Despite a History of Mental Illness and Two Incidents of Illegally Discharging a Firearm, Navy Yard Shooter Had Every Legal Right to Purchase and Carry a Gun

Comments

1
In retrospect it is a pattern of mental health and gun incidents. But the individual cops evaluating each incident wouldn't necessarily know about the previous ones. We need a nationwide registry of gun incidents, domestic violence incidents, and mental health episodes. But I'm not sure how to prevent such a registry from being abused (my concerns are as someone with a history of depression).
2
It's time for another episode of EVERYONE'S favorite game show
STRANGER TROLLING BINGO!

Today's winning picks are:

Gun nuts!
Thee Olde Seconde Amendmente!
Suicide!
Assault weapons!
Apples and oranges!
You just do not care about X dead Y's!
Tautological tautologies!
Picking cherries!
I don't want to ban all guns but ... !
The NRA!

Beat a straw man for big bonus points!
3
Meanwhile they FBI continues to harass peaceful demonstrators and their friends for having book collections . . .
4

John Allen Muhammed
Maurice Clemmons
Billy Chambers
...

Let all the mentally ill roam free to kill...until they do.
5
Good point #4, we need much better public funding for mental health care
6
"Investigators believe he took a weapon from a base security guard whom he shot. "

And that's OK because taking guns from dead hands is an preferred NRA method.
7
If only he'd been somewhere that wasn't a gun-free zone, like a military installation, where lots of good people with guns could have stopped him. You know, like Fort Hood.
8
Never mind about that. The only important thing is that the shooter was a Buddhist. Which is some evil cult created by Mao & Satan to lead Americans astray.

Any other point about gun control is completely worthless.

/s
9
the dots don't get connected. the dots before 9/11 didn't get connected, and like this, they were all there.

arrest records don't equal conviction records, so no background check is going to pick those up. basically, the overworked prosecutors who declined to try him allowed Alexis access to a gun.

yet another senseless well-regulated militia tragedy, but, you know, tyranny, so shut up, hippies.
10
@1:
"We need a nationwide registry of gun incidents, domestic violence incidents, and mental health episodes. But I'm not sure how to prevent such a registry from being abused (my concerns are as someone with a history of depression)."
A registry of mental health episodes? Newsflash! He had a secret security clearance! If his mental health issues would have been apparent, he would have lost his clearance and been fired (you 'technically' aren't discriminating against someone with a mental illness if you fire them because they are no longer qualified to do the job). Thus, it is likely that he hid them for years. Your mental health registry (maybe tattoo a number on the arm) would only encourage people to hide their issues. Perhaps the real solution is to reduce stigma instead of adding to it. If people don't feel like they will lose their jobs or don't feel they will be discriminated against for admitting MI and seeking treatment, then perhaps treatment will be more effective and people who have secret security clearances won't evade detection.
11
Let's arm the military. Problem solved.
12
Um, a good guy with a gun did stop this piece of shit from killing more people. Are you suggesting there should have been more of them in case he killed the first one he encountered?

He wasn't fucking prosecuted after firing guns into various objects endangering other people.
He wasn't prosecuted when fucking up in the Navy.
Nobody bothered to follow up when he was hearing voices in his head.
His security clearance check apparently looked an inch deep at all of the above.

All of your magical background checking and foreground checking and mental health blah blah won't do a goddamn thing in the world if nobody does the work to get actual criminals and *insert your PC term for "batshit crazy" here so Delirian doesn't rant for 10 minutes* people marked in the current, functioning system.

Which is the point that has been made over and over - there are laws galore to deal with criminals and prevent real, actual deaths every day. They're not being used. They could be, starting today. Or last year. Or ten years ago. But that's not good political fundraising fodder, or clickbait, so it's not going to happen.

So, enjoy the next one. And the one after that. And so on.
13
@12: Feel free to use slurs. Does it make you feel big?
14
@13: Huge.

What term do you prefer?
15
@1: When I was voluntarily institutionalized for anxiety issues and insomnia, the admissions form told me that I would need to be cleared by a court if I wanted to own a firearm in Illinois. This is something that should be done nationally.

@10: This is a valid concern and should be dealt with. I propose that we legislate that people who are mentally ill to the point that it interferes with them doing their job, but not to the point that they require prolonged institutionalization, be guaranteed reassignment (to positions suitable for their condition, whether less stressful or less demanding) by their employer on the condition that they seek and continue proper treatment as determined by their psychiatrist. This could possibly be built into laws regarding employer-provided insurance, ideally with some public subsidy for low-income employees. What do you think of this idea?
There's something in place already for veterans suffering from PTSD. What we should do is expand and build on these resources to care for the population at large.

@12: So because background checks weren't conducted thoroughly, the conclusion is that background checks don't work.
It's like complaining that toothbrushes are ineffective at preventing dental caries when the real problem is that you're not using toothpaste.
16
@12, so why do you think it should have been legal for this guy to buy the shotgun?
17
@14: I don't know, something that isn't a slur or a derogatory stereotype. What other ableist slurs do you use?

I think I understand your thought process. You don't think you are talking about real people. Just like conservatives see gays as perverts and f*****, you see people with severe mental illnesses as batshit crazy. To you, there is nothing wrong with making a slur, because you aren't hurting a real human being.

Btw, I dare you to go to YouTube and watch some videos by people who discuss schizophrenia. Rachel Star has done an amazing job of documenting her condition. She is a real human being. Watch her video and others and decide if you think it would be appropriate to call them batshit crazy. Maybe, just maybe you will decide that they are real human beings who suffer from a disability and who shouldn't be stereotypes and insulted.
18
@16: For the same reason you could - if you walk into the store, fill out the form, get run through NICS, and there is no disqualifying criminal or judicial criteria, you get out your credit card, pay, and walk out carrying a shotgun.

This whole "background check" system does not run on magic. It runs on records being entered after people commit crimes or perform disqualifying acts. If you are not convicted or adjudicated unfit to buy a gun, the record is empty, NICS says "go" and that's it.
19
Without exception, EVERY gun owner should be REQUIRED to complete a TRAINING COURSE by a LICENSED INSTRUCTOR for the SPECIFIC CLASS of gun/weapon that they want to own BEFORE they can apply for a license from the state, which also should REQUIRE passing a state EXAM and GUN RANGE TEST before the state issues a license.

Renewal of the state-issued license should require that you have completed a specific number of hours of continuing training in your specific class of gun/weapon prior to completing the state exam and gun range test for your license renewal.

We already have a basic model for such a system of training and licensing for all drivers and licensed professionals. Why in the hell wouldn't we regulate our militia at least as well as we regulate teen drivers and hair stylists???

In the military you don't lay a finger on a weapon of any kind until you have been trained and certified as competent to do so. I favor this higher standard for the civilian population, but am open to an intermediate standard for certain classes of guns and weapons.

EVERY GUN sold anywhere in the USA should require a background check. NO EXCEPTIONS. I'm looking at you gun show and individual sales.

A "well regulated militia" requires that you meet a standard before you are deemed worthy by "We the People." Having the cash in your pocket is NOT a sufficient standard; just like showing up at the recruiting office doesn't mean you fit the standard to wear the uniform of the US military.

America is a nation plagued by an epidemic of fools who apply a "consumer standard" that sets the expedient demands of the Individual above the sovereign rights and governance of "We the People."

You, as an individual, must rise to the standards set by the nation or state as a whole. You are One of We the People; you are not equal to We the People. A militia is not by any stretch of the imagination a single individual. The rights of the individual to keep and bear arms as a means to a well regulated militia is in all matters subject to the sovereign governance of the whole body of We the People.

It's time we moved on from the narcissism of the post-WWII Age of Consumerism and got back to the business of building a nation, a government and an economy of, by and for We the People, not Me the Individual.
20
Goldy, if he had been tried, and found guilty, for any of his firearm abuses/erratic behavior, he would not have been able to legally purchase a firearm. Every single time he had a run-in with the law, there was ZERO prosecution. How would having MORE laws that aren't properly enforced help?
21
So Goldstein, what's your point?
22
@20 & 21, Oh that is simple, you do it the same way you do traffic laws.

You have a gun? Ok, do you have a trigger lock? No, well here is a ticket.

Do you have a conceal carry license? cool, is your safety on? No, bummer here is a ticket.

You have a gun in the house? Ok. Is it locked up in a safe with the trigger lock in place? No, bummer, here is a ticket. Oh you have kids? Here is a court date.

You want to buy a gun? Ok, show us you have competency to handle one.

After all "Well Regulated" means something apply it to the object or the individual take your pick.
23
@22, You're missing the point. We have lots of laws already. Laws that aren't enforced, or if they are enforced - they're enforced sloppily. In this instance, if the laws had been enforced to their full extent, it would have been A) unlikely that he would have had the security clearance to allow him access to the base and B) been harder for him to obtain a firearm.

Traffic laws are hardly a good example - what percentage of the time do you think people that speed actually get tickets? Judging by the traffic on the local highway, I'd hazard a guess that per mile driven at 'illegal' speeds, the number of tickets written is less than .00001%.
24
@15, there are a number of mental health issues that do not alter the individual's ability to realistically judge what's going on in the world around him. Depression and anxiety, usually, do not do so. PTSD, paranoia, and schizophrenia do. If this guy suffered from one or more of the latter two disabilities, it's unlikely that the assurance that he wouldn't completely lose employment would materially change his actions.
25
Sorry my random friend you are missing the point. Traffic laws are the back bone of law enforcement. Simply put law enforcement is reactive not proactive.

True the focus on enforcing existing gun laws has been lacking. That doesn't mean it has to always be thus so. Oh your kid found your gun in the night stand unsecured and then it went off, No that is not an accident.
26
@12 & 23, It is not possible to enforce every law to 100% compliance. I'm surprised you guys don't realize this. If prosecution and conviction is required for our background check system to work it will prove inadequate many, many times. Hey look! It just did.

Alexis was arrested multiple times but never prosecuted because no one was hurt and the local jurisdictions had more pressing issues to deal with. However when taken together, they indicate a pattern of violent behavior that suggests this person should not be allowed to own a gun. This effectively demonstrates the current "functioning" system is actually not equipped to function properly at all.

If you think allowing the occasional nut job through the system is preferable to occassionally taking guns away from people who will never go on a shooting rampage, you should have the integrity to admit it rather than dancing around this tired old "enforce the laws that are on the books" trope. You are smart enough to know that is simply not always possible.
27
@26
"It is not possible to enforce every law to 100% compliance."

Nice straw man there. You should beat on it.
Meanwhile, it is possible to enforce the laws that he broke in the past.

"You are smart enough to know that is simply not always possible."

Beat that straw man. Beat it!
Again, it is possible to enforce the laws that he broke in the past.
No one cares if he spits on the sidewalk or jaywalks or drives 61 MPH in a 60 MPH zone.
But if he fires a gun then why can't that law be enforced?
28
@27,

"Alexis was arrested multiple times but never prosecuted because no one was hurt and the local jurisdictions had more pressing issues to deal with."

It would be great if our justice departments were equipped to prosecute every crime but they tend to fall through the cracks when the victims choose not to press charges. I realize you are not smart enough to know this.
29
@12, So what you're really saying is that we need to fully fund the agencies that deal with all this record keeping and background checking. If we had enough agents with enough access they could spend the time necessary to find batshit crazies like this guy when they try to find a gun.

In other words, write to your Republican representatives and tell them to stop cutting the budgets to these agencies. Put some money behind it or all the laws in the world will do fuckall.
30
@28
"It would be great if our justice departments were equipped to prosecute every crime"

Beat that straw man. Beat it!
Because no one except you is talking about "every crime".
But if someone commits a crime involving a gun then those can be prosecuted.
Of course you'll be back on the "every crime" straw man again.
31
@30,

wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

^does not mean what you think it means

Prosecuting crime costs money and in some cases requires a victim willing to press charges. Many crimes go un-prosecuted because victims refuse to cooperate (This happens a lot in domestic violence cases. There was a case in Seattle recently where a guy with a history of DV arrests and no charges murdered a bunch of people. If a victim/witness does not press charges the case falls apart.), and the justice system lacks resources to prosecute every crime.

The people I was addressing before you inserted yourself into the conversation argued the system will work if all arrests are prosecuted. I argue we should lower the bar for information we track for gun sale background checks.

I think arrest warrants for gun related violence should be tracked, even when the cases are not prosecuted. If a pattern emerges from multiple arrests then no gun for you, even though this would result in a greater number of people having their privileges revoked. This is the precise argument I am making.

If you disagree that arrest warrants should be tracked for background checks that's cool, I can agree to disagree. I am only asking for intellectual honesty - not from you (blood from turnips and all that) but the people I addressed with my first comment. You know, before you inserted yourself into the conversation.
32
Goldy is so stupid that he conveniently left out the fact that the SPD lost the paperwork which was why he was never charged.
33
@31
From that link
"Person B has exaggerated this to a position harder to defend, "

So your continued claim that the issue is about whether there are resources to, in your own words, "prosecute every crime" is a straw man.
And you're back on that straw man.
Just like I said you would be.
When the real issue is over enforcement of gun laws.

So, are you now going to argue that there are so many gun crimes in Seattle that there isn't enough funding to keep up with them all?
Because spending one day in court will correct that misconception.
34
@33, I understand why you are trying to avoid engaging with my actual point but I don't understand where you find the time and energy for it. My point still holds if we limit the discussion to gun-related arrests (If anything it makes my point more clear): the police are not currently required by law to prosecute each and every one of them. If you think this should change then hooray because we agree on something but this would require creating a *new law* that *does* *not* *currently* *exist* that says police MUST prosecute every gun crime or face a penalty for failing to do so.

As long as the police are not required by law to pursue every gun-related arrest with a prosecution then the police are legally allowed, by law, to decide whether or not to pursue a given gun-related arrest with a prosecution. As evidence, see the myriad cases where people are arrested for gun crimes and not prosecuted and the police who fail to prosecute them are not prosecuted for not prosecuting. This leaves a large number of people out of gun registries who, I am arguing, belong there. It would be more efficient to deny people for multiple gun-related arrests than it would be to prosecute all of them -- this would admittedly mean taking guns away from a lot more people because it is a much lower standard. It is stunningly simple but admitting this requires a modicum of intellectual honesty on your part. I would ask if this is making any sense to you but I already know the answer. I would also ask you to directly address my argument -- stated once again for clarity: we should include people with multiple gun-related arrests in gun registries rather than requiring prosecution of every single gun-related crime -- but I don't care what you think since, you know, you inserted yourself into this conversation.

You can argue all you want that all gun-related crimes should be prosecuted -– I would argue that myself, but the in the reality you and I inhabit but you refuse to acknowledge, the law currently allows police the discretion to make the choice.

Anyway I'm all set with this conversation but I'll let you have the last word because I know you can't help yourself.
35
@34
"I understand why you are trying to avoid engaging with my actual point "

Is post # 26 your post?
Where you claim
"It is not possible to enforce every law to 100% compliance."

That is a direct quote from your post.
That is also a straw man because the issue was about prosecuting crimes involving guns.
Not "every law to 100% compliance".

Now if you want to back away from your straw man then just say so.
But that is a direct quote from you.
36
@35, See? Even after I concede to address gun-related crimes exclusively -- which are not enforced to 100% compliance because they are not required to be -- when my original argument is not a straw man because the comment I was responding to only mentioned prosecuting "criminals" (see @12 for clarity) and not "criminals with guns," you still refuse to engage with my actual argument.

Like I said, I'm all set with this conversation, even though I appreciate being given the opportunity to think through the issue more thoroughly, but if the people I addressed in my initial comment would like to chime in I would be happy to continue.
37
@36
"Even after I concede"

You've been complaining about "It is not possible to enforce every law to 100% compliance."
When did you "concede" anything?
Like I said, if you want to back away from your straw man then just say so.

"my original argument is not a straw man because the comment I was responding to only mentioned prosecuting "criminals""

He gave a very specific example from a very specific instance.
Read it again.
"He wasn't fucking prosecuted after firing guns into various objects endangering other people."

But you'll skip the context so you can focus on a single word and then use the broadest definition of that word so that you can claim "It is not possible to enforce every law to 100% compliance."

That is a straw man.
Now you seem to be agreeing with the NRA position that what is needed is more enforcement of existing gun laws.
You agree that there's enough money for that.