Navy Yard Shooter’s Gun Purchase Was Probably Legal Any Way You Cut It

The weapon Aaron Alexis used in the Washington Navy Yard shooting appears to have been purchased in accordance with current and proposed gun laws

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Navy Yard Shooter Alleged Suspect Aaron Alexis
FBI / Getty Images

Aaron Alexis

According to multiple news reports, government contractor and former Navy Reservist Aaron Alexis killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday with a shotgun he bought legally from a gun store in Lorton, Va., in nearby Fairfax County, less than 20 miles from the scene of the crime.

But how could someone with a history of misconduct in the Navy and gun-related incidents as a civilian legally purchase a firearm?

To buy the shotgun, Alexis passed Virginia’s criminal-history-record information check, which disqualifies someone from buying a firearm if they have been convicted of a felony, acquitted of a crime by reason of insanity, dishonorably discharged from the military or subjected to a restraining order.

Although Alexis had been arrested for two previous gun incidents — including shooting out the tires of a co-worker’s car, according to information released by the Seattle Police Department — he was not prosecuted in either case. And despite unauthorized absences, insubordination and disorderly conduct during his time as a Naval Reservist, Alexis was granted an honorable discharge under the Early Enlisted Transition Program in January 2011. Even if the Navy had given Alexis a general discharge as it originally sought to do, he would have been able to buy the gun.

 

Recently defeated federal gun-control measures wouldn’t have stopped Alexis’ purchase either. Legislation co-sponsored by Senators Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Joe Manchin of West Virginia in April would have provided grants to states to improve the national crime database and include mental-health records for the seriously mentally ill. But while Alexis’ father told police that his son had anger-management issues and suffered from posttraumatic-stress disorder, there is no evidence that any member of his family sought legal action for his reported mental-health issues.

In other words, neither current nor proposed laws would have blocked Alexis from arming himself.

22 comments
bethmikeon1210
bethmikeon1210

25000 peeps die in drunk driving related accidents. . . .EACH YEAR. . . .no one says stop cars from being built or alcohol restricted form nut cases. . . .why is that ?

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

The NRA would have been screaming to let this man buy a gun if he had been denied it.  They are on record for opposing gun restrictions for the mentally deranged, convicted felons and even children.  They are opposed to all legislation that enforces the FIRST part of the second amendment (that is the part about being in a well regulated militia) while demanding assault rifles be available to anyone who wants one.

WHY?  What sane person NEEDS one?  What sane person WANTS ONE?

Banning them, and taking them out of civilian hands, is fine with me.  The country got along GREAT with bloody FLINTLOCKS.  Why any moron thinks they NEED an assault rifle is beyond me.  And here's why.

The ONLY purpose for having an assault rifle is to kill civilians in large numbers.  Since a Zombie Apocalypse doesn't seem immanent, there's no rational reason to have these things.  The ONLY irrational reason I can think of to have one is to go to "war" against the federal government. 

Taking on the federal government, which commands the strongest, most powerful military on the face of the planet with an AR...  Like I said, it's an irrational reason, and treasonous to boot.

The number of these kinds of incidents was much lower under the assault weapons ban.  We need another.  Granted it won't STOP them.  But your right to have a gun that only has one traitorous purpose isn't superseded by the right of hundreds of others to live their lives out without being cut down every damn year by some whack-job the NRA wants to embrace and love because they're humping an assault rifle with a grin as they mow down innocent civilians.

buffalo.barnes102
buffalo.barnes102

So glad the mentally "troubled" are able to exercise their 2nd amendment rights. If nothing else, shouldn't a psychiatrist/psychologist have some sort of responsibility to give a heads-up to authorities if their patient is displaying signs of something like this? As a Viet-Nam vet with a 100% PTSD rating, I am not permitted to buy a gun yet this guy is? 

NZAircraftFan
NZAircraftFan

This guy shouldn't have been workingfor the navy at all and he should have getting treatment which looks like wasn't getting. There needs of course more checks on gun owners but that won't happen the NSA will stop that.

DaveDavis
DaveDavis

Oh gee, it seems like that everything we propose to make it harder for bad guys to get guns has failed again, so, we pretty much have to just ban them all.

OH, and it wasn't an AR15, it wasn't any other ahem "Assault" weapon, it was Elmer Fudds twusty old shotgun, you wascally wabbit...

I guess next time a sling shot is used, we better get back to banning those darned stones.

Heaven forbid we try and help the mentally ill, or actually track the criminals, let alone enforce the existing laws on the books, which DIDN'T happen, AGAIN, in this case.

POSDCORB
POSDCORB

Regardless of how he acquired a gun he had a DOD background investigation ten times more intense than a gun purchase or he wouldn't have been admitted into the Navy Yard (or any DOD base). THEY HAD: finger prints, V.A. records, military records, ID photo, school records, birth records, DD2w14 records.  Do you remember BEFORE we had TSA's?  There was a 9/11 incident and now we have TSA's?   Do you feel safer? Do you like airports better?  Do like planes better?  Do you think it couldn't happen again?  How much SAFER would you like them to make airports?  Be careful what you ask for -- you just may get it.  The same government that gave you TSA's gave you Social Security, Medicare, EEO, OEO,  ADA, SEC (Martha Stewart) - Enron,  DEA, Homeland Security, FEMA,  FDA (mad cow), ATF, NSA, IRS, VA medical coverage,  O-care, AMTRAK (better than nothing) ... shall I go one??

FreeToSpeakOut
FreeToSpeakOut

...although there is the questionnaire forms that must be completed that you must state any drug use, mental illness and past criminal history. He must have skipped over the mental illness part. Purchasing a shotgun or rifle is much more lax than a handgun. Even the age limit is 18 instead of 21. The cause here is mental illness and the lack of prosecution with his previous arrests.

As for blind people purchasing firearms, that's part of Federal law with the ADA, to not discriminate against the disabled.

felman87
felman87

Well, if blind people can purchase guns in Iowa, why can't the mentally ill?

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@DaveDavis Last time I looked, dozens aren't killed all in the same incident with shotguns, Elmer.  In mass shootings, it's assault weapons and semi-automatics the VAST majority of the time.

Enforcing existing laws would be great, if they didn't have gaping holes I could shove my d**k through to avoid having to follow them.  Helping the mentally ill means actually spending money and the f**ktards on the right are opposed to spending money - especially for humanitarian reasons.  With our crippled congress, and the NRA actively opposing everything that keeps firearms out of the hands of children, the mentally ill and even convicted felons, there is no way we're going to pass ANY legislation to do as your pie in the sky BS suggests.

What the hell are you to believe in that idealistic nonsense?  A Democrat?

AFPilot
AFPilot

@POSDCORB ..and how many planes have terrorists taken down since 9-11?

Seems like you have a problem with the USA. Feel free to move anytime, cause my guess is....your little crying is going to change nothing.... Please send us your Paypal address so we can all donate to your one way ticket out of here...

buffalo.barnes102
buffalo.barnes102

@jabrahamcollins @buffalo.barnes102 

There's enough blame for everyone. Perhaps it is time to look at the doctor/patient protocols ruling . If a Doctor(s) knew of his "problems" and did not say anything, I feel he is guilty as if he loaded the gun for the shooter. But, my gosh, we don't want to invade the privacy of a seriously unhinged man, do we? If we did most of Congress would be on the street. 

KrisPoole
KrisPoole

@AFPilot @POSDCORB Yeah, but how many commercial airliners were taken down in the 80 years BEFORE 9/11? And refresh my memory - how many terrorists has the TSA stopped? Better yet, what's the ratio of innocent people harassed by TSA to terrorists stopped? Because I'm pretty sure the number is astronomical (probably infinity).


I'm curious why someone who is so pro-USA is fine with an agency staffed by under-trained yokels (who wouldn't make the cut as a mall security guard), with a penchant for abusing the Constitutional rights of American citizens. All with minimal oversight, of course. Sounds like you'd be pretty happy in Soviet Russia. Want us to get you that one-way ticket?

buffalo.barnes102
buffalo.barnes102

@DeweySayenoff @jabrahamcollins @buffalo.barnes102 

Good points. However, it said in the story that he was given an "Honorable" discharge, under the auspices of the Early Enlistment Transition Program. Probably a fancy name for cleaning out all the malcontents and sh*tbirds that the Navy didn't know what to do with.

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@jabrahamcollins @buffalo.barnes102 Under current law, if a mental health worker believes that a person is a danger to himself or others, they are allowed to report it.  Greed keeps them from doing so unless they're hired to find out if someone is a danger in the first place.

And this guy wasn't under the current care of anyone before he bought his gun and killed a dozen people.  His mental heath issues were discovered in the Navy and he was less than honorably discharged for them.  Something that would have been obvious if there had been background checks that included mental health evaluations regardless of source or time that had to be done BEFORE someone bought a gun.  The NRA has been against those from word one.

So this argument is completely moot and proves the point that background checks which include all mental health records should be mandatory before anyone could be sold any firearm.

jabrahamcollins
jabrahamcollins

@buffalo.barnes102 @jabrahamcollins The same can be said of a client that confesses of guilt to his attorney; the attorney can take no action because of confidentiality restrictions. The exceptions for physicians and psychiatrists are so slim and risky that none ever take action as the professional risks going to trial over it.

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