Let me make something abundantly clear up front. I support American’s right to bear arms. Additionally, I do not support blanket restrictions barring lawful Americans from purchasing firearms. I am not what most would classify as a “gun enthusiast.” However, indeed I own several firearms, including an M4 rifle, which is often called in the media an "assault rifle." At work, I carry an M4 Carbine, 12-gauge shotgun, and of course the trusty .40 Glock service pistol.
With that, all said… Yes! Beyond any reason of doubt...our, current gun laws are ridiculous here’s why:
On January 6, 2017, 26-year-old Esteban Santiago flew from Anchorage, Alaska to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Upon landing at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, he went to baggage claim, calmly picked up his checked luggage, which happened to contain a single semi-automatic pistol. Santiago went to the bathroom, loaded the firearm, and then began randomly shooting people inside the crowded luggage claim area.
Santiago would end up killing five and wounding eight people in the airport that day. Afterwards, he peacefully surrendered to law enforcement and was taken into custody without incident.
Remarkably, two months before his shooting rampage, Santiago walked into the FBI Anchorage field office and told Agents he was under the effects of mind control by the CIA. He claimed the CIA was forcing him to watch ISIS propaganda videos and ultimately trying to make him work for the terrorist network. Santiago’s behavior was so agitated and incoherent agents determined he was suffering from serious mental issues and summed the local authorities to have him taken into custody for mental health evaluation.
Now, back to January, Santiago boarded a plane in Anchorage, Alaska, landed in Minneapolis, Minnesota for a layover, and then flew to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport. He brought with him in his checked luggage, a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield semi-automatic pistol. A handgun he was able to retrieve and load while still inside the crowded airport, before he started killing people.
Remarkably, in light of the past evidence of mental illness, Santiago actually never break a single law until he loaded the pistol and fired his first shot at the airport.
Let that sink in for a moment…
A man, who walked into an FBI office, exhibited paranoid delusions to such an extent that local authorities were summoned to have him taken into custody for mental evaluation; was able to lawfully possess, and carry a firearm, with such impunity that it facilitated his ability to murder five people.
In fact, just so we are all clear, Santiago held a valid concealed weapons permit when he landed in the busy Florida airport and commenced to indiscriminant murder.
Does any of this make sense to you, because honestly, it shouldn’t? However, just in case you still are on the fence about how ridiculously convoluted American gun laws have become, let me share some personal information with you.
Here are actual photographs of the letter sent to me by the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation. The content of the letters pertains to an appeal I had filed with the FBI regarding the status of my ability to lawfully purchase a firearm in the United States.
That’s right. A current fifteen-year police veteran, who carries a gun as a requirement for my job; who has received almost 500 credit hours of formal firearms trainin;, has been cleared to possess a firearm within proximity of President George W. Bush in 2004, Vice President Dick Chaney in 2004, President Barack Obama in 2010, and Vice President Joe Biden in 2013; who has active access to the federal EPIC intelligence database…
Is currently BANNED by the federal government from purchasing a firearm through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
Why pray tell, would I be prohibited from lawfully purchasing a firearm, when there is a host of evidence to substantiate that I have more than a legitimate right to do so?
Well, that’s because the Indiana State Police decided my name seemed similar to some other person who shouldn’t be allowed to legally own a firearm, so they added my information to the “banned list.” I feel like it is important to note at this moment, that not only have I never even crossed the state line of Indiana in my life. In fact, initially it took me a moment when I found out, to remember where exactly that state of Indiana was located within the continental U.S. (no offense to anyone from Indiana).
So as an active police officer, I cannot currently purchase a firearm anywhere in the United States. This is a “right” or ability that had been revoked from me, without any due process.
However, Mr. Santiago who was suffering from clear indications of concerning mental illness was able to legally carry a firearm to commit is crimes.
So was Aaron Alexis, who killed thirteen people at the Washington Naval Shipyard.
Or James Holmes who murdered 24 people in Aurora, Colorado.
Then there is Seung-Hui Cho, who took 32 people's lives on the campus of Virginia Tech.
All those individuals exhibited characteristic behaviors of mental illness, and were identified by law enforcement or mental health professionals before they committed their sickening crimes.
Yet, all of them were able to obtain and possess firearms lawfully.
Of course then there is Stephen Craig Paddock, the man who just committed the worst Mass Shooting in modern American History. He was able to amass, an arsenal valued well into the six-figure range, in a relatively short amount of time without ever raising a single red flag. I understand that most people are accustomed to the political fear mongering or partisan ideologue’s rhetoric. However, do your REALLY believe that creating a system that would sound off some bells when someone purchases 150, 100-round 5.56 magazines in one fail swoop, is going to affect you? Or purchasing $150,000 worth of guns, ammo, and modifications in a year is going to cause you some duress?
Are you planning on spending $150,000 on firearms this year? If so, well God bless you. You clearly are financially blessed. Hell, maybe consider taking some of your lawful buddies out shooting with you. Because the what you plan on spending on guns and ammo represents twice the annual median income for the majority of Americans.
Ultimately America, it is time that we wake up and demand that our politicians on both sides of the aisle support common sense legislation regarding firearms.
What I am saying, isn’t some “anti-gun” rhetoric in response to the recent attack in Las Vegas. It is the exact opposite.
My message is a “pro-gun” stance.
In order to protect American firearm rights and reduce innocent deaths, we must be willing to pass genuine and meaningful laws that protect lawful gun owners.
The bottom line is that a system that can prohibit an active-duty police officer from purchasing a gun, yet easily allows the mentally unstable to obtain firearms isn’t evidence that the system is severely broken. Then I honestly cannot imagine what is.