A mass murder in DC

Details are still confused and the story is developing, but there has been a mass murder in DC at a naval facility and the president is already seeking to take advantage of the opportunity to press for more gun control, along with his gun control allies in Congress. It's important to remember a few things in the aftermath:

  1. Murder is a horrible thing. Our hearts go out to the victims.

  2. The soldiers and civilians at the naval yard were likely disarmed by military policy, not political dictate. Poor policy it may be, but blame where blame is due.

  3. Washington, DC probably still has the strictest gun control laws in the nation. They did not stop this attack. Neither did armed (civilian) guards, though. The sad truth is, probably nothing can stop these attacks.

  4. Early reports suggest the attacker brought a shotgun and stole a handgun and/or AR-15 rifle from the guards he killed. No gun control law will prevent that.

  5. The murderer may or may not be a prohibited person. Reports are he has at least two firearm-related incidents in his past. In the first, he was arrested for malicious mischief involving a firearm (specifically, shooting the tires of construction workers he felt "disrespected" him.) In the second, he was arrested for what he claimed was a negligent discharge (but his neighbor claimed was an attempt at intimidation over a noise complaint).

  6. Reports are that he was a discipline problem of some kind in the Navy. That could also be a disqualifier depending on how he was discharged.

  7. It's unclear how he got the shotgun used in the attack, and the gun control strategy will likely depend on that.

  8. This report says he got the shotgun from a dealer in Virginia, which suggests he passed a background check.
  9. The same report says he was treated multiple times for "sleep deprivation, anger and paranoia". A friend and former roommate says he had a concealed-carry permit while in Texas. The mental health issues sound like a missed opportunity, and the concealed carry permit will look very bad. That said, if he met the legal standard at the time, that's enough.

I fear it's game on again for gun control. Keep your eyes open.

This entry was published Tue Sep 17 04:29:05 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2013-09-17 08:58:36.0. [Tweet]

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