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The Knuckleheads of the Day award

I make a bet this is a popular post.

Today's winners are The Delaware State police and Sgt. Benjamin Nefosky. They get the award for the following.

Delaware State Police stopped Alvina Vansickle from purchasing a .22-caliber pistol for self-defense because she was too old and a woman, said Superintendent Col. Thomas MacLeish.

The outrage that followed led to the revelation that Delaware State Police had been keeping lists of gun buyers for years; state law requires them to destroy these records after 60 days.

Without so much as a traffic ticket, the 81-year-old Lewes resident should have sailed through the mandatory state police background check when she tried to buy a Taurus revolver from Charlie Steele's Lewes gun shop last August.

Problems started after Steele made the required phone call to state police for approval of the firearms transaction.

An employee in the state police Firearms Transaction Approval Program noticed Vansickle's age and gender, and brought the sale to an immediate halt.

Vansickle's application was then routed to Sgt. Benjamin Nefosky, who heads the firearms approval unit.

According to MacLeish, the transaction was halted over concerns "based upon age and gender."

The police spokesman admitted, there are no age or gender requirements to own a law in Delaware. So the Sgt. took it upon himself to make up his own.

By the way, the Delaware police is breaking state law.

Word of the delay rebounded around Delaware's small-firearms community, eventually making its way to Dave Lawson, a retired state police lieutenant and firearms instructor. Lawson spoke to his former colleague Nefosky about Vansickle's dilemma, Lawson said.

Lawson said what Nefosky told him revealed there was a much larger problem in the firearms approval unit than keeping a small-caliber revolver out of the hands of an 81-year-old woman.

Lawson said Nefosky told him he searched seven years of firearms transaction records to see if Vansickle had ever bought a gun before.

Some gun owners fear any government agency that tracks gun purchases or keeps lists of who has them. They worry these lists could someday aid in weapons confiscation, fall into the wrong hands and serve as a road map for burglars and thieves, or result in increased scrutiny by law enforcement.

"I was totally drop-jawed," Lawson said. "I asked him how far back the records went. He didn't know. He didn't care. He felt she was possibly a threat because of her age, a threat to herself or her family. That's what the implication was. He was concerned that never having bought a gun before, why would she want one now, at 81?"

Lawson served in the State Bureau of Identification as a lieutenant, which includes the firearms approval section and other specialty units. He knew the law. Nefosky's concern about Vansickle's age and sex, he said, should never have come into play.

Lawson also knew the gun records should have been destroyed.

MacLeish would not allow Nefosky to be interviewed.

In an interview with The News Journal, MacLeish claimed all paper firearms records are destroyed every 60 days.

The electronic records, however, are another story.

"Our review of our electronic records indicated we had a glitch in the system, back to August 2005," he said. "They have since been purged."

The electronic records never posed a threat, MacLeish said.

Unless you are a citizen trying to purchase a gun legally in the state. Then it is a threat.

Alvina Vansickle did get their gun, The Delaware State police and Sgt. Benjamin Nefosky get today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Hat tip- Eugene Volokh at The Volokh Conspiracy


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Comments (6)

I would think this would br... (Below threshold)

I would think this would bring scrutiny to every state and local firearm registry process.

I always love the "glitch i... (Below threshold)

I always love the "glitch in the system" excuse. It's just so easy and never researched.

I knew a woman who wanted a conceal/carry permit. She applied and was received notice that she was rejected without being given a reason. When she questioned it, she was told there was no individual right to conceal/carry. She researched, got copies of the law as written and went back to prove they were wrong. Then they said she hadn't met the requirements and indicated she needed a weapons training class. She went out and got the training. Then they said she didn't go to a trainer accredited by the department. She obtained a list of the accredited training programs and got certification again. They denied her again and gave another excuse. She finally gave up.

And that's exactly what they wanted her to do.

"Knuckleheads?" You are far... (Below threshold)

"Knuckleheads?" You are far too kind. I have no idea what the law is in Kentucky, concerning the keeping of records for gun purchases. I've bought a rifle and a pistol over the past 4 months--insurance shall we say--joining millions of others who view a possible Obama presidency as a threat to future purchase/ownership rights. I filled out a form for each. The store owner made a telephone call, providing my name and address to ...I'm not sure who. Perhaps some sort of law enforcement group which checked my police record (I have none.) But how long will my written record be kept? Will the jackboots have this handy list to direct them to the proper doors at 3:00 a.m.? Will my home be swept with metal detectors should I not present my firearms to the "proper authorities" during the 90 day grace period the American people will be offered to turn in their future illegal weapons? Happy thoughts, huh?

Why hasn't anyone noticed t... (Below threshold)

Why hasn't anyone noticed that this is perhaps the biggest civil rights case of the 21st century?

Person denied Civil Rights due to age and sex.....


Just another example of 'tr... (Below threshold)

Just another example of 'trusting the government' that doesn't trust you.

Perhaps Sgt. Benjamin Nefosky might enlighten us on how many 81 year old drivers there are in Delaware?

One is a right, the other a privledge.

THE RIGHT FOR THE PEOPLE TO... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:

THE RIGHT FOR THE PEOPLE TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED and is these delaware doofuses cant understand those simple words in the U.S. CONSTITUTION then they should TURN IN THEIR BADGES






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