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Apparently Guns Cause Suicide

The Oregon Daily Emerald reported today that the family of a university alumnus, Kerry Lewiecki, who committed suicide with a firearm are now pushing the legislature for a waiting period for handgun purchases. From the article:

“People get the idea that they can’t go on living and they act on that within minutes or even hours of having that thought,” said Lewiecki’s father, E. Michael Lewiecki. “If (Kerry) had not been able to purchase a handgun so easily, I think there’s a good chance it might not have happened.”

I sympathize with the family’s  loss, but I don’t see any logic to the argument that people who decide to kill themselves are regularly purchasing firearms at the time of their decision for the express purpose of doing so, even if Lewiecki did. Sad as it may be, I’m fairly confident that, had he not had access to a firearm, Lewiecki would have found another way to kill himself. Unless we as a society are intent on putting 14-day waiting periods on sleeping pills, too, then let’s be careful to not confuse method with motivation.

  1. Josh M says:

    OK, EPT, let’s say we accept your argument that placing “conditions” on Second Amendment rights doesn’t negate them. Why not a six-month waiting period? Why not five years? Ten years? After all, there’s no way of knowing if you’ll want to kill yourself or someone else in the future. And no background check will catch that guy you kill in 2017. It’s really safer to wait and REALLY make sure that you’re not going to commit a felony one day.

  2. Ashley says:

    Hmmm. It would appear that we’re no longer hearing much fruitful argumentation from either side, so I think I’ll step out. I will, however, leave this here.

    From McDonald v. Chicago (2010): “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited…The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill…or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

    The syllabus of the court case can be found here:

  3. Betz says:

    Have you ever noticed how EPT waves things off as “doesn’t matter”, “redundant”, or “lol” without addressing them? Either he believes that even discussing the matter is too lowbrow and beneath him, and that stooping down to talk to the peasants would sully his dainty-white knowledge of the matter …. OR, he has no fucking clue what he’s talking about.

    I believe the answer is “YES”.

  4. Madison says:

    Mr. Thomas,

    The worst law student at Willamette could tell you have no idea what you are talking about. Just so you know, next year, you act so confident in law school, you will be the worst student at Willamette. But, hey Evan, here’s to defending rapists :-).

    Your Framer,


  5. NGA says:

    Haha…Java, so true.

    Ashley says, “If the government can place minor restrictions on the first, why not the second?”

    That’s not what the issue is. Take Java’s advise, read the thread.

  6. Java says:

    We just did. Read back 60-some comments. You have much to learn, Grasshopper.

  7. Ashley says:

    Java, I don’t believe it’s necessary to be so glib. Can’t we have a nice, civil discussion?

  8. Java says:

    Ashley, you stated, “The first amendment gives you the right to free speech, but other laws qualify exactly what that means, and how you are NOT allowed to use your free speech.”

    Well, whatever. I’m sure you know what you mean. Thanks for my Thursday laugh.

  9. Ashley says:

    Java, I apologize for the unoriginal nature of my analogy, but it is one that is used quite often and many people are familiar with. For the purposes of the point I was trying to make, it is effective.

    Also, I don’t mean to be rude, but this argument seems to be something of a strawman. Yes, you do have the right to warn people of danger, in the event that there is actual danger. However, that wasn’t the point I was trying to make. The first amendment gives you the right to free speech, but other laws qualify exactly what that means, and how you are NOT allowed to use your free speech. You could go into a crowded theater and shout “Fire!” or “Oprah’s in the parking lot giving out free cars!” for all it matters. It can still be qualified as disturbing the peace, as you mentioned, therefore placing a limit on your free speech.

    This is why I chose to make this comparison between these two amendments. If the government can place minor restrictions on the first, why not the second?

  10. Java says:

    Ashley, did you have to bring out the over-used “Fire”-in-a-theater analogy? I thought I had nothing more to add to this thread.

    If you smell smoke or see flames, even in a crowded theater, and you can’t find an usher, or for other reasons can’t initiate an orderly evacuation, you’d better alert everyone, even at the risk of some injury or possible death. And that just may mean shouting, “Fire” in a crowded theater.

    If your intention is simply to create mayhem, then it’s not about a Constitutional right or a condition compromising it. At the very least it would be disturbing the peace. Otherwise, the right to express your honest opinion about imminent danger is guaranteed. For all I know, it’s obligatory.

  11. Ashley says:

    @NGA: Pardon me, I didn’t spot your response until a second go-around. Honestly, I’m having a hard time responding, because you did a very good job of showing that my analogy didn’t quite work. I appreciate the lesson in rhetoric!

    EPT actually did a better job of explaining my intended point than I did: our Constitutional rights frequently have conditions attached. Sometimes that means you can’t shout “Fire” in a theater, and other times that means you have to wait a few days to get access to a gun. It was my mistake mixing it up with entitlements, as you pointed out.

  12. CJ says:

    States still can’t change the conditions of federal law, bra.

    What you mean to say is states can craft their own laws so long as they don’t contradict federal law. And since it was only recently confirmed by the Supreme Court that the Second Amendment is even an individual right and incorporated through the due process clause, states have a large (almost unlimited) amount of leeway in how they regulate firearms.

    Anywho, if you want to learn more about this, go stick your dick in a garbage disposal and flip the switch. Until then, have fun with your farcical notions of law.

  13. EPT says:

    Did you just like ignore the word “conditions?” We all have the right to bear arms, but dozens of states have multiple different conditions/laws that allow that to happen (some have no waiting period, some do). That’s the condition I’m talking about.

    Everything else you said is redundant, backpedaling or lol, so I’m just not going to get into it with you.

  14. CJ says:

    Evan said: “CJ: So, to you, any time a state level governance changes the conditions of federal law or right, or whatever…”

    Alright, I’ll be nice and assume you didn’t mean what you actually wrote there.

    Anyway, since you keep harping on me for bringing up the Bill of Rights, I support a broad and vigorous defense of the civil liberties guaranteed in the federal and state constitutions. Just because a law is constitutional doesn’t mean it can’t have a chilling effect (for example, D.C.’s onerous regulations, which make owning a gun practically impossible in the District). Sorry if this was a bit too nuanced for you.

    At least you’ve come around and aren’t declaring broad swaths of Oregonians’ legal freedoms not to exist.

    But I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree regarding your facile, unsupported reasoning for burdening Oregonians with another regulation.

  15. EPT says:

    CJ: We’re not actually arguing anymore. Though, I am struggling to find where I said states can change federal law. I think you just decided to make that up. I have given my reasoning for why states should change the law to contain a waiting period (not necessarily fourteen days), and you disagree. That’s fine.

    I agree with your definition of right and freedom, because it’s correct. I just happen to be in favor of this restricted freedom. I’m just glad you’re not talking about the Bill of Rights anymore. Nice to see you change your mind in a matter of two days.

    Madison: The Supremacy Clause has absolutely nothing to do with what we’re talking about. Unless you simply read CJ claiming that I said states could change federal law and decided that I actually believed that? But I certainly didn’t say that.

  16. Madison says:

    EPT – When you go to 4th tier law school, you will be so embarrassed w/ how you tried to explain yourself here. Supremacy Clause good sir. So many things wrong w/ your analysis. Seriously, Judge Judy on heroin and stroking her brains out screaming gibberish makes more since than you.



  17. NGA says:

    Ashley: Care to address my response?

  18. Ashley says:


    “Ashley… EPT… seriously be less retarded? It pains me to do it, but I will now attempt to teach a pig to sing.”

    Pro-tip: Insulting people in a discussion to make your point is bad form. Don’t they teach that in WR 122 anymore? I now am no longer interested in anything you have to say, and you wasted all that time typing information that you invalidated in your first sentence. Such a shame.

  19. CJ says:

    No, that’s not really what it’s like to me at all. Do you … have some sort of reading comprehension problem?

    First, it’s a state changing a state law (states can’t change federal law. You might want to make a note of that one for law school, champ), and if it is changing the law to be stricter, then yes indeed it is restricting the freedoms of its citizens. (E.g. Oregon banned OTC pesudoephedrine. Now you don’t have the option to buy certain cold medicines without a prescription.) I’m sorry I view that as a restriction and not a “glorious imperative bequeathed to us from the state.” I’m not talking about FREEDOM as in Braveheart, just the freedom to act in certain ways.

    I didn’t say that states should never restrict freedoms, that they don’t have the authority to, or that to do so is always a bad thing. We give up a lot of our freedoms to act in certain ways in exchange for a better society. My argument simply is that, if the state’s going to change its law to restrict the actions of its citizens, it should provide some good evidence as to why.

    Then you said that the freedom to immediately purchase a gun didn’t exist (even though people do it every day), and here we are, a few thousand words later.

    I’m glad you’re not me, too. That would be really unfortunate for me.

  20. Betz says:

    @EPT: “So, to you, any time a state level governance changes the conditions of federal law or right, or whatever… you view it as a “restriction of your freedom?”

    Its quite simple, really, and can be expressed (proven, even) via algebra:

    Suppose your TOTAL legal freedoms are expressed as the sum X. Now, Suppose you have freedoms A, B, and C, such that A+B+C=X. These are your freedoms granted to you by law.

    Now, when a law comes along to take one of those freedoms away (example, Freedom C), then you only have freedoms A and B. The sum worth of your freedom is now X – C = A + B.

    You now have less freedom, since X – C <= X (QED). The new law did, in fact, restrict your freedoms.

    In this completely contrived example, C = Your right to purchase a gun in the state of Oregon WITHOUT a 14 day waiting period.

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