Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Bus Hijacking

 via Dog Gone of Penigma.

The story is basically this.  A guy with a gun and a history of alcohol problems hijacked a bus full of passangers. He made a lot of noise, but the police were eventually able to subdue him with a stun gun before anybody got hurt.

Of course the extremists will lament the fact that the bus driver wasn't armed, or one of the other passangers, but this is what caught my attention.

Flores has a criminal record that includes a drunken driving conviction in 2007 in Alexandria, Va. He was sentenced to 20 days in jail. In August, he was arrested for being drunk in public, said Arlington Police spokeswoman Crystal Nosal, who declined to release any details. Flores was convicted in October and ordered to pay $131 in fines.

Does that kind of record make him a disqualified person in North Carolina? Is drunk driving a felony?

Regardless of the answer concerning the technicalities of the law, my opinion is that people who demonstrate a propensity for alcohol related problems should never own guns. That's a no brainer.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment


  1. I don't know what the drunk driving laws are in North Carolina, but in many states there is more than one level of criminality for it.

    My understanding is that for the NCIS, any felony conviction potentially restricts the criminal from gun ownership. But, it is up to the state submitting the names to the data base to determine if they are going to include any specific felony conviction. They could, since participation is (courtesy of the NRA) effectively optional, only submit the names of felons who committed a violent crime or a crime involving a weapon. There are something like 9 states which have submitted no names at all, and another 20 states which have submitted very few (as in 100 or fewer).

    I did not check the NCIS data base for North Carolina submitting specifcally felony conviction names..........but they were among the highest in compliance for submitting names to the data base for mental illness, so presumably they are among the best states in doing so for criminal convictions as well.

    I'm inclined to think that if this guy is an alcoholic - a dangerous alcoholic, then it would not be too far fetched to categorize his addiction as drug use for purposes of denying him firearm ownership. Clearly his alcohol problem is part of a pattern of extraordinarily bad judgement and failed impulse control, which works for me as good reasons someone shouldn't be having a gun.

    The problem I have with alcohol disqualifying people from gun ownership we consider a drunken college indiscretion, hypothetically, that is not repeated in later mature adult life to be the same as someone like Flores who clearly has escalated his level of problem behavior? What about an alcoholic who is in recovery for years and years of sobriety? How do we recognize them as responsible individuals who could safely own guns - how do we manage that legality?

    What seemed of greater interest to me in this story, on re-reading it, is what is not specified. "A criminal record that inclueds" leads me to wonder if there are other more serious problems - violence, dishonesty, etc. - in that record. My curiosity is...if this guy is some sort of chronic drunk, how did he afford a gun?

    And why hijack a bus of all the possible vehicles?

    And hallelujah that non-lethal technology like a stun gun are used instead of going all Dirty Harry on the guy, putting the other passengers at risk.

  2. "Does that kind of record make him a disqualified person in North Carolina? Is drunk driving a felony? "


  3. " They could, since participation is (courtesy of the NRA) effectively optional, only submit the names of felons who committed a violent crime or a crime involving a weapon."

    NICS was brought to us by the fine folks at Brady, not the NRA. Better blame the hoplophobes.

  4. Sparky,

    A more important question is should a drunk driving conviction mean a person can not own firearms?

  5. I think that a drunk driving conviction should mean a person is no longer allowed to drive drunk. Since it's obvious that weak drunk driving laws let this sort of thing happen, we need to make sure if they drive drunk again that there's TWICE as many laws prohibiting it.

    Yeah, that'll work!


  6. kaveman, multiple drunk driving convictions ARE felonies in most states. One drunk driving conviction, maybe not - unless it becomes a felony because of an unusually high alcohol level, and/or the amounts of injury or property damage that result.

    Fat White Man, your incorrect (a pattern?). When the legislation to establish the NCIS was in Congress, the lack of funding AND the provision to make participation optional came from the NRA. Do your homework.

    Anonymous - I agree that the issue of drunk driving should not automatically exclude someone from gun ownership. But multiple instances of drunk driving....maybe yes, at least for a period of time. In MN we have drunk driving convictions drop off the public record (not all records) if there are no drunk driving arrests and convictions for a decade. That makes sense to me as a template for dealing with alcohol issues and gun ownership.


    Just sayin'....

  8. How about this, two alcohol related arrests and you lose you gun rights? That should cut way down, not only on crime but on the number of gun owners too.

  9. @Mikeb,

    What is the connection between DUII convictions and firearms?

    How about if they get two DUII convictions we take away their right to own alcohol and their freedom against unreasonable search and seizure, too? That way police could search their person and their house without a warrant or any other reasonable suspicion. That should cut way down, not only on crime, but the number of alcohol abusers!

    Let's just take away ALL the rights of people convicted of ALL crimes for the rest of their lives after they've served their sentence. Wouldn't that make us all safer?

    See any negative side effects to that?


  10. O: I keep hearing gunloons talk a big game about responsibility but when it's demonstrated they aren't--the gunloons are suddenly opposed to responsibility.

    The outrage here, of course, is that DUIs are generally treated severely. You can lose or have your license suspended, you can lose security clearances, you may lose your job, you will certainly see a hike in your insurance rates, etc.

    Yet, you suggest being drunk with a gun is a fine idea that ought not be penalized.

  11. @Jadegold, I don't know what "gunloons" you're talking about, I believe everybody should be held accountable for their actions and justice should be served accordingly and appropriately for the offense. I would expect to be held accountable if I abused my right to keep and bear arms or acted irresponsibly with my firearm, or any of my other rights for that matter.

    If you commit a crime, the punishment should fit it.

    It makes logical sense to prohibit those that have abused their rights or the rights of others from exercising their rights related to the crime. If someone uses a computer to hack into a secure system and steal or vandalize, prohibit them from legally using computers. If a person sexually abuses a child, legally prohibit them from being around children. If someone abuses their right to keep and bear arms by using a firearm in a violent crime, then legally prohibit them owning a firearm.

    You have to recognize that if any of those people are released and are determined to commit the crime again, no law is going to stop them.

    I don't believe intoxicated people should have possession of a firearm, no. However, the crime of DUII has absolutely no relation in any way, shape, or form to the right to keep and bear arms, does it? Unless you're just looking for any excuse whatsoever to deprive people of their RKBA.


  12. I disagree with you Orygunner. The history of alcohol related problems even if they don't directly involve guns, does definitely reflect on a person's ability to responsibly exercise his gun rights.

    Why are you double-talking around this obvious fact? Are you a bit of a drinker yourself? Is that it?

    Or, maybe you think the problem drinker who gets busted for DUI or being intoxicated in public all of a sudden sobers up and gets responsible when he's around his guns?

  13. I agree. Someone who is irresponsible with alcohol MAY be more likely to be irresponsible with their firearms.

    We can come up with all sorts of examples of this behavior is more likely to mean that. We actually see that in the private sector all the time. Some employers run credit checks on their employees because if they're irresponsible with their own money, they're likely to be unable to manage the company's best interests either.

    However, that's privately. If you know someone is an alcoholic and YOU don't want to sell a gun to them, then you have that right to discriminate and refuse the sale. The government has no business "guessing" whether or not someone is going to be responsible with their rights and discriminating against people who have committed no crimes related to the right you want to take away.

    What you're suggesting makes as much logical sense as prohibiting people from owning a gun if their credit report is bad, or if they don't keep up on their car maintenance, or if they can't keep their lawn green - all signs of irresponsibility. Where do you think the government has the authority to discriminate against people?