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Most Mass Shooters Pass Background Checks

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You wouldn't drive drunk to reduce the risk from drunk drivers. You wouldn't cheat on your taxes to stop offshore tax cheats. Yet whenever there is a mass shooting, the gun lobby says the answer to too many guns is more guns.

An hour after more than 70 people were shot in Colorado, the shootings were blamed on no one shooting back. If all those people sitting in the dark theater had just been strapped--well maybe not the children…

Even though Tucson's heavily armed citizenry failed to stop Jared Lee Loughner's rampage last year that killed six people, including a US district court judge, and almost killed former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz), the gun lobby pushes for the right to carry firearms on college campuses, in state parks, in coffee shops, on trains, in home rule communities that forbid them and of course in the workplace. Laws that restrict gun owners from taking their weapons everywhere oppress them says the National Rifle Association (NRA) which calls itself a civil rights group. Did James Eagen Holmes, the Batman suspect, feel oppressed too?

No matter how extreme shooting rampages become--an Alabama shooter killed his mother, grandmother, uncle, two cousins, the wife and daughter of a sheriff's deputy and three more in 2009; an Illinois shooter killed a pastor in church through the Bible he was holding the same year--they're not as extreme as the idea of limiting gun sales, says the gun lobby. And politicians, intimidated by the gun lobby's horse-head-in-the-bed tactics, agree and leave laws on the books that exclude no one.

One result is most mass shooters sail through background checks. Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech killer, Stephen Phillip Kazmierczak, the Northern Illinois University killer, Sulejman Talovic, the Salt Lake City's Trolley Square mall shooter and Vincent J. Dortch, the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard shooter were all legal gun owners. Talovic was a Bossnian immigrant, legally required to show a second piece of identification, but bought the murder weapon at Sportsman's Fastcash, a pawnshop chain in Utah, with just one, say investigators.

Jiverly Voong, who killed 13 in Binghamton, NY and Richard Poplawski, who killed three Pittsburgh police officers, both in 2009, were legal gun owners. So was Bruce Pardo, one of two shooters dressed as Santa Claus is recent years, who bought at least five firearms within five months from a single weapons dealer before killing nine on Christmas Eve in Covina, CA.

Latina Williams, the Louisiana Technical College killer who was living in her car, paranoid and delusional and giving her possessions away in suicidal gestures, walked right into a New Orleans pawn shop and bought a .357 revolver and a box of ammunition the day before the shootings. Hey, she had rights. Jennifer Sanmarco, the Goleta postal facility killer was also a legal gun owner. So were Terry Ratzmann, the Milwaukee church service killer, Chai Vang the Wisconsin hunter killer and Bart Ross, who killed a Chicago Federal judge's husband and mother. Is there anyone who can't buy a firearm?

Even criminals should have gun rights says the gun lobby. When three major Florida law enforcement groups sought to tighten laws after the Sun Sentinel reported concealed weapon licenses issued to 1,400 probable felons (including a man who shot his girlfriend as she cooked breakfast, a pizza deliveryman wanted for fatally shooting a 15-year-old over a stolen order of chicken wings and six registered sex offenders), NRA lobbyist Marion P. Hammer said, "When you begin taking away the rights of people that you don't like, that's the slippery slope."