Rampage’ Murders with Hammer in NY: No ‘Background Check’
What Fox News is describing as the “grisly” murders of three women in a suburban New York home over the weekend raises some uncomfortable facts for the gun prohibition lobbying groups that suggest tougher gun laws will prevent murders and mayhem.
Thirty-four-year-old Bobby Vanderhall has been reportedly charged with murder in the slayings of his mother, his sister and the sister’s friend early Saturday morning. His weapon of choice was described as a framing hammer, a tool used daily by carpenters all over the map that can be purchased at any hardware store in the country, no questions asked.
The New York Post describes Vanderhall as “mentally ill.” He had reportedly been kicked out of the house by his mother because of his increasingly violent behavior.
According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2015, the most recent data available, more people are murdered annually with “blunt objects” than with either rifles or shotguns in any given year. Check the crime report for 2014, or go even earlier. The data remains pretty consistent.
In 2015, according to the FBI data, 437 people were murdered with “blunt objects.” That same year, 252 people were killed with rifles as the identified weapon, and another 269 were killed with shotguns.
Granted, there are annually between 1,000 and 2,000 firearms-related slayings with unidentified weapons, but the fact remains that someone intent on committing murder can do that without having to buy a gun at retail. Buying a hammer, machete, crowbar or some other potentially lethal instrument, including a baseball bat, takes a few minutes. Frankly, such possible murder weapons are found in many if not most American homes. They just might be more prevalent than guns, provided one believes arguments from anti-gunners that gun ownership is declining.
Apparently, according to published reports, the suspect got into the house via the garage, where he picked up the hammer. It wasn’t stored in a safe, it was apparently just lying there where anyone could reach it.
This happened, remember, in New York, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country.
The victims Saturday were Lynn Reichenbach-Vanderhall, Melissa Vanderhall and her friend, Janel Simpson. All were pronounced dead at the scene.
According to Fox News, which used some information from the Associated Press, the suspect’s behavior in recent months had “become more troubling.” He also had a “record of arrests for drunken driving, drug possession and sexual abuse, according to reports.”
There is no background check when somebody purchases a “blunt object.” There’s not even a credit check. No photo ID is required.
If someone were to argue that “it’s different for firearms,” they would be correct. It is different. Firearms are specifically protected by the Bill of Rights. Hammers, wrenches, bats, crowbars and rolling pins are not mentioned in the Constitution.
If one wants to argue about lethality, a visit to the crime scene at Reichenbach-Vanderhall’s home should clear up any speculation.