Of shotguns and on-line checks.


That is a Remington 870 pump action shotgun.   This is a sporting weapon.  You can hunt deer or people with it but mostly it is useful for hunting ducks, pheasants and rabbits.  Aaron Alexis bought one of these legally at a sporting goods store in Virginia.  The dealer put his paperwork through the online State Police run background check before selling him the shotgun.  The State Police ran the data through the national gun check data base and he came up clean.  Why?  He had no record of mental illness or of a conviction for a felony.  So, people who want to talk about the need for gun sale background checks should remember that this fellow was checked.

There was a lot of media driven early talk on the subject of what this man was armed with.  He had this shotgun and that is all.  He seems to have sawn a foot off the stock and barrel to make it fit into his backpack but that's is all.  He DID NOT have a rifle.  He did not have an AK-47.  He did not have an AR-15.  He did not have any sort of rifle.  He did not have a handgun when he entered the Navy Yard.  He acquired one or two handguns from police and security guards that he shot IN THE YARD.

 Now, with regard to Alexis' secret level security clearance.  He was given that in the Naval Reserve.  This is a low level clearance done on the basis of a records check.  It is good for ten years because to re-do the check more than that would be an onerous task given the number of people, both civilian and military, who have this level of clearance.  He was discharged from the Navy with an honorable discharge.  He subsequently sought employment with A Defense Department sub-contracting compnay in the field he had worked in when in the Naval Reserve.  This company applied through the appropriate agency for a secret clearance for this man.  The Navy was asked for input.  They replied that this honorably discharged sailor had posessed a secret clearance and that the periodicity of it had not expired.  On that basis the clearance was restored in JPAS, the on-line data base for contractor clearances.  With that in hand the hiring company went to the Navy Yard and asked that Alexis be given passes to enter the Navy Yard and Building 197, where he worked on whatever it was that they had a contract for.  He had worked there every day the week before the attack.

Alexis undocumented descent into madness escaped the attention of all.  Alexis was a paranoind schizophrenic.  This is a degenerative brain disease.  Such people can be quite plausible as to normality for short periods of time and attention.

End of story.  pl

This entry was posted in Current Affairs, Gun Control. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Of shotguns and on-line checks.

  1. John Minnerath says:

    Same old same old.
    That group of people opposed to private firearm ownership jump all over this stuff whether there are supporting facts for their argument or not.

  2. DC says:

    The latest unfortunate incident is a perfect example of why mental health checks should be strengthened as part of national gun laws. The logic flows clearly from the example:
    1. Alexis was a nut.
    2. He had been diagnosed as mentally troubled more than once, but records of those diagnoses did now up in the gun check.
    3. If those diagnoses had shown up in the gun check, he either would not have had the gun or it would have been a lot harder for him to get a legal gun.
    4. Thereby reducing the likelihood of the killings.
    The prescription here is to require a mental health checkup as part of gun purchases. Of course, I know such legislation will never happen. But to avoid acknowledging that such legislation would reduce incidents of mass killings is foolish given the facts. It would also do nothing to prevent the overwhelming majority of Americans from purchasing a firearm if they want one.

  3. walter says:

    Col. Lang, schizophrenia is not a degenerative disease; in fact, a famous longitudinal study of outcomes of schizophrenics known in my field as The Vermont Study showed that people with schizophrenia generally get better over time; they learn ways to control, manage their symptoms.
    Why this is relevant to me is that there is hope for these people if they are helped by their family members, community, professionals. They can develop insight, knowledge, understanding of themselves and their disorder and become productive members of society.
    Another famous study showed that schizophrenic individuals in poor nations have much better outcomes than those in USA because they are integrated into the fabric of the community; they are given tasks appropriate to their abilities like gardening, cleaning up, etc. In America, they are marginalized, separated from others.
    This man probably did not have paranoid schizophrenia. He probably had another mental disorder which included occasional psychotic symptoms. Many other mental illnesses can result in psychosis: severe depression, PTSD, Brief Psychotic Disorder, certain Personality Disorders….
    The point of all this is to get this guy into the mental health system forcibly or voluntarily so he can get treated.

  4. nightsticker says:

    Colonel Lang,
    12 KIA, 8 WIA, I found the
    ammo expended to casualties inflicted ratio almost unbelievably high for a lone shooter with a newly
    purchased 870 and a pocket(s)ful of ammo.
    The KIA to WIA ratio is really way high
    also. I guess it could have gone down that way
    but it is statistically quite different from
    my knowledge of FBI/Military/Police shootings at
    “bad guys”.Just saying…
    USMC 65-72
    FBI 72-96

  5. The Twisted Genius says:

    Just read a NYT article that Alexis was prevented from buying an AR-15 (his first choice) at the Lorton gun shop because Virginia state law prevented the sale of that particular kind of weapon to a nonresident. He settled for the shotgun. That legal restriction intrigues me. It seems arbitrary. I’m surprised it’s in the Virginia code. If the law prevented sale of any firearm to a nonresident it would make more sense… and I’d support it. The AR-15/AK-47 style weapon has been singled out for emotional reasons only. With enough aftermarket black plastic parts, I could make that 870 look twice as scary as any “assault rifle.” Although shotguns of any kind look pretty damned menacing when trained on you by a bunch of nervous DEA agents at night in the Everglades. Trust me on that one.

  6. turcopolier says:

    It seemed degenerative and progressive in my mother. I managed to be absent but my sister bore the brunt of her behavior. pl

  7. Tyler says:

    Watch this vanish down the memory hole like Chris Dorner.
    Black shooter, no dead children, no magical death spitting AR15, black on white violence.
    Now we’re seeing Omar Thorton 2: Electric Boogaloo, where he apparently felt discriminated against so Y T is to blame again.

  8. Fred says:

    “The prescription here is to require a mental health checkup as part of gun purchases. ”
    Will this include the current 100,000,000+ gun owners or just new purchases?
    Who’s paying for it?
    “Alexis was a nut.” What medical diagnosis said this? As the host pointed out “Alexis undocumented descent into madness escaped the attention of all.”
    What other rights will you want to take away ‘just in case’? Surely the ‘mentally ill’ should not be school teachers or policeman, now should they? Should the mentally ill be allowed to be a parent? Why? If we can trust them with children why can’t we trust them with a firearm?
    Good luck getting your legislation passed.

  9. jerseycityjoan says:

    I haven’t followed the details of this case really closely, but let me assure you, you are not the only one thinking and asking about the inability of disturbed people to get the help they need.
    We have had various cases in the NYC area where people committed crimes after shuffling in and out of various places and being released due to space and money considerations only.
    Overall I think the answer is we do not have enough inpatient or outpatient treatment for the seriously mentally ill.
    Why there are never any suits from people or their family members insisting they be accepted for treatment and kept in a program or facility until they are better is a mystery to me.
    I suppose it’s the overreaction to warehousing in earlier times. But we’ve had years to see the consequences of leaving the mentally ill to mostly shuffle about on their own.
    We can’t honestly say we don’t know there’s a big problem. Clearly we don’t feel like doing anything about it. I would like to think this incident would change things, but I don’t think it will. We seem unwilling to spend more money on this. Yet lots of these untreated people end up costing us just as much or more in other ways than treatment for them would.
    This is another example of the many domestic problems that our elites don’t want to deal with, so they don’t.

  10. Peter C says:

    nightsticker, from talking to people who have studied the phenomenon of people taking a weapon for the first time to commit a mass shooting and having a high KIA for ammo expended is a result of First Person Shooter video games. These games are like flight training simulators.

  11. turcopolier says:

    This guy was able to buy the shotgun because of a provision in VA law that allows the purchase of a scatter gun by a non-resident. that should be fixed. pl

  12. Laura Wilson says:

    From Michelle Singletary on mental health care under “Obamacare”:
    Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance plans offered in the new marketplaces will have to cover a core set of services called “essential health benefits.” Included on the list of 10 benefits are mental-health and substance-use disorder services, which include behavioral health treatment, counseling and psychotherapy. Specifically, as part of what’s considered preventive services, plans will also cover alcohol-misuse screening and counseling, depression screening for adults and adolescents, domestic and interpersonal violence screening for women, and behavioral assessments for children.
    Here are two important points about mental-health coverage under Obamacare. First, the coverage for behavioral health services must be generally comparable with coverage for medical and surgical care. Second, plans offered in the marketplace have to cover preventive services without charging customers a co-payment or coinsurance even if you haven’t met your yearly deductible. But the services have to be delivered by a network provider.

  13. Maureen Lang says:

    You were always only a phone call away, Pat. Taking the long view, can’t help but wonder if perhaps more than one diagnosis could have been applicable, as in a “dual diagnosis.” God knows I’m no expert in the psych field.
    Re: Alexis- as with the Sandy Hook killings, imo the shooter’s diseased state of mind went untreated, was ignored, downplayed, excused. The results cannot be ignored though, as every tv talking head & op-ed columnist is informing us ad nauseam.
    And in a week, maybe less, Alexis’ actions will be old news, as the 24/7 cycle moves on to the Next Big Story.

  14. Peter C says:

    State gun laws are like State and Local liquor laws. Hundreds maybe thousands of variations and interpretations will make access a patchwork.
    In Texas a fully automatic Silenced/Suppressed Machine pistol is legal to own and conceal carry. Just pony up the $$ for federal and state permits.
    In California, good luck on figuring out what you own is legal.
    Long time ago it was rumored that a Rancher in Wyoming purchased a tank and had a functioning cannon, he had a destructive devises permit. In all my years I’ve never come across a de-milled artillery piece, except some town square donated display. So, I do think this was a fancy rumor at best. Big ranches big stories.

  15. walter says:

    PL, yes for many it never gets better and some get worse. But some, I believe it was 60% in the Vermont Study. I am no expert, I doubt anybody is, although I treat many schizophrenics (I am a psychotherapist) and many other individuals who don’t have schizophrenia who do have occasional psychotic episodes.
    This guy also could have gone into the VA and said he heard voices to try to get benefits; many soldiers know what to say, and are actually trained what and how to say it to get the maximum disability benefits. I was told that on Guam the soldiers basically read from a script to get their PTSD diagnosis.

  16. John Minnerath says:

    The annual Wyoming event, held near Casper.
    It’s a long video, but there’s something for everyone.

  17. turcopolier says:

    John minnerath
    I used to have several shotguns. One was a beautiful 12 gauge Ithaca autoloader Centennial. I used it to hunt wild boar in Turkey and ducks on the flyway that passes through that country from Russia to Africa. Deer slugs worked well on the boar but they would still run several hundred yards with one through the chest. I still have a double barrelled coach gun and a Savage 24E-DL built in 1951. I am going to Clark Brothers and will trade that one for something… Something.

  18. John Minnerath says:

    Events like the Wyoming Machinegun and Cannon Shoot are called NFA events referring to the fact that all those firearms are regulated by the federal NFA. There are a number of those shoots around the country.There’s one coming up in Arizona.
    It takes some deep pockets to be a part of that group of gun owners/collectors.
    Keep that Savage, it’s a classic, and trade off the coach gun.

  19. nick b says:

    I live down the street from the old DuPont Foxcatcher estate. Before his imprisonment and death, John DuPont was known to ride around the estate in an old military tank. Neighbors say he used it to clear land. Not sure if the tank could fire, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it did.

Comments are closed.