Another mass shooting, Congress remains silent

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This time the mass shooting was in the nation’s capital.

A dozen people and the gunman died in a shooting rampage Monday at the Washington Navy Yard. It was the deadliest attack at a domestic military installation since November 2009, when an Army psychiatrist killed 13 people and wounded 30 others on a military base in Fort Hood, Texas.

The Navy Yard shooting comes less than a year since the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school.

The horror at the Washington Navy Yard was the 10th U.S. mass shooting incident in which 10 or more were wounded or killed. One study showed there has been a mass shooting in America once a month since 2009.

Yet our lawmakers do little to nothing about gun violence.

After Adam Lanza, 20, went into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and gunned down 20 first-graders, six teachers and staff with an assault rifle there was debate over tightening firearm laws.

Yet the president and Congress have been unable to get legislation passed strengthening background checks despite these mass shootings.
The powerful gun lobby has made our lawmakers afraid to take action on sensible gun legislation. It does not help that last week voters recalled two Colorado legislators who supported tougher gun laws.

So the president is implementing executive actions on his own and reiterating his commitment to strengthening gun laws, including expanding background checks to sales online and at gun shows.

There are no easy answers to mass shooting.

Authorities have not released a possible motive in the shooting at the headquarters for Naval Sea Systems Command that left 12 people—and the gunman—dead. But a friend said the shooter, Aaron Alexis, was locked in a dispute over money with the company that contracted him to work for the Navy.

Investigators also learned that Alexis had recently made contact with two Veterans Administration hospitals for apparent psychological issues, law enforcement sources told CNN.

But just because there are no easy answers does not mean that there is nothing that can be done.

Once again a mentally ill person is able to pass background checks and obtain a gun under lenient gun laws. In this case the mentally unstable person has demonstrated issues with anger management and arrests for shooting episodes. Yet Alexis, who reportedly heard voices and admitted problems with uncontrollable anger, was able to obtain a gun.

More can be done to treat the mentally ill, especially those who may be prone to violence, and more can be done by Congress to strengthen gun laws so those with a history of violent mental illness cannot easily obtain guns.

(Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune)

 

 

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