Indictment of Speaker Boehner’s Would-Be Assassin a ‘Wake-Up Call’ to Republican Congress to Expand Brady Background Checks | Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

Indictment of Speaker Boehner’s Would-Be Assassin a ‘Wake-Up Call’ to Republican Congress to Expand Brady Background Checks

Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

For Immediate Release: January 14, 2015
Contact: Jonathan Hutson, jhutson [at] bradymail [dot] org

WASHINGTON, DC – On January 7, a federal grand jury in Cincinnati indicted Michael Hoyt, a bartender who had told police in October that he believed he was Jesus Christ, and that he had a loaded .380 Beretta handgun, with which he planned to shoot House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). Hoyt had recently lost his job at a country club where Boehner was a member.

Police found the handgun in his home, and Hoyt was voluntarily taken to the University of Cincinnati hospital for a psychiatric evaluation at the time. A later search of his house turned up an SKS assault rifle magazine and boxes of 7.62 ammunition for the rifle and .380 rounds for the handgun. Officers said they also found a bullet hole in the wall of Hoyt’s bedroom.

Officers said they later recovered Hoyt's SKS assault rifle at his mother’s home in Kentucky. She told investigators she removed it from his home while he wasn’t there because she noticed he was not eating or sleeping and becoming increasingly agitated.

A federal judge last month ordered that Hoyt be transported to a Massachusetts medical center run by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons for a psychiatric evaluation requested by his attorneys. He was ordered to stay there for no more than 45 days.

According to WCPO, Hoyt, who was treated for a psychotic episode two years ago – but subsequently still able to possess a rifle and a handgun -- was indicted on charges of threatening to murder the lawmaker because he poses a "current and ongoing credible" threat to Speaker Boehner.

Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, stated:

“We are thankful that any potential attack was prevented and for the good job done by the FBI, the Capitol Police, and local authorities in Ohio in thwarting a potential assassination attempt. We wish Speaker Boehner and the Republican Congress would realize that Brady background checks afford law enforcement with a tremendous opportunity to help keep guns out of dangerous hands, including those of the severely mentally ill. Brady background checks on gun purchases have blocked 2.4 million sales to dangerous people since the bipartisan passage of the Brady bill in 1993.

“Brady background checks save lives. Brady estimates that they have blocked some 358 purchases every day to dangerous people. Yet in the majority of states, criminals and other dangerous people who are not allowed to own or buy guns legally are still able to avoid background checks by making purchases online or at gun shows.

“Hopefully, the Republican Congress will heed this indictment of the Speaker’s would-be assassin as a wake-up call to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, including felons, fugitives, domestic abusers, and the severely mentally ill. In order to keep our kids and communities safe, the Republican Congress needs to finish the job by expanding Brady background checks to all gun sales. But if the Republican Congress refuses to finish the job, then we’re prepared to expand the fight at the state level for gun violence prevention in order to build pressure on Capitol Hill.”

Over 90 percent of Americans, including 92 percent of gun owners, support requiring background checks on all gun purchases, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll  released in July 2014. The poll also showed 86 percent of Republicans support background checks.

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The mission of the Brady organization is to create a safer America for all of us that will lead to a dramatic reduction in gun deaths and injuries. For more insight on gun violence prevention, follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BradyBuzz.