Federal gun laws didn't block shooter

Navy Yard shooting prompts new round of calls for action from lawmakers
Associated Press
Sep 17, 2013

The gunman in the mass shootings at the Washington Navy Yard, Aaron Alexis, had a history of violent outbursts, was at least twice accused of firing guns in anger and was in the early stages of treatment for serious mental problems, according to court records and U.S. law enforcement officials.

But Alexis apparently managed to exploit seams in the nation's patchwork of complicated gun laws designed to keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous people to buy a weapon. He was able to buy a shotgun in Virginia with out-of-state identification, even though that would have prevented him from buying a handgun.

It is illegal for gun dealers to sell handguns to such out-of-state buyers, but the Firearms Owners' Protection Act, passed by Congress in 1986, opened up interstate sales for shotguns and rifles. Virginia gun laws require only that an out-of-state buyer show valid identification, pass a background check and otherwise abide by state laws in order to buy a shotgun in the state. Alexis was never prosecuted for the two misdemeanors involving guns.

Alexis bought the shotgun at Sharpshooters Small Arms Range in Lorton, Va. on Sunday, according to a statement from the attorney for the gun range.

Michael Slocum said in an email that Alexis rented a rifle, bought bullets and used the range before buying the shotgun and 24 shells. Slocum said Alexis passed a federal background check.

Law enforcement officials visited the range Monday, reviewing the store's video and other records.

"What the 1986 Firearms Owners' Protection Act did was it made it more convenient for gun buyers," said Kristen Rand, the legislative director at the Violence Policy Center. "That's the road we've been on for a while: The convenience of gun owner always seems to trump the right of victims not to be shot."

Federal gun laws bar the mentally ill from legally buying guns from licensed dealers. But the law requires that someone be involuntarily committed to a mental health facility or declared mentally ill by a judge, and that information must be reported to the FBI in order to appear on a background checks. In the wake of the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech, state authorities changed state laws to make it tougher for the mentally ill to buy guns there.

But like other recently accused mass shooters, Alexis was never declared mentally ill by a judge or committed to a hospital. He was being treated by the Veterans Administration as recently as August, according to two law enforcement officials, but the Navy had not declared him mentally unfit.

The Virginia Tech shooter, Seung Hi Cho, was declared mentally ill by a judge, but nobody ever reported it to federal authorities to get him included in the database of banned purchasers.

After the December massacre at a Connecticut elementary school, U.S. lawmakers pushed to overhaul gun laws. Among the proposals was a ban on military-style rifles, including the popular AR-15, and high-capacity ammunition magazines. There was also a plan to expand background checks to make sure anyone who wanted a gun got the approval of the federal government.

No legislation has moved forward in Congress, despite urgent pleas from the president, some lawmakers and victims' families.

President Barack Obama has made a few narrow administrative changes, but those are not likely to impact the kinds of guns most often found at crime scenes.

Asked Tuesday about whether the shooting would renew consideration of new gun laws, Obama spokesman Jay Carney said the president hasn't stopped pushing for reform, was making executive changes to federal rules and reiterated his commitment to strengthening gun laws, including expanding background checks to sales online and at gun shows.

"He has not in the least hidden his displeasure and disappointment in Congress for its failure to pass legislation that's supported by 80 percent to 90 percent of the American people," Carney told reporters. "You could not define a case of Congress — or a minority in Congress, a minority in the Senate — taking its cues from a narrow special interest, better than this."

Monday's shooting prompted a new round of calls for action from lawmakers.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Sen. Joe Manchin, D.-W.Va., the author of a bill on background checks, both said they would like to see a vote on the background checks bill, but the votes aren't there for passage at this time.

Still, Reid said he hopes to get another gun control vote this year. "I don't want any more bad things to happen, you know. Something's going to have to get the attention of these characters who don't want any controls."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a leading advocate for tougher gun control in the Senate, said in a statement that the shooting "is one more event to add to the litany of massacres."

"Congress must stop shirking its responsibility and resume a thoughtful debate on gun violence in this country. We must do more to stop this endless loss of life," she said.

Some congressional Democrats and family members of shooting victims planned to gather at the Capitol on Wednesday to renew their push for background check legislation. The trip, organized by the Newtown Action Alliance, was previously planned to mark the nine-month anniversary of the Connecticut school shooting.

For Obama, it was at least the seventh mass shooting of his presidency, and he mourned the victims while speaking at the White House on Monday.

"We are confronting yet another mass shooting, and today it happened on a military installation in our nation's capital," Obama said. "It's a shooting that targeted our military and civilian personnel. These are men and women who were going to work, doing their job protecting all of us. They're patriots, and they know the dangers of serving abroad, but today they faced the unimaginable violence that they wouldn't have expected here at home."



Darwin's choice

Forget what you were going to bs about? Or, your tongue stuck on Big Dogs but?




more name calling from the liberal crew. Name calling and no links. Just ramblings, entitlements and give me more of your money attitude. How pathetic.

Texx Reloader

This tragedy should make it quite obvious gun control don't work. If they can't get AR15's, they will get shotguns, if not shotguns, axes, knives, etc. China is the most controlled population in the world and you still have a significant number of people each year running amok with stabbing and slashing instruments, killing people. As long as we continue to glorify violence in the media, simpletons will act it out. Even the stronger minds will adopt the negative connotations of such imput. It is possible to create drama in a manner people don't get killed by others. Take the movie Backdraft. There is a market for that, and it should be grown. People used to think a movie couldn't be good unless it was filled with profanity. Pressure was brought to bear, and I didn't even realize some of the movies I was watching were just as good without it, until recently. It can be done.


"Feinstein Uses 'Fast and Furious' to Make Case for National Gun Registration"

"Making a case for national gun registration, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said “perhaps mistakes were made” in the botched gun-walking program known as Fast and Furious, but she said trying to assign blame misses the larger problem."

"“My concern, Mr. Chairman, is that there’s been a lot said about Fast and Furious, and perhaps mistakes were made,” Feinstein said. “But I think this hunt for blame doesn’t really speak about the problem. And the problem is, anybody can walk in and buy anything.”

"anybody can walk in and buy anything" is not true at all. Feinstein is a LIAR!

"Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that lax gun control laws, not Obama administration malfeasance within the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATF), was the real problem uncovered by Operation Fast and Furious."

LIAR Feinstein cannot handle the truth!

"On Sunday night, the Spanish-language Univision News aired a “bombshell” hour-long report on their investigation into Operation Fast and Furious, revealing brand new evidence of international weapons smuggling by the U.S. government.

In other words, Univision News took on the job that the mainstream media in the U.S. has failed to do thus far. They also displayed extremely disturbing images of the bloody carnage that occurred as a result of the misguided program."

Those "Fast and Furious" guns are still killing people in Mexico and also Americans in states such as Arizona. The problem is that American news media will not report the facts because it would hurt the image of Feinstein, Holder, Obama and many others. Those military grade weapons are no match for people in Arizona trying to protect themselves with shotguns, bolt action rifles and low capacity semi-autos. Some people in Arizona cannot find ammunition for their guns due to shortages. Homeland Security is buying up all of the ammo so that the citizens cannot use their guns against the drug cartel criminals who cross into Arizona and other states at will, kill Americans and then run back to Mexico. The American news media refuses to report this. Feinstein is a domestic enemy of the United States.

I consider some of the people here posting comments in support of Feinstein to also be domestic enemies as well. They fully support to slowly take all weapons away from Americans. They also tell us to "move" to another country if we do not agree with Feinstein's agenda and others who slowly take away our rights.

At one time, Americans owned military grade firearms, the same type that soldiers used during the American Revolution, Civil War and the first World War.

Our firearms are useless if ammunition cannot be bought for them. Some Americans cannot afford the high prices of ammunition. A .22 Long Rifle bullet is no match against the high powered firearms of the Mexican drug cartel. People in Arizona are very afraid of the "Fast and Furious" weapons paid for by the American taxpayers.


It is a shame that a foreign news media prompts a Congressional inquiry.

"Univision News' Fast and Furious Investigation Prompts Congressional Inquiry"

"The Full Devastating Fast And Furious Exposé By Univision"


News from the people of Arizona

"Today is National Remembrance Day for Americans Killed by Illegal Aliens"

"More than 50,000 Americans have been killed by illegal aliens since 9/11."

"More than 6,000 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since that same date. But nearly ten times that number have been killed right here at home as a consequence of the Federal government’s failure to secure our borders and protect its citizens, in direct violation of the Constitution’s Article IV Section 4:"

"More than 50,000 dead as a direct result of this violation. Yet the media ignores the victims. And politicians don’t recognize the loss of tens of thousands of families."

H.R. 3168 (112th): Illegal Alien Crime Reporting Act of 2011

The Bill died.

Americans are being murdered by illegals everyday yet Feinstein doesn't care.

"Letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California): Courts and Sanctuary Cities Sit Idly By As Illegal Aliens Kill Americans"

"Unfortunately, neither the US Government nor the states track illegal alien crime against Americans. The only way to get a flavor for how bad the situation has become is by doing research on your own. If you attempt this, you may find that you have to dig however. That's because the mainstream press often leaves out information regarding the immigration status of criminals in the stories they write."

The Big Dog's back



Troll and flamer. I have a way of dealing with trolls and flamers with my bag of dirty tricks. :)


Anonymous - #OpNSA: Senator Dianne Feinstein

Ned Mandingo

I love how you sheeple repeat the Main Stream medias opinion that they brain wash into you.

Simple Enough II

Maybe the answer is euthanization? For all those prochoice folks out there think of it just as a "late term" procedure and for those that support the death penalty just consider it "pre-emptive execution". What do we do with the high cost of dealing with "mentally ill" people. The cost is not cheap and the hard part is ensuring that those folks stay on their meds, heck we have folks that get their government check and then off to the crack house they go, now doesn't that just make you all tingley inside. Yes i know not all mentally ill people do that, but plenty do. So what do we do, lock them up for their own good? sounds like we are taking their right of choice away from them aren't we? But once again gun control isn't the answer, I'm sure there were all kinds of warning signs about this guy and everyone one just ignored it "as this is not my problem", "I don't want to get involved" or " let someone else deal with it".


"An Avoidable Tragedy: Aaron Alexis and Mental Illness"

"Stigma haunts the whole field of mental health. Very few people with mental illnesses commit crimes, and it is misleading and unhelpful to suggest otherwise. It needlessly shames people with legitimate complaints and causes them to hide their mental-health status from those around them."

"Screening is virtually nonexistent. Alexis was clearly depressed, and he was also delusional. The story of his complaining that microwaves were being sent through the hotel ceiling to keep him awake is a story of someone with escalating psychosis. The story of his fight at the airport in Virginia, where he accused a woman he didn’t know of laughing at him, reflects acute symptomatic paranoia. The issue of his getting so angry that he fired bullets into the tires of the car of someone who had disrespected him is indicative of extremely labile mood states. And on and on. Not long ago, he went to a V.A. hospital with acute insomnia, which is sometimes a sign of underlying mental disorders, and yet no one screened him there for mental illness, not even for P.T.S.D., which should be a standard procedure at V.A. hospitals."

"Navy Yard suspect Aaron Alexis sought treatment for mental issues"

"There were mental issues that he sought help for from the VA a number of times. He was ... acting normally during work and then having these episodes for which he was trying to get treatment."

The Big Dog's back

The NRA convention in North Carolina was weapons free. None allowed inside. Can you say HYPOCRITES!


The NRA obeyed North Carolina state law about weapons at the convention center. You failed to mention that truth.

"North Carolina State law prohibits the carrying of firearms in the Charlotte Convention Center, and the Time Warner Cable Arena. In addition, the Rules and Regulations of the Charlotte Convention Center prohibit the carrying of firearms in the Center. Pursuant to Time Warner Cable Arena policy, all individuals entering the Arena will be subject to a magnetometer security check."




No guns necessary as long as there are no "Crazy Liberals" around. Crazy Left-Wing Liberal are the ones responsible for all the Mass Murders. As long as you vote Republican or Indepenent you should be issued a gun if you don't already own a few.


Chicago, the democrat's home base, has arguably the toughest set of gun laws in the country. How's that working for them? bahahaha. Not very well as it has the second highest murder rate and they aren't being committed by rolled up newspapers.