who use or possess a gun illegally to plea bargain away the illegal firearms offense. The feds are one of the worst offenders when it comes to enforcing laws. Straw purchases and lying on the 4473 form you have to fill out for a background check to purchase a firearm is a felony punishable by 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine – yet in 2010 76142 people failed the background check, 4732 were deemed worthy of prosecution and only 62 were prosecuted. Another thing you could do since most of the gun homicides are caused by gangs or repeat offenders is to advocate for a law that would impose a mandatory death sentence on any recidivist with a violent criminal history that uses a firearm to commit a crime regardless of childhood upbringing, economic impoverishment, mental health, age, IQ, ethnicity, $ex or gender identity.

    • Diane Dimond on January 4, 2018 at 12:35 pm

      Diane Dimond responds to jsmith5893

      while i’m not really a hardened pro-death penalty person I can’t argue with anything you’ve said here. we’ve got to start somewhere to control firearm possession by known violent people…I don’t mind baby steps as long as they work. ~DD

      • Diane Dimond on January 4, 2018 at 12:37 pm

        jsmith5893 replies:

        Re: ” And can we stop the most damaging shooters — the mass murderers — before they take innocent lives?”

        No. The sad fact is you can’t stop every lone wolf who is a first time offender so the reality is you need to get used to it. Even if all the guns could be banned, there are plenty of other methods available to kill a lot of people thanks to the internet – i.e things like pipe bombs (San Bernardino), pressure cooker bombs (Boston), propane tank bombs (Columbine), truck bombs (Oklahoma City), gasoline cans and a match (Happy Land fire on 3/25/90), heavy truck crashing in to a crowd of people (Nice, France), home made flame throwers made from plumbing parts and gasoline (nowhere – yet) and any pressure vessel filled with shrapnel and gun powder manufactured the same way it has been since the 6th century that will momentarily confine an explosive pressure wave. And when any of those things are used and there are no civilian firearms to deter the government from limiting our Bill of Rights, it’s likely no one will know about them because at that point in order to silence any criticism for actions they can’t control and to maintain civilian support and power, the government has no reason to allow them to be reported. In other words, banning “assault weapons” and standard capacity magazines just starts us down the road of incessant, progressive bans on other firearms with the end result being that only criminals and the government will have guns

  8. Diane Dimond on January 16, 2018 at 8:03 am

    Twitter Pal Judy Tworoger@TworogerJudy writes:

    Oh hell I totally agree with this. My mother killed my father with a gun because of a domestic violence incident. People who are violent should not have the right to Bear arms even know it is our second amendment right.

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