Decorated marine denied gun permit

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by satellite66, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. satellite66

    satellite66 New Member

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    Sgt. Tim Mechaley trained fellow Marines to fire .50-caliber machine guns. He qualified as a marksman. He fought in the battle for Fallujah, Iraq, and received a combat medal with a "V" for valor.



    Sgt. Tim Mechaley
    Back home, he uses a rifle for target shooting.

    Yet, when Mechaley sought to buy a 9-mm Ruger pistol for protection at his midtown apartment, the Omaha Police Department rejected his application for a gun permit.

    Post-traumatic stress disorder

    • 23 percent of veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and were treated by Veterans Affairs were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

    • 21 percent of Nebraska veterans of those wars and who received VA treatment were diagnosed with PTSD.

    Source: Dr. Ahsan Naseem, Veterans Affairs Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System.
    "I was trusted by the {federal} government to carry a loaded weapon, but now I am not allowed to purchase one by my local government," he said.

    Mechaley, 32, has received counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder related to his service in Iraq. While completing an application for a gun permit, he responded "yes" to a question that asked whether he was being treated for a mental disorder.

    "I circled yes because I wanted to be completely honest," he said.

    As explanation, he wrote "PTSD from Iraq Marine combat veteran" on the form.

    Mechaley's application on Jan. 10 was rejected, he was told, because of that answer.

    After talking with police, Mechaley said he had been "too truthful" on the application.

    He started to research gun-permit laws and applications and concluded that Omaha's permit application was overly vague on its mental-disorder question.

    "If I was actually mentally defective, it would have shown up on the (National Criminal Investigation Service) background check when I purchased my hunting rifle."

    What the permit form should ask, he said, is whether the applicant has ever been pronounced mentally impaired or has been committed to a mental institution.

    "That's what the (Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) form asks, and that's a valid point," he said. "I feel the form at the Omaha Police Department is too broad and misses the point of our laws."

    A psychiatry professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center said, however, that having guns on hand could be too big of a risk for some with severe cases of PTSD.

    Dr. Carl Greiner said he wasn't familiar with Mechaley's case and couldn't comment on it.

    In general, he said, "There would be some specific instances where I would be concerned about someone owning a handgun because of public safety issues."

    Using alcohol or drugs to deal with PTSD is a sign of potential trouble, Greiner said.

    "That could result in lowered impulse control and the person might be more likely to use a gun," he said.

    A gun permit also shouldn't be allowed when someone suffering from PTSD has a history of violence upon awakening, Greiner said.

    "If that were the case and someone wanted to keep a handgun under their pillow, it could be a risk to family, friends and others," he said.

    Many veterans suffer from PTSD, said Dr. Ahsan Naseem, director of the Lincoln post-traumatic stress disorder clinic of the Veterans Affairs Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System.

    "It would be uncommon for a combat veteran to not be affected by combat, which is not to say that each combat veteran would suffer from PTSD," he said.

    Naseem declined to comment on whether PTSD should be considered in granting gun permits.

    Symptoms of PTSD can include powerful, intrusive memories that drill into day-to-day life. Nightmares, flashbacks and problems sleeping are common, too, he said.

    Mechaley said his PTSD symptoms have improved with counseling.

    While serving in Iraq in 2004 and '05, Mechaley watched eight friends die in combat. When he returned home, he began to suffer from flashbacks and had trouble sleeping. He was diagnosed with PTSD and started going to counseling.

    In 2006, he was recalled to active duty to help train Marines to shoot.

    He still serves in the Marine Reserves.

    "I used to go in (to see the counselor) once a week while I was in the service, but everything is so much better now," he said. "I no longer have flashbacks or trouble sleeping, and I see the counselor only about once every three months."

    Mechaley compiled his gun-permit research into an appeal. He took a vacation day recently from his job as a computer technician to present his case to the city's administrative board of appeals. He documented his claims of weapon proficiency, military service and valor.

    If he had it to do over again, Mechaley told the appeals board, he would not have circled yes in reply to the question about being treated for a mental disorder.

    "Some of our brave police officers also suffer from PTSD as a result of trauma in the line of duty, and they are allowed to carry a weapon," Mechaley wrote in a letter to the board.

    Police department representatives who attended the hearing did not oppose Mechaley's appeal.

    Appeals board member Garry Gernandt, a City Council member, encouraged Mechaley to take up the issue of how the question on the permit application is worded with Police Chief Eric Buske.

    "The citizen needs to work with the city in a case like this," Gernandt said.

    Buske later told The World-Herald that in response to Mechaley's case, the police department is looking into changing the question "so it's not quite so broad."

    "We are reviewing our policy to ensure it is in compliance with the city ordinance," he said.

    The department handled more than 4,500 gun registration applications in 2008. Of those, 39 were rejected. Twenty-three rejections were appealed, and nine of those were reversed.

    The appeals board needed fewer than 10 minutes before voting 5-0 to grant Mechaley a gun permit.

    Mechaley was relieved with the reversal, he said, but still hopes to convince the police department to change its gun-permit request form.

    "There are a lot of combat veterans like me out there who come back and need some help to get over the trauma of war," Mechaley said. "I hope that my going through this will make it easier for the next guy to get a permit

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  2. jacksonco

    jacksonco New Member

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    Sorry that this gentleman had such a difficult time getting his gun. It does sound like the ATF form could use some tweaking. I don't think that mentally impaired individuals should be able to purchase a gun. I don't believe that this man was impaired or a danger but there surely are some out there. A person should not have to be put into a situation making it better to lie on the form. Darn near every other person in the uS is on some form of anti-depressant drug. That should not deny them a gun purchase. The form obviously needs to be reworked.

    And for the review board that permitted the purchase I give them an A+ for making this situation right. I hope there are not any future difficulties for this man in obtaining more guns if wishes. It will be interesting to see if this happens the next time he applies for a gun. I am hoping not.
  3. bcj1755

    bcj1755 New Member

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    My thoughts exactly.
  4. RunningOnMT

    RunningOnMT New Member

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    This is so wrong. The fact that one suffers from PTSD does not alter the fact that they as a citizen have the right to keep and bear arms. The symptoms of PTSD present themselves in many different ways and the vast majority of those with such a diagnosis are absolutely no threat to themselves or others. A very small number may be a slight risk but that is true of other members of society who may have no history of treatment for PTSD. We have many different personalities and temperaments exhibited in our society. Will we start taking guns away from anyone who has been seen losing their temper in public? People are grossly ignorant about disorders such as this and don't understand that how someone feels does not determine how they act. Prohibiting someone with PTSD from keeping and bearing arms is clearly discrimination against someone who has fought for the rights of us all. Since a person suffering from diminished impulse control may use a variety of means to act out is the state now going to require a psychological evaluation before issuing drivers licenses? After all, there is such a thing as road rage.
  5. Ed K

    Ed K New Member

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    Have any vets been denied jobs in L.E. for this if not it's basis for suit
  6. Marlin T

    Marlin T Active Member

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    :mad:THANK YOU NRA:mad:
    :mad:DEMOCTATS:mad:
    :mad:VA:mad:
    :mad:RAND ORGANIZATION:mad:
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2009
  7. Marlin T

    Marlin T Active Member

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  8. 1shot1k

    1shot1k Former Guest

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    This is an important subject to many people...and a good Post.

    I am sure I remember a short TV or movie or maybe it was a written story involving an active duty soldier being able to return to "armed" status. I am SURE it has been since gulf activity.....

    I will not go into meds or social problems or living a life with noone touching you while asleep........I have always believed that a person (and I woul dhope myself ) would kinda know when they should stop...driving...certain things..etc...and that they should know wether to keep a firearm ( or hell..a machete for that matter ) near and close for use.

    This has not been much of an issue for me as I would not check a box like that if I did not truly believe I was mentally challenged to complete process.

    However, and I dont mind saying it..the issue of my Wife's concern, has/was been another story. My friends...it was a long , long time before my wife REALLY knew ( being from abused relationship earlier ) how much control I had over my temper and the actual true abillity I showed to stop short of ...well....really ending someones situation.....

    She is more glad of (more glad?) of the "castle law " allowing any legal texan to carry in vehicle or other personal property..vs for my carrying in public places other than to bank or quick store......as she feels ( bless her poor misgiven heart ) that as long as I draw breath and can walk with her.. she is safe having observed me in a much younger time ( she forgets age ) dispatch situations with prejudiced hands....

    In closing, I do not believe individuals who show or have shown their cognative knowledge of such problems and have gotten help , much less, asked for it...should be descriminated ib this area or others....

    One final note..as I want to keep my critism fair when I can..I do wonder in the above report shown , if catagorizing a municipality's requirements on a questionaire as "obama"s input"......I find it hard to believe his influence and exec orders have flown so far and deep since 01/20....?

    :cool:
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2009
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