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MILLER: Blame the homicidal maniac, not the guns
It is painful and tragic that 12 hardworking people at the Washington Navy Yard went to work Monday and never came home. Aaron Alexis shot 29 people before the police were able to stop him. President Obama and his allies in the liberal media jumped to blame the weapons, but there is not a single gun-control law that could have prevented that horrific massacre.
Alexis, a former Navy reservist, has been treated for at least the last month by the Department of Veterans Affairs for his severe mental problems. He was reportedly paranoid and hearing voices, which are signs of schizophrenia.
He was insane — or as the politically correct media said yesterday, he “had anger issues.” The defense contractor-turned-mass murderer also had some issue with something or someone in Building 197 in the military complex and was determined to carry out this delusional mission.
Mr. Obama said Monday that the federal government will do “everything we can to try to prevent” these mass shootings. By that, he is laying the groundwork for trying to get the 60 votes needed in the Senate for the so-called universal background check.
New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s organization, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, has already organized a rally at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday to push for the expanding background checks.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday, “The problem here is senators, overwhelmingly from one party, who refuse to do something very simple, which is expand the background-check system that everyone believes functions well, but needs to function better.”
That’s not accurate. Even if Mr. Obama’s “universal background-check” system was in place and every single private firearms transaction went through the federal government, it still would not have stopped the Navy Yard shooter.
Alexis passed background checks by both the FBI and the state of Virginia when he legally bought a shotgun this past weekend at Sharpshooters Small Arms Range in Lorton.
He was not denied by the federal or state government because he does not have any records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) that would put him in the category of prohibited persons, which includes drug users, domestic abusers, felons and persons dishonorably discharged from the military. While he had an arrest for a firearm misdemeanor in the past, no charges were filed.
To be denied by NICS for mental health reasons, a person has to have been judged mentally deficient or have been committed to a mental institution — neither of which was the case in this situation.
If the gun grabbers would stop fixating on firearms and look at the more complicated issue of mental illness, they might actually discover a way to reduce gun violence. In the case of Alexis, I would suggest four ways authorities might have stopped this crazy person from killing so many innocent people.
First, the Department of Veterans Affairs could have locked up Alexis in a mental hospital when he said he was having psychotic delusions.
Second, the states that are refusing to put mental health records into the NICS system should be cut off from some federal funds until they do. The National Shooting Sports Foundation ranks states based on how many mental health records they have submitted to the FBI per year at FixNICS.org. It should be a map of shame for those who let deranged people buy illegal guns.
Finally, the shooter would not have been able to do as much damage if people inside the military installation were armed, a debate that came up in 2009 after the Fort Hood shooting in Texas, in which 13 were killed.
About the Author
Emily Miller is senior editor of opinion for The Washington Times. She is the author of “Emily Gets Her Gun … But Obama Wants to Take Yours” (Regnery 2013). Miller won the 2012 Clark Mollenhoff Award for Investigative Reporting from the Institute on Political Journalism.
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