This is a sad story... happened just a few miles from me. But it does put focus (like the Arizona shooting) on the ability for certain people to obtain long guns.
Thoughts from the group?
Young woman's suicide at mall puts focus on gun sales - DailyFreeman.com
JILL Frankenberry Connor thought her daughter was off to buy an electric blanket at Hudson Valley Mall on March 2.
It turned out the 23-year-old Saugerties High School graduate had something else in mind.
What April Frankenberry Connor bought was not a blanket to keep herself warm from a draft in her living room while she toiled on a computer. Instead, her mother says, April bought a $340 shotgun at Dick’s Sporting Goods in the town of Ulster mall, climbed into the back seat of her car in the parking lot and fired a fatal shot into her brain.
“This was a young woman who was gentle, affectionate, caring toward myself and her friends,” said Connor, who has lived at 170 Delaware St. in the Saugerties hamlet of Glasco for eight years. “... She was an innocent, sweet, young woman. I just could not process it. I couldn’t.”
Now Connor is on a quest to prevent guns, particularly shotguns and rifles, from getting into the hands of the mentally ill so easily.
She said her daughter had been treated for mental illness, including severe depression, since her growing up in Huntington, on Long Island. She also had been hospitalized locally on several occasions while living Glasco.
Connor said she has contacted the office of U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., in a push to establish a database containing the names of people with mental illness.
The federally operated database, she said, could be used to prevent people with a history of mental illness from obtaining a so-called long gun by just walking into a store.
The system, she said, would warn gun dealers but not give them any other data about the person.
Connor also said an appeals process could be established for people who feel they were wrongly denied the right to by a gun.
“I will work with Sen. Schumer and any other legislator from the state or nation to prevent people with psychiatric illness from obtaining a weapon, while providing an appeal process so as not to infringe on their rights,” Connor said.
Schumer’s press office did not return calls from a reporter seeking comment on Connor’s proposal. Cody Poluso, a Schumer aide with whom Connor said she has spoken, also could not be reached.
ULSTER County Undersheriff Frank Faluotico said a system like the one proposed by Connor seems like a good idea but would be difficult to put in place.
“Her idea sounds great in theory, but the logistics of a law like that really need to be worked out to protect the people’s rights to have firearms,” Faluotico said.
The Sheriff’s Office assists with the registering of handguns, but not long guns, he noted.
Faluotico agreed the database suggested by Connor might have prevented her daughter’s suicide.
Connor also thinks there should be a 48-hour waiting period for anyone seeking to buy a shotgun or rifle. There currently are no waiting period for such purchases, though there are for buying handguns.
“If you need a gun at this moment, there is something wrong,” Connor said, adding that a person in rage might calm down during a waiting period.
Connor said something clearly was amiss with her daughter the afternoon of March 2, but by evening, when the young woman asked to borrow her mother’s credit card so she could buy an electric blanket, perhaps at Target in the mall, she appeared to be in good spirits.
“She seemed calm and normal, even happy for the first time in a while,” Connor said. “Even though I was terribly fearful, I thought it was a good sign that she wanted to go out shopping by herself.”
After all, Connor said, mental health experts had told her to encourage signs of independence.
Still, Connor was hesitant, anxious.
“I didn’t want to put my anxiety on her, so I gave her the car keys and let her go,” Connor said.
But Connor said she refused to give her daughter the credit card and stressed the need to properly manage money.
April left the Delaware Street home about 2:30 p.m. and called twice, her mother said: once just after 3 p.m. and then at 4:23 p.m.
“She was saying that she was having fun driving around by herself and she said, ‘I will be home soon,” Connor said. “I now know what she meant by saying she would be home soon. She would be in heaven with God.”
At that point, Connor checked for her credit card and found that it was missing. Then panic set in.
She called her credit card company and was told the card had just been used for a purchase at Dick’s — a $340 purchase.
“I jumped off the couch,” Connor said. “I was in a state of panic. I didn’t know what to do. I called the police and told them, ‘I think my daughter has got a gun, Please stop her. Don’t shoot her. She won’t hurt you.’”
A squadron of police arrived at Connor’s home moments later. She said a Saugerties police officer comforted her as they waited for word on her daughter’s fate.
The news, delivered a short time later, would be devastating.
BESIDES wanting a mental illness database established, Connor also is angry at Dick’s for letting April buy the shotgun with someone else’s credit card.
Connor said April bought the weapon by showing her own driver’s license, filling out required paperwork and using the stolen card.
“I did not authorize, nor would have authorized for any reason, the purchase of a deadly weapon by my daughter,” Connor said. “I believe there was a lack of due diligence on the part of the staff at Dick’s.
“No third party should be able to pay for such a weapon or have any form of payment from that third party used to purchase such a weapon,” Connor said.
“I have to live now with the acknowledgement that my daughter killed herself with a weapon she purchased using my credit card,” Connor added. “They should have noticed that her license did not match the name on the card. The sale should have stopped. She would be safe right now.”
A spokeswoman for Dick’s Sporting Goods, headquartered in Coraopolis, Pa., did not return a reporter’s phone messages in which Connor’s complaint was explained. Connor would not say whether she plans to sue the retailer.
Connor said that before her daughter killed herself, she put her wallet and cell phone on the front seat of the car and placed a suicide note inside her pants, “presumably to protect this document from the blood she anticipated would result from the shot.”
In the note, April expressed love for her mother and thanks for the care her mother provided, Connor said.
April’s body was found by police at 5:36 p.m. inside the car, which was parked in an isolated area of area of the mall’s parking lot, on the east side of the Macy’s department store.
Connor said she’s planning to hold a vigil at noon Tuesday at the two vehicle entrances to the mall on U.S. Route 9W to bring attention to her quest for a mental illness database.
For now, though her daughter’s collection of ceramic dragons sits on a bookshelf in the living room, near where the computer used to be — the one April used while feeling a slight draft.