Gun Violence Victims Detained, Put Through Background Check For Yelling ‘Shame On You’ At Senators

Written by Igor Volsky

“Shame on you!” Patricia Maisch and Lori Haas yelled in rapid succession at the 46 senators who had just voted to kill a compromise amendment to expand background checks for gun purchases at gun shows or online. The women were sitting in the gallery with a large group of gun violence victims as the Senate responded to the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut by defeating the measure advocates and law enforcement officials consider crucial to keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.

The pair has first-hand experience with the consequences of the broken system. In 2011, Maisch was hailed as a hero for disarming Tucson shooter Jared Loughner by preventing him from reloading a fresh magazine. Haas’ daughter Emily was shot twice during the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 and survived, leading her to become a proponent of stronger gun regulations. But on Wednesday afternoon, the two women faced tighter scrutiny for interrupting a Senate proceeding than many individuals seeking to purchase guns.

As they left the Senate gallery, a police officer approached and asked them to follow him. The three walked downstairs to a public hallway, where they were peppered with questions: “What’s your name?” “Where are you from?” “What are your Social Security numbers?” The officer left to run a background check on the women, who were instructed to sit on a bench. Another uniformed officer watched over them, even escorted Haas to the bathroom and told her she couldn’t lock the stall door.

Sitting there, waiting for the officer to return, Haas stewed over the failed vote. “I just can’t fathom that these people don’t have a heart,” she told ThinkProgress in a phone interview. “If they had seen, just one miniscule of the pain I’ve seen from the Virginia Tech families and so many other families that I’ve worked with in the last 6 years, they couldn’t help but want to do something about stopping gun violence.”

An hour and a half later, another law enforcement official approached and quizzed the the two women further. He asked them about their intentions and where they were from, why they were in D.C., how long they planned to stay and when they were leaving.

The entire ordeal stretched for almost two hours — approximately 115 minutes longer than a background check at a federal gun dealer. Haas noted the irony of undergoing hours of questioning while permitting gun purchases without any screening at gun shows or online.

“The irony is not lost on me and it’s not lost on the American public,” Haas said. “Very ironic that an hour and a half investigation into two women shouting in the Senate gallery takes place and yet real criminals and other prohibited purchasers get willy nilly access to fire arms.”

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.


Photo: tuchodi/flickr


Kay M.
.3 years ago

I made my comment back in April, 2013, I reread the article and over 300 comments again today, and oh boy some of the members had some terrific comments and ideas. Keep the information coming.

marc horton
marc horton3 years ago

i hope a lot of laws are formed in relation to guns,why does an every day joe or jane even need a firearm? i guess if they like to hunt for food...i dunno i guess this whole complex issue is sort of over my head....p.s. to you commenters marc p and cletus m get a room man go have your stupid bickering elsewhere please!

Tom Jack
Tom Jack3 years ago

The whole world is watching. More people die each year in the US from gun violence than in most parts of the world. Guns are not the problem; an overly permissive, gaming violent, and hate- media society is. We teach anti social behavior by letting it pervade every facet of our lives. Time to teach people how to get along versus letting them tear each other to pieces, figuratively and literally.

Cletus W.
Cletus W.3 years ago

Marc P. -- How are those French lessons coming along?

Marc P.
Marc P.3 years ago

Cletus W.: Your first paragraph describes you succinctly. Thanks for that. As for the rest of your drivel I note that you use words to describe people like "Eggplant" - That is Racist and you know it. (Not that I am surprised.... But the people reading your tripe deserve to know also.) Further you assign values to people such as "Monkey" and "Insect." My, how lofty you are! Thank you for letting us all know that you are a tiny minded bigot who thinks himself above everyone. What? Did some Conservative group pay you to come on this site to stir up trouble? You are WAY to bigoted and narrow minded to be Progressive. Trying to have intellectual discourse with you is like attempting to teach a Jackass to speak french.

Cletus W.
Cletus W.3 years ago

....and thanks for playing our home version of "Hide the Teatard", the fun family game that encourages everyone, from 6 year-old Billy to 80 year-old gramps, to momentarily disregard even the most obvious of family genetic defects and to pretend their fellow family members are productive citizens, instead of the abysmal rightwing drama queens they really are.

Eggplants like you who arrogantly think they have the ability to interpret the Constitution for the rest of us, based merely on the fleeting fairytales told to them by their senseless media lords, IS the problem with this country. The very insects who rant and rave about "activist judges" are the ones who are actually benefitting the most from previous "activist" rulings, like the ones that allow citizens to own guns OUTSIDE of militia membership...i.e. outside of the ACTUAL wording of the 2nd Amendment. It is this VERY arrogance that allows the infestation to ignore reality (and the ACTUAL Constitution) altogether and to further claim that the gov't has no right at all to regulate arms because of the extra-constitutional, devine intervention known as "nativist" rights.

And yet somehow, by swinging along in the trees with rightwing monkeys that have N-R-A branded on their smelly bright-red rumps, this makes you a "progressive"? I'd surely like to see the Chinese calculus that derived that outcome!

Marc P.
Marc P.3 years ago

Cletus W.: Are you sure your name isn't Cletus Delroy Spuckler? You know - The slack jawed yokel from The Simpsons??? You sure spew a whole lot of vitriol. And the fumes I inhale come from no cesspool. Just because I support the Second Amendment does NOT mean I am not Progressive. It means that I have not sold my soul to any one ideology and instead think independently. I dislike gun control as much as I appall anti abortion efforts. Try thinking outside the box Cletus. And you are right - I do not talk for you or your gun rights. I speak of the Constitutional Rights of everyone. Of course, judging by the vapid, vaporous comments entwined with senseless attempts at rudeness coming from you I understand completely that you lack the intellectual perspicacity to think yourself out of a maze shaped like a hallway with a door at both ends, never mind fathom the complexities of the Constitution. You have indeed "Informed me." But it was unnecessary, really. - I already knew you are a slack jawed, backwater yokel with an apparent education of a 3rd grader. But thanks for sharing.

Edvanir L.
Edvanir L.3 years ago

Smokey said: "Microsoft now has created almost 100,000 jobs and have almost 9 trillion shares of stock owned by people. Apple now has created over 300,000 jobs and has over 900 millions shares outstanding, Does this make Bill Gates and Steve Jobs bad because they gave 400,000 people jobs.

If people hate corporations so much why don't they create their own businesses. If they don't or can't do that maybe they should thank those that took a risk and created jobs.

Nobody owes us anything...".

Interesting: Corporations don't owes us anything, but WE own their owners a "thank you" note.

Seriously?? Where would Bill Gates be without having personnel working for him? Would he be the Bill gates we know today? I don't think so. Ideas are as relevant to a society as the executors of those ideas. Diminishing people who don't have a business is simply unacceptable and an outrage!

By the way, where are all those jobs?? Are not most of them are in China?

Cletus W.
Cletus W.3 years ago

Marc P. -- First, you might want to spend some time with a dictionary a study the word H-Y-P-O-C-R-S-Y.

Second, you are about as "progressive" as the lint in my belly button. You must be delerious from the fumes you are inhaling while you float around in the rightwing cesspool.

The stupidity of a man carrying a loaded weapon while at a childrens event, strictly legal or not, speaks for itself. The stupidity of someone else trying to not merely justify that stupid act, but to also try to use the LEGAL response to that act by the civil authorities as a means to cry "victim" for all gun just plain PATHETIC. YOU do not talk for me or my gun rights.

Your understanding of the constitution is about as accurate as your understanding of what a "Teatard" or "Progressive" is. Your "progressive" alliegence with Cyan about says it all.

Now YOU are "informed" too. Let's see how the vapors in YOUR double-dipped, empty head react.

Marc P.
Marc P.3 years ago

Cletus W: NOW I understand - You are a whack job! Glad you cleared that up so succinctly. First, I am Progressive, always have been. But BEFORE even that I believe in the Constitution. If you actually watched the video I was discussing you would see that the man carrying the gun was doing so in a COMPLETELY lawful manner. The problem is not guns. The problem is guns in the hands of idiots like you who state if you saw some guy in a field with a gun you would shoot them. Real smart. You are a bigot and a jackass. As for you "Informing" Cyan, who the hell are you to "Inform" anyone. Cyan has the good sense not to follow "Orders" from complete idiots. Good for her! The problem in this country is that too many people allow voices like yours to go unchecked and unchallenged. You are the one that sounds like a Teabagger. As a matter of fact, you sound like a "Double dipper."