Soldier Hero in Iraq not allowed to buy a gun in Omaha

The Omaha World-Herald has this remarkable story.

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.

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.

"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. . . .



Blogger John A said...

With new regulations proposed/implemented for "electronic" sharing/distribution of medical records (see Georgia) it is a good thing he answered honestly, it would have been rally bad to lie and be caught out.

His point, with I certainly agree, was that the boilerplate language of the laws/regulations/etc do not distinguish between the large number of people who seek temporary help from those who need more permanent aid and actually pose a danger to those around them. The person who is depressed when a pet dies is, in all too many of these laws, considered to be just as much a danger as one who starts stockpiling hundreds of pounds of fertilizer to make a bomb and announces a desire to "suicide by cop" or worse.

3/06/2009 1:29 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Putting aside whether gun control laws should exist, given that they do I don't see the issue here. A man with a mental illness has been denied a weapon. That sounds like exactly the sort of thing that the law is designed for, and with at least some reason (http://www.sftt.org/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=12294).

I hope this Marine's treatment is successful, and when it is it's hard to imagine someone better able to own a weapon responsibly.

3/06/2009 3:46 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

John A - I'm not too sure that the form should be differentiating in the way you suggest, but I'm sure the assessor should. And if I were the assessor and I got something from a veteran with PTSD that would give me pause.

3/07/2009 12:38 AM  

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