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6/21/2017 8:25:40 PM
Posted: 5/28/2001 4:26:32 AM EDT
LA Times http://www.latimes.com/news/state/20010528/t000044767.html Monday, May 28, 2001 Parents Urge Gun Rental Checks Safety: Shooting range provided shotgun to their mentally ill son, who killed himself. Range owners say they do all they can to prevent tragedies. By NOAKI SCHWARTZ, Times Staff Writer On a summer morning last July, a pale and shaking Bobby Prince told his parents he was going for cigarettes. He climbed into his car and headed south, past the stream where he caught bass as a boy, and rolled onto the Ventura Freeway. Five miles down the road, he stopped under the ticking clock tower at the Agoura Hills Target Range. Prince, 31, marked a single passage in his Bible and tucked it into the console. Then he walked into the range, rented a shotgun and killed himself. The clock's hands rested at 10:10 a.m. It was the fourth suicide at the range since 1995. The tragedy could have been prevented, his parents said, if the owner had conducted a background check and learned their eldest son was a paranoid-schizophrenic who had been arrested several times. Though his arrest record and illness prevented him from buying a gun, he could rent one for $10. Range owner Jim Davis insisted that Prince was a trusted, regular customer who never gave any indication of instability. "He seemed fine," Davis said. Suicides with rented guns have plagued shooting ranges across the nation for years, although there are no comprehensive statistics. In Los Angeles County, at least 12 suicides have been reported at ranges since 1995. The problem has caused many range proprietors to insist that customers either use their own licensed guns or, if they rent, to bring along a companion. Others have stopped renting guns. Prince's parents, Rosemary and Robert, said those safeguards aren't enough. They want the Agoura Hills City Council to require ranges to conduct background checks on first-time renters through the state Department of Justice. The council is expected to take up the matter within a few weeks. The Princes said they then want to take their fight to the county Board of Supervisors and the state Legislature. "We don't want to close the range down and aren't suggesting that guns don't have a place in the world," said Rosemary Prince, 58, rubbing her hands together nervously in her Westlake Village home. "But would you take a 2-year-old child and let them make decisions for themselves?" said Robert Prince, 60, as if to finish his wife's sentence. "Ill people are no different. . . . They don't think they're mentally ill."
Link Posted: 5/28/2001 4:28:06 AM EDT
In 1995, Northern California lawmakers discussed strengthening rental regulations after a mentally ill man fatally shot another man before killing himself with a rented gun at a range in Stockton. The reform effort eventually died down but not before five people had committed suicide at Bay Area ranges over the next year and a half. More than half of suicides in California are by firearms. Gun sellers must complete background checks on prospective buyers, which can take up to 10 days. Ranges are left to devise their own rental policies. There are 1,835 ranges registered with the National Rifle Assn., 142 of them in California. Members of the NRA and Gun Owners of California vigorously oppose tougher rental rules, citing their constitutional right to bear arms. "The problem with background checks is that it takes a fair amount of time to do them," said Merrill Gibson, a Los Angeles-based gun rights advocate. "Sometimes people really need to practice with a firearm. . . . I don't think it would save anyone but would decrease the number of people who would practice for possible purchase later." Area range owners said they do everything they can to prevent suicides. Davis, who considers formal background checks unreasonable, said he requires first-time customers to complete a brief questionnaire and wait a week before they can rent a gun. Bobby Prince filled out that form three months before his July 15 death. The last of the eight questions asked: Do you have a history of mental illness? Bobby checked "No." His parents said he never acknowledged his mental illness and instead accused everyone around him of being ill and out to get him. In 1998, they said, he was burned over 40% of his body after he convinced himself that the federal government had rendered natural gas nonexplosive. He turned on the gas stove in his mobile home, lighted a cigarette and blew off the roof. Davis, 65, said Prince's parents could have called the range to warn him that their son was ill. "Obviously he had a problem," Davis said. "He was 31 years old and didn't know where he was going in life. . . . I wish I could be of help in some way to stop this. It's a total waste of someone's life." The photos scattered across the Princes' dining room table promised a happier ending. Greenish pictures of a boy with butternut hair and freckles holding up a fish, a teenager standing stiffly in a tuxedo for his high school prom and finally, a weathered man holding his own 4-year-old son with the same butternut hair. Lt. Jim Glazer of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Lost Hills station said he spoke with Agoura Hills officials about meeting with the council and Davis to discuss possible rental restrictions at the range. "I think we can come up with some policies that will make it more difficult for someone to commit such a tragic act at that location," Glazer said. Bobby's parents said they never really understood how their son felt until they stumbled on the Bible he left behind. It flopped open to a haunting passage marked with a star, Psalm 31. It read in part: Terror is all around me. They are making plans against me, plotting to kill me. But my trust is in you, O Lord . . . save me from my enemies. Copyright 2001 Los Angeles Times
Link Posted: 5/28/2001 4:52:21 AM EDT
Ranges should institute a new policy that allows rentals only when people come with another person or come with their own guns. I still want to be able to try out prospective gns at the range, but I fear due to insurance liability worries, they soon won't rent guns anymore.
Link Posted: 5/28/2001 4:58:38 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/28/2001 5:09:05 AM EDT by Halfcocked]
Ranges should institute a new policy I don't think so. The dork was going to off himself some way. Better with a fire arm than a head on, on the expressway.
Link Posted: 5/28/2001 5:06:46 AM EDT
My only statement is Where were his PARENTS? If he was such a Paranoid Schizo... Why was he allowed to Drive a Vehicle. ANYWHERE, Unattended no less. Seems to me this could have been prevented if the PARENTS had done more to SUPERVISE their obviously dangerous son. Maybe if they had, this tradgedy would not have happened. As always... Blame someone else for your own inactions. They weren't Responsible after all. It's OK just so long as you can find someone else to throw the blame on. (Clintonism at it's finest) [:(!] Del
Link Posted: 5/28/2001 5:09:56 AM EDT
It's not our fault say Bobby's parents: "a pale and shaking Bobby Prince told his parents he was going for cigarettes." We just didn't want to deal with his problems right now, so we thought it would be OK if he went out even though he was obviously upset. It's not OUR fault, so it must be the shooting range's fault. Yeah, they're to blame--because he went there, they have to take responsibility for all his problems. We just got tired of dealing with it, and didn't want to ruin our 3 BMW lifestyle by paying the expense of a care facility for him. So, when he went to the range, the range "became" his parents, so it must be their fault. Now we need to find a lawyer to make them pay.
Link Posted: 5/28/2001 5:38:40 AM EDT
Quote from AFARR -
Now we need to find a lawyer to make them pay.
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That shouldn't take too long. Eric The Hun [>]:)]
Link Posted: 5/28/2001 6:03:19 AM EDT
darwin's theory at work here. dont blame the ranges fer chrissakes.
Link Posted: 5/28/2001 7:00:00 AM EDT
BTT
Link Posted: 5/28/2001 7:04:09 AM EDT
Originally Posted By SS109: Ranges should institute a new policy that allows rentals only when people come with another person or come with their own guns....
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My range implemented such a policy after a non-member who had never been there before came in alone, filled out the paperwork, rented a gun, and offed himself on the range.
Link Posted: 5/28/2001 8:28:14 AM EDT
Hundreds of ways to kill yourself. Socialist-Democrats picking on guns again.
Link Posted: 5/28/2001 9:04:50 AM EDT
Originally Posted By California Kid:
Originally Posted By SS109: Ranges should institute a new policy that allows rentals only when people come with another person or come with their own guns....
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My range implemented such a policy after a non-member who had never been there before came in alone, filled out the paperwork, rented a gun, and offed himself on the range.
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Poor Bobby.
Link Posted: 5/28/2001 10:34:50 AM EDT
Originally Posted By warlord: The tragedy could have been prevented, his parents said, if the owner had conducted a background check and learned their eldest son was a paranoid-schizophrenic who had been arrested several times. Though his arrest record and illness prevented him from buying a gun, he could rent one for $10.
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Is a person's medical record part of the background check? I thought it was confidential between the doctor and patient? Is an arrest grounds for denying you a gun purchase? The $64,000 question: would more stupid laws have prevented this suicide?
Link Posted: 5/28/2001 10:52:38 AM EDT
If a person wants to kill themselves there is really no way you can stop it. If he wasnt able to get access to guns he might have just slit his wrists or jump off a bridge or something.
Link Posted: 5/28/2001 11:09:05 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Chaingun: Hundreds of ways to kill yourself. Socialist-Democrats picking on guns again.
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If ya gonna rent guns, it comes w/ the territory... unfortunatly.
Link Posted: 5/28/2001 11:45:37 AM EDT
I feel sorry for the poor range workers and other customers. My suggestions wouldn't lower the suicide rate, but might make it easier on range customers and employees. I have heard this is a big problem in Japan, people unable to own guns, rent and commit suicide. I think I read the two out of three deaths by firearm are suicide, amazing.
Link Posted: 5/28/2001 11:49:42 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/28/2001 11:48:21 AM EDT by erickm]
Originally Posted By warlord: Is a person's medical record part of the background check? I thought it was confidential between the doctor and patient? Is an arrest grounds for denying you a gun purchase?
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If a person is "adjuncated" (federalese for declared) mentally defective the doctor or judge files it with the court. They can't get doctors records w/o a court order. Not for much longer though, another right that will be voted away by the commies. And I don't think any arrest by itself would deny you unless it's a pending felony charge or has a restraining order as part of it.
Link Posted: 5/28/2001 1:17:06 PM EDT
Yeah right, you need a gun to commit suicide. Bullshit! There are probably two suicides a year in the suburb where I live from people stepping in front of trains. This year we're already at three and counting. My sister, who commutes into the city, has personally witnessed four over the years while waiting for her train. She's been on trains, that have hit people almost a dozen times, most of which turn out to be suicides. Hey, let's ban trains. If someone wants to kill himself, he will. This is just another excuse to further regulate guns. It's a fu*king conspiracy!!!!!!!!!!!!
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