Armed with a Remington shotgun and two stolen handguns, suspected shooter Aaron Alexis unleashed a barrage of gunfire on innocent people at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday, prompting immediate and knee-jerk cries for gun control and “common sense” reforms to curb gun violence. But the details of this case prove once again the ineffectiveness of gun control.
Wasting no time and taking full advantage of the emotional climate of yet another highly-publicized gun crime, Diane Feinstein asked “When will enough be enough?”, and accused Congress of “shirking its responsibility” of preventing gun violence. White House spokesman James Carney said the president may issue “executive actions” in the aftermath of the tragedy.
But what about the facts?
Alexis followed the rules, and even the advice of our illustrious Vice President Joe Biden. He bought a shotgun from a licensed gun dealer. He holds a CCW, which means he underwent a background check. No so-called “gun show loophole”. No high capacity magazine. No “assault rifle”.
The Washington Navy Yard, in Southeast D.C., is the former shipyard of the United States Navy. Located in the nation’s capital, guns are very heavily restricted to police officers and criminals. Instead of asking when will enough be enough, perhaps we should instead ask how many more people need to die in so-called “gun free zones” before we learn our lesson? Gun free zones are dangerous.
Can anyone say Fort Hood? In 2009, Nidal Hasan killed 13 and injured dozens of others on Fort Hood, Texas – another so-called “gun free zone”. He was shot by a civilian police officer.
Once again, on yet another heavily secured and restricted military installation, evil found a way. When a nation’s laws prevent the law-abiding from fighting back with deadly force, people die. Clearly, gun free zones protect no one. Heck, Sandy Hook was gun free. Columbine was gun free. The Aurora theater was gun free. Virginia Tech was gun free. Are we picking up on a pattern?
So-called “common sense” background checks are a popular argument among the anti-gun community. The problem is Aaron Alexis had a legal, state-issued concealed carry permit from his home state of Texas. He went through a background check.
He also had a Secret security clearance issued by the United States government, which means he passed a more thorough screening of his background and criminal history. As far as the government was concerned, this man was a perfectly honest, law-abiding citizen of our country. Common sense, right?
The truth is Aaron Alexis has a violent past and was repeatedly cited for misconduct while serving with the United States Navy. He was honorably discharged for insubordination and disorderly conduct while serving in Fort Worth, Texas. Reports also indicate a gun-related charge in Texas for firing his own weapon back in 2010.
Alexis was treated for a mental illness and claimed to hear voices in his head. He suffers from paranoia and has trouble sleeping. The Navy, however, never declared the man mentally unfit. Doing so would have removed Alexis’ security clearance.
Two separate background checks caught none of this, clearly demonstrating how little background checks truly accomplish. They make anti-gun activists feel better about their own personal safety, but they are entirely ineffectual at preventing any crime.
Look at the facts: A clearly deranged man, heavily armed, drives into a protected “gun free” military installation and opens fire on a group of innocent people. He managed to gain access to the facility with valid identification (a CAC, or Common Access Card). He held a government-issued Secret security clearance. He held a valid concealed carry license from the state of Texas. He went through AT LEAST two background checks. He also had a history of misconduct and mental problems. Our supposed safeguards failed. The Navy failed at declaring the man mentally ill. The government failed by issuing him a clearance. The military failed by disarming everyone in sight at the Washington Navy Yard – except for police and criminals.
The facts speak for themselves. The problem is not with gun control. The problem is our bureaucratic mess of a government cannot protect us from the Aaron Alexis’ of the world. The problem is mental illness. Everything failed.
The solution is not to make our system more bureaucratic. In fact, that is an excellent way to make things worse.