In the wake of the shooting at the Navy Yard, Obama spokesman Jay Carney said the president is implementing executive actions and reiterated his commitment to strengthening gun laws, including expanding background checks to sales online and at gun shows.So, would new gun control actions like expanded background checks have prevented what happened yesterday in Washington? The answer is a resounding, no.
“The president supports, as do an overwhelming majority of Americans, common-sense measures to reduce gun violence,” Carney said.
Indeed, in preparing for his spree, Aaron Alexis quite literally followed Joe Biden’s advice: He went out and bought an uncontroversial shotgun from a reputable, licensed dealer and subjected himself successfully to a federal background check. So routine was this purchase, it should be noted, that it could have been made legally in England or in France.Sure, Alexis legally purchased a shotgun in Virginia, but he also passed the federal NICS background check. With a history of violence, how did that happen?
None of the usual political language applies here. Alexis, who killed twelve people, did not buy a weapon “from a friend” or “over the Internet” or in the “parking lot of a gun show”; he did not have a “high capacity” magazine from which to “spray” bullets around; he did not buy a “military style” “assault weapon” — nor even use one; he did not deploy “armor-piercing bullets.” Instead, he bought a shotgun that almost nobody is openly suggesting should be banned or controlled. Politicians and public figures who call for new laws in the wake of this shooting will thus need nailing to the wall with a simple and reliable question: “What exactly do you propose doing, and how specifically would it have changed what happened at the Navy Yard?” When I have asked this question of non-journalists on Twitter, I have received a common — refreshingly honest — answer: “A gun ban.”
Texas records show that Alexis was arrested Sept. 4, 2010, for allegedly discharging a firearm at his Fort Worth home. He told police was cleaning a gun in his apartment when it accidentally went off, according to a statement from the Tarrant County district attorney's office.As in most cases, the Justice system failed, Alexis wasn't prosecuted and gun laws already on the books were not enforced.
Authorities initially filed charges, but those charges were later dropped — therefore not preventing Alexis from passing a federally-required criminal background check, an official said.
|Katie Pavlich is the News Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is also the author of Fast and Furious: Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up.
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