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DALLAS - Near the end of her short life, Shayla Stewart, a diagnosed manic-depressive and schizophrenic, assaulted police officers and was arrested for attacking a fellow customer at a Denton Wal-Mart where she had a prescription for anti-psychotic medication.

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Given all those signs, her parents say, another Wal-Mart just seven miles away should have never sold her the shotgun she used to kill herself at age 24 in 2003.

Her mother, Lavern Bracy, is suing the world's biggest store chain for $25 million, saying clerks should have known about her daughter's illness or done more to find out.

The case, filed earlier this month, has reignited a debate over the confidentiality of mental health records and the effectiveness of background checks on would-be buyers of guns.

"We know that if they had so much as said, `Why do you want this?' we would not be having this conversation because Shayla would have had a meltdown," said her stepfather, Garrett Bracy.

The Bracys said Wal-Mart's gun department could have checked Wal-Mart's own security files or the pharmacy department's prescription records before selling her the weapon.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Christi Gallagher declined to comment on the lawsuit.

But pharmacy prescription records are confidential under a 1996 federal law, so stores cannot use them when deciding whether to sell a gun.

Also, Wal-Mart did a background check on Stewart, as required under federal law, but through no fault of its own, her name did not show up in the FBI (news - web sites) database. The reason: The database contains no mental health records from Texas and 37 other states.

Texas does not submit mental health records because state law deems them confidential, said Paul Mascot, an attorney with the Texas Department of State Health Services. Other states have not computerized their record-keeping systems or do not store them in a central location for use by the FBI.

Federal law prohibits stores from selling guns to people who, like Stewart, have a history of serious mental illness.

Would-be buyers must fill out a form that asks about mental health. On Stewart's form, a box that asked whether she had been involuntarily committed to an institution or declared dangerously mentally ill by a judge was incorrectly marked no. (Her mother's attorneys question whether Stewart filled out the form herself or a clerk did it for her.) Wal-Mart ran a background check anyway, as required by federal law.

Michael Faenza, president and chief executive of the National Mental Health Association, applauds Texas' refusal to share information with the FBI database. He said it would not be fair to violate patients' privacy when there is no data to support claims that mentally ill people are more violent than others.

"The tragedies that families face when people are killed is terrible. And frankly I wish handguns were not so available in this country," he said. "But it's not right, in our minds, to make social policy based on just a few cases."

Garrett Bracy couldn't disagree more.

He and his wife watched his stepdaughter's six-year decline from straight-A high school student to violent and unpredictable stranger. She was hospitalized five times, twice under court orders. Her longest hospitalization, lasting a month, came in 2002 after she refused to leave her room or take her medication.

The suggestion that Wal-Mart should have checked prescription records infuriates Erich Pratt, a spokesman for the Virginia-based group Gun Owners of America.

"Does that mean mental illness prevents everyone on Prozac from owning a gun? Or women with PMS?" he said.

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (news, bio, voting record), D-N.Y., who ran for Congress after her husband was killed and son wounded in 1993 by a gunman on a Long Island Rail Road train, wants to strengthen the federal background check system by encouraging states to share mental health records. She has introduced legislation that would give states grants to automate and turn over the information.

She drafted the bill after a priest and a parishioner were shot to death by a schizophrenic man in a New York church in 2002. He, too, should not have been allowed to buy a gun.

"When you see these deaths that could have been prevented it's a shame," McCarthy said.

As the Bracys prepare for another Christmas without their daughter, they are urging lawmakers to support McCarthy's bill and dealers to conduct their own background checks.

"Lavern went to the store the other day to buy over-the-counter headache sinus medication and they limited the amount of sinus medication she could buy at one time," her husband said, his voice trembling with emotion. "But Shayla can walk into a store and buy a gun and they could care less. That's got to change."

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20041221/ap_on_re_us/gun_lawsuit

This kind of stuff pisses me off, so you follow the law and you get sued. If somehow they got her medical records and denied her, they would get sued...how about this...your daughter was F'd up...maybe YOU as the parent should have been more responsible for her actions. All they would have had to do was get a simple restraining order againster (her to herself) and it would have been part of her NICS check...and she would have been denied...not to mention she lied on the 4473
 

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At the risk of being the heartless-villain-of-the-board once again: too bad she didn't do the world a favor and execute mama-dada before she took the life that God gave her! :evil:
 

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So now to buy a gun, we have to ensure our proficiency with an approved NRA safety course, a mandatory waiting period, a check with the State Police for your criminal record, and now....ah, oh yeah, schedule a 3-stage meeting with a team of psychiatrists to ensure your mentally stable enough to own a firearm... Else, WE GON SUE YO AZZ!! Give me break…
 

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SOT_II";p="49597 said:
Federal law prohibits stores from selling guns to people who, like Stewart, have a history of serious mental illness.
OK, so thats nice on paper that Federal Law prevents selling guns to people with a serious mental illness, but if the information is not there from the states, where are the gun shops/stores supposed to get information, from sky? from God? from a birdie? :roll: Another well thought out law.

Would-be buyers must fill out a form that asks about mental health. On Stewart's form, a box that asked whether she had been involuntarily committed to an institution or declared dangerously mentally ill by a judge was incorrectly marked no. (Her mother's attorneys question whether Stewart filled out the form herself or a clerk did it for her.) Wal-Mart ran a background check anyway, as required by federal law.
Oh yes, and people are going to be so honest to the goofy walmart clerk about their intentions to buy a weapon and commit suicide or other crimes...GET A CLUE lady! Ofcourse her parents attorney is going to throw that out there that the mentally disturbed lady did not sign the form, hey wouldn't you if you had a chunk of that $25 million dollar pay off...thats easy enough to say when the dead person can't confirm or deny that either way.

As the Bracys prepare for another Christmas without their daughter, they are urging lawmakers to support McCarthy's bill and dealers to conduct their own background checks.
Rep. McCarthy is living in a dream world thinking all of the information (BOP, Mental Illness, etc...) could be available to stores. There are states that do not list the model of a vehicle on a listing and she thinks people going to have this info at the touch of a button, yeah, good in theory, but it does not happen. Get a clue.

Shame on the family for using their daughters illness, the holidays, and pity to try to make the case to the media and a large sum of money to boot. Obviously the girl had some problems, let her rest in peace.
 

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Maybe it's just me, but if these people really wanted a gun and couldn't get it at Wal-Mart (or anywhere else) they'll get it off the street.

And the comment the step-father made about her breaking down if questioned why she wanted to gun...Why do I highly doubt it? He obviously didn't know her enough to know she would do this in the first place, so he needs to shut his mouth. Ugh. I hate people.
 

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Oh YES!!!!!!!!!!

The poor clerk at the sporting-goods counter who sold the shotgun and ensured the young woman filled out her ATF Form 4473 and other paperwork to lawfully comply to the sale was so derelict in forgetting to contact the pharmacy and violate the HIPPA laws by obtaining protected medical information.
:shock:

Sam Walton will roll over in his grave if the corporate attorneys even THINK about settling with this family! And they better not even CONSIDER halting the sales of firearms cuz of this frivolous litigation.
:uc:
 

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SOT_II";p="49597 said:
Michael Faenza, president and chief executive of the National Mental Health Association, applauds Texas' refusal to share information with the FBI database. He said it would not be fair to violate patients' privacy when there is no data to support claims that mentally ill people are more violent than others.

"The tragedies that families face when people are killed is terrible. And frankly I wish handguns were not so available in this country," he said. "But it's not right, in our minds, to make social policy based on just a few cases."
Leave it to this guy to make a valid point, but then still insert an anti-handgun message in a case involving a shotgun. What a shitbird!
:shock:
 

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I go to wally world to boost my self esteem sometimes!! It's fun!

The only backfire to it is that sometimes you lose a couple of braincells in the process.


Scott :rock:
 

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Yup you know that the people would sue the rope company and chevy that is the name of the game today,got to keep the lawyers busy.
 

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hey Mom and pop saw a way out of the gutter thanks to their poor dead daughter, you guys know the daughter was an angel and did no wrong. Right?Except: assaulted police officers and a litany of other offenses.
Another bulls&@t law suit that will affect law abiding citizens.
 
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