When Jesse Sansone went to pick up his children at school, he was slightly concerned when he was asked to go to the principal’s office. He was afraid one of the children might have been misbehaving in class or was having trouble grasping a particular subject.
It never occurred to him that he was the one in trouble.
When he entered the office, you can imagine his concern when he saw two policemen there, but the concern turned to confusion as the police handcuffed him and dragged him off to jail.
It turns out that Sansone’s 4-year-old daughter had drawn a picture of a man holding a gun. When the teacher asked her who the man in the picture was, the girl replied that it was her daddy, and that he uses the gun to shoot bad guys and monsters.
The teacher alerted child protective services based on concern that the little girl and her siblings might be living in a home with an unsecured firearm in it. The folks at children’s services called the police because guns are a police matter, and the police went to the school and arrested the father when he came in.
Sansone was told that he was being arrested for an illegal firearm. He was strip-searched and told that he would be able to see the judge in the morning. The children were taken by social services. Police contacted Sansone’s wife and asked her to come down to the station, but told her no more than they had told her husband. She and the couple’s infant son were left sitting in a waiting room for hours with no explanation beyond the statement that her husband was being held on an illegal firearm charge.
No one asked Sansone or his wife if either owned a gun or why the little girl might have drawn the gun – nor, apparently, did they ask themselves if it was rational to be doing what they were doing based on a picture drawn by a 4-year-old. The couple was just left wondering what on earth was really going on and why.
Finally, after some 4 hours of this, the police let Sansone out of his cell, apologized for the inconvenience and explained why they had arrested him. Then they asked him to sign a paper authorizing the police to search his home for a gun – for the safety of the children, of course. Everyone was eventually allowed to return home, and they were even allowed to keep the clear plastic suction dart pistol Daddy used for shooting bad guys and monsters …
This incident occurred in Canada, but regardless, America’s government drones are every bit as capable of stupidity, and the story above could be just around the corner for us. That’s why gun owners fight so hard against laws and regulations that may seem very minor, inconsequential or may even be presented as “common sense.” We have seen the harm that comes when the immutable law of unintended consequences intrudes on legislative good intentions. Laws get enforced against people who shouldn’t have to worry about such things.
Here’s an example of red, white and blue American bureaucratic stupidity:
Man visits doctor for chest pain – loses gun rights forever
In the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre, one of the legislative responses was passage of the NICS Improvement Act, a bill that streamlined the process of delivering private mental health information to the FBI for inclusion in the NICS instant background check system. All firearms purchases through federally licensed dealers are cleared through NICS.
At the time, those of us who challenged the bill were put down as extremists and paranoids because even the mighty National Rifle Association was backing the bill. Gun Owners of America, with the help of Sen. Tom Coburn,, R-Okla., managed to get some safeguards included in the bill, but there was still concern about how it would be applied.
A couple of months ago a guy named David Sarti found one of those problems – or rather it found him.
Sarti was visiting a cardiologist after a scary bout of chest pain. During the consultation he described the pain and pressure and mentioned that it almost made him want to just kill himself.
The doctor asked if he was contemplating suicide, and Dave told him no, that the pain and difficulty breathing had made him think of it, but that he was not considering killing himself. That’s where it should have ended, but because of malpractice suits and various laws, the doctor was bound by a policy requiring that he send anyone talking about suicide in for a psych evaluation. Dave said he didn’t have time for such nonsense and was headed home to feed his chickens when he was snatched up by a couple of deputy sheriffs and taken to the emergency room. There Dave was a bit uncooperative with the doctor who wasn’t letting him go home to take care of his animals, so she responded by sending him to a mental institution for a full evaluation. Dave was stuck in the mental hospital from Monday evening until Friday morning when a judge finally heard his story and ordered his release.
Not long after that Dave Sarti, who already owned numerous firearms, tried to buy another handgun and was rejected by the NICS background check. He filed an appeal and got a letter from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation informing him that he had been designated a “mental defective” by virtue of his four-day visit to the psych ward and was no longer allowed to possess firearms or ammunition – ever. This in spite of the fact that the federal law specifically states that short-term confinement for observation or evaluation does not constitute involuntary commitment and is not a reason for a person’s name to be submitted to NICS as someone who should not have guns.
That was quite a blow for Dave because firearms are a very important aspect of his life. Dave Sarti is part of a growing community of people known as “preppers,” folks who are seriously concerned about the possibility of catastrophic disasters – natural or man-made – and build their lives around being prepared for such events. Sarti is a ham radio operator and amateur reporter who does regular videos on YouTube called The Daily Prepper Report. He was even featured on a recent episode of a program called Doomsday Preppers on the National Geographic Channel.
Dave Sarti is quite a character, and I’m sure a lot of people think he’s a little crazy, but there is no evidence that he is mentally defective or incompetent or dangerous, and he sure hasn’t been adjudicated as such.
This attack on Dave Sarti does more than just take away his right to own a gun. It cuts deeply into his life. It takes away one of his most enjoyable pastimes – shooting. And it leaves him feeling not just unprepared, but unable to be prepared – helpless.
Dave Sarti overcame a lot of challenges to build a rich and fulfilling life for himself, and now the core of that life has been torn from him by feel-good legislation, butt-covering policies and arrogant “professionals” and bureaucrats.
The damage done to people like Jesse Sansone and Dave Sarti can never be taken back, but hopefully they can overcome the new challenges and move forward. Dave Sarti is now having to use his very limited resources to fight the bureaucracy in Nashville and Washington, D.C., and fighting the frustration and hopelessness that comes with trying to make sense of senseless laws, mindless policies and heartless apparatchiks.
The next time you read about radical gun nuts opposing some “simple,” “common sense” gun law, remember Jesse and Dave and remember that good intentions do not always make good laws. And even good laws can do more harm than good if they are enforced with the blunt instrument of bureaucracy.