We find ourselves in the unfortunate position of having suffered another national tragedy at the hands of a madman. As with previous high profile shootings, the debate has quickly turned to the discussion of gun control as a means to prevent another tragedy. Less than 24 hours after the events at the Navy Yard in Washington DC on Sept 16th, Diane Feinstein jumped in front of the first microphone she could find to renew her campaign of stripping Americans of their 2nd Amendment rights.
As with the Sandy Hook tragedy, the NRA and other gun rights groups have remained silent on the matter out of respect for those touched by the shooting. The gun grabbers have no such tact and quickly strike while emotions high believing it betters their chances of gaining traction for their anti-gun agenda. It’s so bad, and so distasteful, that CNN commentator Erick Erickson admonished the rush to politicize the shooting, saying “seriously people, grow-up”.
Erickson went on to say, “I would not dare step in the way of America’s national pastime of bitching about the politics of everything on Twitter, but there has to be a better time for it than as the temperature of bodies on the ground in the Navy Yard are not even yet cold,” he said. “If you don’t have the judgment and good sense to understand that now is not the time to say it, you have no capacity to understand why.” I agree with Erickson’s comments and feel the rush to climb on the still warm bodies of the victims to push a political agenda forward is highly distasteful and completely inappropriate.
Feinstein and her anti-gun cronies, which include President Obama, plan to renew the same tired proposals to pass heavy handed gun bans through the House and Senate claiming such measures will “save lives”. But will they?
Before we can discuss how new laws could prevent future shootings, we must first examine the laws already in effect and determine how they may have failed. First, let’s examine the shooter himself, Aaron Alexis.
Alexis was a Navy veteran that was discharged in 2011 for “a pattern of misconduct”, according to the Navy. We don’t have the details of his discharge and the Navy didn’t specify if he was honorably discharged or not. Being prior service myself, I know that the military has a specific discharge for serious misconduct. The discharge classification is known as the Bad Conduct Discharge (BCD), or as we affectionately called it, the “Big Chicken Dinner”. Such a discharge is usually the result of a military court-martial and is sometimes accompanied by a period of confinement in a military prison. Those given such a discharge are ineligible for Veterans Administration (VA) benefits. I find it unlikely that Alexis was given a BCD since news reports are saying he was being treated by the VA since August for “serious mental issues”. However, if he was given a BCD discharge this should have been a big red flag to the NICS and to his future employer(s).
Which brings me to my next point. Alexis was being treated by the VA for “serious mental issues” which included paranoia and hearing voices in his head. He also claimed that he suffered from PTSD after helping at ground zero post 9/11. The fact Alexis was being treated by a government agency for “serious mental issues” yet was able to pass both a NICS background check to purchase his 870 shotgun and a security clearance screening for a government contracting job tells me that existing laws weren’t being enforced.
Not only was Alexis suffering from mental health issues, which should have precluded him from being able to buy or possess a firearm, but he also had a history of brushes with the law. In 2004 he was arrested in Seattle for shooting out the tires of a construction workers vehicle with a .45 caliber handgun in what he described as an “anger fueled blackout”. The construction workers were in front of Alexis’ home working on their job site when Alexis walked from his home, pulled a pistol from his waistband, then fired two rounds into the car and a third shot into the air before slowly walking back into his home.
With this arrest on his record, how was Alexis able to pass either a NICS background check to buy the 870 shotgun or the security clearance screening that gave him access to the Navy Shipyard as a government contractor?
If the laws already on the books aren’t being enforced, how will passing new laws help? Shouldn’t we first focus on fixing the broken system of law enforcement before we pile on new laws that are likely to be equally ineffective?
It’s worth noting that Washington DC has some of the most strict gun control laws in the nation, yet this attack happened within its city limits. Another point worth giving consideration to is that the Navy Yard was a “gun free zone” much like the Aurora theater and Sandy Hook Elementary School. While it might seem ridiculous, many military facilities are in fact gun free zones and do not allow anyone but private security to be armed — including military personnel. This was the case at the Naval Yard in DC.
Most mass shootings in recent history have taken place in such gun free zones where possession of firearms is heavily restricted or completely banned. It’s a fact that spree shooters have sought out these free fire zones full of defenseless victims to carry out their acts, and the anti-gunners would make the entire nation a gun free zone.
Feinstein along with Obama plan to use the shooting at the Naval Yard to breath new life into their floundering anti-gun agenda, that much is already clear. They will claim Alexis’ reported use of an AR15 rife and Glock pistol is justification to propose new bans on semi-automatic firearms and the standard capacity magazines that feed them. In their rush to pass new gun control laws, Feinstein and Obama are likely to overlook early reports which indicate Alexis may have picked up the AR15 rifle and Glock handgun at the scene of the shooting. So far authorities only have record of Alexis purchasing the 870 12ga pump action shotgun from a Virginia gun store, they’re not sure how the AR15 and Glock pistol came into his possession — or even if an AR15 was used at all. Even if it’s discovered that Alexis picked the semi-automatic firearms up from fallen security guards, or that an AR15 wasn’t used in the crime, Feinstein and Obama aren’t likely to be dissuaded from their course.
The problem we face isn’t a lack of laws, it’s a lack of law enforcement. Alexis had a history mental illness and violent behavior, including the misuse of firearms, which should have prevented him from buying or owning the shotgun used in DC. What Feinstein and Obama should focus their attention on is correcting the flawed system already in place. But we know that won’t happen as it doesn’t serve their agenda.
Get ready my fellow patriots, the fight for our Constitutional rights is about to heat up. Stay vigilant.