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Dutchess_III's avatar

What would you do if a person you know to be mentally unstable said they passed a background check and put a .38 on layaway?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42477points) November 14th, 2015

This person is a life long drunk and drug user, now in his late 60’s. He starts his day with a Bloody Mary, and drinks on through the day, turns to hard liquor in the evening.
He becomes belligerent and violent when he’s been drinking and using, which is a daily occurrence.
He lives in a very low income area prone to violence and break ins.

On FB he posted that he’d passed a background check and put a .38 on layaway because of the “kooks” in his neighborhood. He doesn’t realize, of course, that he’s the Head Kook Of All.

This is an absolute tragedy waiting to happen. What can I do?

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25 Answers

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Go to the authorities and tell them what you just told us, after that I don’t think there is anything else you can do.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Nothing. He is of age and it is legal in your state to own a gun. His behavioral habits (drinking) are no business of the police unless (or until) he does something that gets him arrested.

With respect, you are being a nosy busybody. He may not be your best friend, and he may have habits you dislike, but current US law makes him legal.

What isn’t relevant:
– that he drinks morning and night
– that he is belligerent
– that he lives in a low income are

What is relevant:
– he hasn’t been cited by the police for drinking / driving / belligerency
– he has not been diagnosed as mentally ill

If you call the police (which I think is a colossally bad idea), they will laugh at you.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I disagree @elbanditoroso. His drinking is absolutely relevant. Absolutely. It fuels anger, paranoia and belligerence. It also impairs his judgement.

The fact that he lives in a low income area is also relevant. By his own words it’s a violent neighborhood. Low income neighborhoods often are. He says that the cops are called almost daily (or nightly) throughout the neighborhood, responding to calls about violence and crime. Just a couple of days ago some drunken guy came pounding on their door accusing them of something. He got in his wife’s face, shaking his finger at her. Everybody was drunk. You think he wouldn’t have shot him at that moment if he’d had a gun?

As to whether he’s been cited for anyone those things, I don’t know, but I’d put $1000 bucks down that he has. I have a feeling that whomever does the background checks may look past it all to get his money.

But, you’re right. Let’s just let a little kid get killed during a one of his drunken rages, which he won’t even remember the next morning. Then they’ll take his gun away. Maybe.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Dutchess_III If he passed a background check there is nothing you can do except get yourself into trouble. You want to get an armed alcoholic mad at you? Really? FYI dealers don’t do the checks, that would be a conflict of interest. The state does and it comes back yes or no. I have known several dealers and they will tell you that a good number of people don’t pass the checks. All you can do is simply stay away if you think the situation is dangerous.
It also sounds like you are getting into something that is none of your business. Care to elaborate more about this person? family, friend, neighbor? Has anyone tried to get him help for his alcohol problem?

Seek's avatar

I’d choose not to visit, for one…

zenvelo's avatar

I would stay away from him, and never invite him to visit.

You have just described why the present structure of background checks for gun purchases means nothing.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@zenvelo Basically taking the bait here but what would you propose to make it better?

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Dutchess_III – like I said, it may be relevant to you, but it won’t be relevant to the police until he does something to break the law – which he hasn’t done.

If you call them and say “there’s a guy down the street who has a .38 on layaway and he drinks a lot” they’re going to say “so what?” and “mind your own business”.

tinyfaery's avatar

@Seek Best answer. Stay away from that guy. You made me laugh.

I understand your thought process. You care about what harm he might cause. You should be cautious. Legally, no one cares. 856,567th reason America is fucked.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I don’t see how he would know it was me who called.

Here is the deal: My mother’s family all hail from the Northwest. My cousin, I’ll call her Sherry, lived in Alaska most of her adult life. I’d only met her once, in 2006. I’d gone to the Seattle area to visit my Mom and was staying with my aunt and uncle, and Sherry had reason to stay over two nights I was there. She was…all strung out. Moving, moving, twitching, sneaking hard liquor in, even though our Aunt and Uncle frowned on hard liquor, mumbling to herself.

Then, for whatever reason, things were falling apart (again) she moved to Wichita to get away from something. This was about 6 years ago. I don’t think she knew I lived not far from there.

That’s when she met “Brad,” the guy she’s with now. He’s an “incomplete paraplegic” from a serious motorcycle accident he was in not long after they met.

Anyway, we kind of hooked up on Facebook (often her posts are rambling and incoherent), and I learned she had several original photographs of our ancient family members, so I arranged to go to Wichita, about 70 miles away, to pick them up. I scanned them and then returned them, so I’ve only visited with them twice.

That is the only real contact I’ve had with them. They’re just…out of it. Really, really out of it. Sherry says when they get drunk they get into horrendous fights, but she talks about it like it’s normal, like everyone acts like that. They casually told a story of some drunk gal taking off her clothes peeing all over their furniture one night, and Brad physically threw the woman out. But they thought it was funny as hell.

She said they have wasted people, people they don’t even know, beating on their door in the middle of the night, cursing and screaming, because that’s the kind of neighborhood they live in.

Someone is gonna get killed. I just hope it’s not an innocent child.

I’m with @zenvelo. If Brad passed a background check (If one was even done) then there is something seriously wrong with our process.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Dutchess_III The process for hand gun permits in my state are:

Must be 18 years old
Must be a resident of county for a minimum of 30 days
Must have a valid NC Driver’s License or NC ID Card displaying your current residential address.
Resident Aliens: Must bring a resident alien card, social security card and a NC driver’s license or NC ID card
Military personnel must bring forms 1380E (active duty) or DD-214 (discharged).
Naturalized Citizens: Must bring your Naturalization Certificate or valid US Passport
U.S. Citizens born outside of the U.S.A. to U.S. parent(s) must bring your documentation from the Department of State (Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Certificate of Citizenship, or Certification of Report of Birth)
Must NOT be convicted of any felony, or similar offense in any jurisdiction or currently under indictment for any felonious offense
Must NOT be a fugitive from justice
Must NOT be an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana, any depressant, stimulant or narcotic drug
Must NOT be adjudged incompetent on grounds of mental illness, nor have been committed to any mental institution
Must NOT be convicted of a Domestic Violence Offense
Must NOT have unresolved criminal charges pending
Must NOT have a suspended driver’s license
Must NOT have a substantial history of convictions, arrests, or reports demonstrating a continuing pattern of criminal activity
Must NOT be discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions
Must NOT be an illegal alien or unlawfully residing in the United States
Must NOT have been a citizen of the United States and renounced that citizenship

Nowhere does it say if Duchess thinks the guy is a “whack Job” or he likes a Bloody Mary for an eye opener, he can’t get a permit.
The whack job has to a proven record.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, do they actually take the time to check all of that, or do they just go by the answers the potential purchaser gives them?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Dutchess_III See my answer. ^ ^ ^ It is not a flip of the coin. It has to be recorded in the legal system that is used for the review, before issuing a permit. It is not answers on a form.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Maybe I’ll go try and buy a gun sometime, see what my experience is.

But I’ll keep you guys updated. Something is going to happen. I know it in my bones.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Dutchess_III You do it legally ,you first inquire at a gun store and ask what you have to do to buy a firearm,they will tell you,then follow the steps and if you pass you can get your gun.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I just want to see the process for myself. If they’ll let me, I’d like to see the website where they get their information.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Why not just do the leg work, and see what it takes for you to legally obtain say a 22 hand gun,if you are satisfied with what you have to do then great, but if you think it’s a joke then maybe write an article about it ,then sell it to a paper or post it on line.
If you pass you don’t actually have to buy the gun,you are just in a position to do so if you choose.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s what I said I was going to do.

Dutchess_III's avatar

“But an equally big problem is that the system of background checks is notoriously underfunded, understaffed, and underresourced. Although there are no waiting periods under federal law, a check that turns out inconclusive can be extended for three business days. But these three days are a maximum for the government — and sometimes, the three days lapse without the FBI completing its check, and a buyer can at that point purchase a gun without the completed check.” ~Source

He posted a picture of himself looking all threatening, with his new gun. He’s crippled. He said, “I may not be able to run, but I damn sure don’t have to hide.”
I just hope he doesn’t kill my cousin in a drunken fit of rage. Or a kid in the neighborhood. Or a lady hanging clothes on a clothes line. Stay tuned.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

How are you doing with trying to buy a firearm yourself?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, I haven’t tried.

Dutchess_III's avatar

A post he made today, “Fuck these liberals.I can’t physically protect my self or [my cousin] second amendment is that I have to bear arms I’m not gonna be a sitting duck”

Dutchess_III's avatar

I went to helping hands like every body else.and [my cousin] went there the only reason I went there for [my cousin].we had no furniture lost everything due to bed bugs I’m not asking for sympathy I’m just stating a fact.we went through all the channels like they told us and then I have to be told by my brother we we’re dropping his wife’s name. [my cousin] got us in there.recognize.

Seek's avatar

^ Val, hon, are you drunk? You’re not writing like yourself. Haha.

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