Jacob J. Gamet

Youth vs. Gun Rights: Checks and Balances By Jacob J. Gamet

In the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC), we have what you call Extended Family Visits (EFV’s). DOC 590.100. Prisoners who qualify for EFV’s are allowed to spend 1 to 2 days in an “on grounds” trailer visit with his immediate family members. In order to maintain his EFV privilege, a prisoner must submit to routine strip searches and urine analyses (UA’s) before and after his trailer visits.

For security purposes (introduction of weapons, drugs, etc.), DOC highly scrutinizes offenders who come into direct contact with their family members. Strip searches and UA’s are just two of many security measures taken to ensure the prison’s integrity isn’t compromised. For just because a prisoner passes one strip search and UA without issue doesn’t mean he’ll pass the next.

Each strip search and UA, among other things, is conducted as a checks and balance. First, it checks prisoners for contraband and their continued EFV eligibility. Two, it balances DOC’s interest in (1) offenders establishing sustainable relationships important to their reentry and (2) incentivizing positive behavior from offenders with longer term sentences against (3) maintaining prison security. DOC 590.100 – Policy I.

Now, imagine the implications of prison security if DOC removed its checks and balances. The result would be disastrous. Both staff and the offender population would be in jeopardy of the breach in security. Weapons and drugs would flood into prison and prisoners could reengage in the same criminal conduct that in many cases led them to prison to begin with.

Therefore, it’s not much of a stretch for some of these checks and balances to be implemented in the free world. If gun owners wish to maintain their gun privilege, they should be willing to submit to periodic mental evaluations while connected to a lie detector machine. Say, for example, that a neighbor alleges that she heard her next door neighbor, a gun owner, yell racial slurs to a passerby and threaten to shoot him. The concerned neighbor lady’s report would prompt an investigation that may warrant a mental evaluation of the gun owner while connected to a lie detector machine.

The threatening gun owner would be asked basic questions about his thoughts toward using the gun based on a disagreement with someone, feeling disgruntled toward someone or about something, or perpetrating a mass shooting on innocents. If he wishes to keep his gun privilege, he must submit to taking the lie detector test or, as a drunk driver who refuses the field breathalyzer test, his privilege “will be” revoked.

And if the gun owner fails to pass the standard test to the reviewer’s satisfaction, his privilege will be revoked. If he reapplies, he must pass the test and agree to additional probationary tests. The same goes for people who post violent-natured online content and are reported by someone.

The public has a strong interest in identifying which gun owners pose an appreciable high risk to society at large. This interest must also be balanced against gun owner rights. Considering the fact that we live in a world that is dramatically different than when gun rights were initially created, this discussion should be front and center on the agenda of our politicians.

But instead of politicians, it is the youth who are lifting their collective voice for change. Politicians should take a cue from youth that it’s time to shake things up a little. Victory is often attained by chipping away at the wall of opposition and not giving up until cracks turn into a hole.

About a year and a half ago, my own son was shot 13 times (for no apparent reasons) while on a run to get bread for the nursing home residents where he worked. After being placed in an induced coma and undergoing multiple major surgeries, he is alive today without disability by the grace of God. So I stand with the youth and lend my voice to their cause. And I say that mandatory mental evaluations should be required of any gun owner who exhibits behavior inconsistent with the exceedingly high standards of gun ownership.

Though one could argue that such measures are a prelude to a police state, the claim could be overcome by the public’s interest in maintaining safety and security. Prison strip searches and UA’s and drunk driver breathalyzer tests have already proven the necessity of checks and balances. Now we need to persuade lawmakers to pass bills that utilize comparable means to achieve similar results.

For the sake of our kids, let’s push for mandatory mental evaluations and lie detector tests for irresponsible gun owners.

Jacob Gamet
DOC #883302

8 replies »

  1. Great post. It is already in effect in my home state that a person with past mental issues may not own a gun. I think perhaps psych evaluations before the purchase of a firearm is an excellent idea. This should be documented before the sale. I am absolutely pro 2A. It is our right to protect ourselves. It is our right to buy guns. However, we must be smart and keep them out of the hands of people who cannot be trusted.


  2. Hooray for Jacob J. Gamet. Just how the United States could pull off such an adventurous overhaul concerning the quagmire of social and legal issues facing any gun control measure would be a miracle. But I agree with Jacob’s passion. We are a different nation now than at our founding. This truth requires new strategies to assure safety for everyone and still respect the presumption of innocence for the individual.

    It is this cardinal right, the presumption of innocence, we cherish and must maintain for ourselves. I deem it more valuable than the second amendment. The importance of this fundamental right cannot be underestimated even though it is egregiously violated many times. Look no further than racial bias in criminal sentencing to see its true. Yet, that does not warrant its dismantling.

    Presumption of innocence is both right and privilege. Rights at one time long ago were thought as “self-evident” and from nature and “natures God.” Never the less that does not seem as evident currently. Jacob Gamet has courageously stepped into the ring. A ring where heavy weights are slugging away at people’s integrity, character and patriotism with slurs and slander. It seems we have lost sight of a more central question. A question if not answered first may only render all further debate pointless. He tells his story and his story reminds us we want to presume others are worthy of respect and trust. Sadly, we sometimes experience the opposite. This fact compels us to lay down the gloves, presume the best and seek the ideal. Doing that will require we all give up something – willingly.


  3. I think this is an intelligent, well-reasoned argument. My only issue with it is that lie detector tests are notoriously unreliable. But I agree that some sort of regular evaluation should occur, in the interests of public safety.


  4. Very interesting idea- it’ got me thinking about this. Also, what about people with existing problems re. violence and/or dangerous tendencies being ale to just buy a gun?


    • Wow, I’m so not shocked. First the 2A is a Right not a Privilege so please don’t confuse the two. As a reminder driving your car is a privilege. And that’s why it’s regulated the way it is. When I see Mental Evaluation and Lie Detector/Polygraph I see big trouble ahead. Who is going to administer and later evaluate these tests? A anti 2A person or the possibility of someone with a anti 2A bias? Forget the fact that Polygraph are subjective on there own and are inadmissible in a Court of Law. But a quick question if you will, who will vet these administrators and who is going too pay these people? You can’t tax a right, and if you could how about starting with the right too Vote, can you see the uproar that would create?

      DOC policy 590.100 applies too the incarcerated, I am amazed you would lump me as a lawful Gun Owner into a category of societies not so finest..I am deeply saddend as well as insulted!

      How about this novel idea, its not really all that new at all but for starters how about enforcing the current laws that are on the books, laws are toothless when there not enforced and only embolden the law beaker, while drawing a moat around the Law abiding at the same time.

      Think about that for a few minutes and digest it?


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