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Thread: A marksman in Iraq; No gun permit in Omaha

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    State Researcher Bill Starks's Avatar
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    http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_pag...u_sid=10578732

    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 pistolfor 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.

    He started to research gun-permit laws and applications and concluded that Omaha's permit application was overly vague on itsmental-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 hasever 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 questionon 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."

    World-Herald Staff Writer Jason Kuiper contributed to this report.
    • Contact the writer: 444-1272, kevin.cole@owh.com



    For those that won't read the whole story:

    *The permit was denied by the CITY of Omaha Police Department, not the state.
    *The permit was granted upon appeal.
    *The city is looking into changing the question on the form to prevent this from happening in the future.


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    Regular Member VAopencarry's Avatar
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    nice cliff notes.

    Was he tryin to get a permit for CCW or a purchaseg permit?
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson

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    State Researcher Bill Starks's Avatar
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    VAopencarry wrote:
    nice cliff notes.

    Was he tryin to get a permit for CCW or a purchaseg permit?
    Concealed Carry

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    M1Gunr wrote:
    VAopencarry wrote:
    nice cliff notes.

    Was he tryin to get a permit for CCW or a purchaseg permit?
    Concealed Carry
    I believe it was a permit to purchase that he was denied...

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    According to my disability, 30% is due to PTSD, the other 40% for bodily injuries. I've always wondered if the same might happen to me.

    Which has been one more reason for me to OC

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    M1Gunr wrote:
    http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_pag...u_sid=10578732

    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.


    PTSD is not a "mental disorder"!


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    Regular Member thx997303's Avatar
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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't marksman the lowest award for shooting?

    Then Sharpshooter then expert? That's the way the Army does it. Wonder about the Marines.

    Now Designated Marksman, that's different.

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    thx997303 wrote:
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't marksman the lowest award for shooting?

    Then Sharpshooter then expert? That's the way the Army does it. Wonder about the Marines.

    Now Designated Marksman, that's different.

    The Marine Corps Rifle/Pistol Qual is;

    Marksman, Sharpshooter, then Expert.

    However, shooting at 500 yds, OPEN SITES with a 30 year old M16 still takes some skill Most only score 50% at that range. The most I've ever hit at 500 yds. was7/10 in the Chest.

    Eitherway don't count on the news to get it right. They said he qualified with the .50. This could mean an assortment of things. Was he a Grunt ? a PoG ? Who knows.You really only Qualify with the .50 if your an 0351 Infantryman.

    Plus, none of this has anything to do with pistol training. You only recieve Pistol training IF your required to carry a pistol. Of course all Marines are schooled on the Contiuum of Force, and ROE'sthough.










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    Actually how well one can shoot a pistol has little to do with being able to carry one around on yor person. The question isn't how you shoot it butwhen to shoot it. One may be an Expert at rifles and pistols but unless he knows the laws and proper defense he is no better than someone who doesn't know which end of the gun the bullet comes out.

    A good point here.

    Plus, none of this has anything to do with pistol training. You only recieve Pistol training IF your required to carry a pistol. Of course all Marines are schooled on the Contiuum of Force, and ROE'sthough.

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    thx997303 wrote:
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't marksman the lowest award for shooting?

    Then Sharpshooter then expert? That's the way the Army does it. Wonder about the Marines.

    Now Designated Marksman, that's different.
    Army isn't allowed to wonder about the Marines.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    KBCraig wrote:
    M1Gunr wrote:
    http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_pag...u_sid=10578732

    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.
    PTSD is not a "mental disorder"!
    Give 'em a little while and it will be.

    Give them a little longer and desiring to lace your shoes your own way will be a serious mental illness requiring life-long use of psychoactive drugs.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    thx997303 wrote:
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't marksman the lowest award for shooting?
    Yes, just like Lee Harvey Oswald was touted as some kind of expert for being a "Marine marksman"; he qualified 1 point above the minimum score.

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    KBCraig wrote:
    thx997303 wrote:
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't marksman the lowest award for shooting?
    Yes, just like Lee Harvey Oswald was touted as some kind of expert for being a "Marine marksman"; he qualified 1 point above the minimum score.
    The Marine shooting ability isn't just how accurate you are on the "range".

    My brother can't hit clay targets in the air to save his life, but will out shoot anyone I know when it comes to ducks/doves etc.

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    Solution - stop getting treatment, then you can truthfully answer "no" the way the question is worded. Not an ideal solution, perhaps, but a technically sufficient one.

    -ljp

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    Gotta love the local gubbament:

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

    If all of us just did the minimum required in our jobs (like most local officials do...), we'd be replaced at the next opportunity, but yet, we (not me) seem to keep re-hiring these morons.

    It isn't the "city ordinance" they should be reviewing, it should be the State and Federal Constitutions that they should be in compliance with.
    When the **** hits the fan, ask yourself: What Would Bugly Do?

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