Little is known about the shooter’s motive from yesterday’s shooting at Umpqua Community College, but some information is filtering out and raises questions.
Naturally, there are those that immediately blame the gun and wish to impose more restrictions of law-abiding gun owners, ignoring that criminals like this shooter ignore all laws and restrictions.
But according to a CNN article today, the shooter has a history of mental health issues and had sought mental health treatment.
From the article we also read, “Investigators found 13 weapons connected to the man who killed nine people at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College,” and “all weapons were legally obtained through a federal firearms dealer during the last three years by the shooter or family members.”
Assuming some were actually purchased by the shooter (I am not using his name following the lead of the Douglas County Sheriff), he would have had to go through a background check, even if purchased at a gun show unless he held a Concealed Carry Permit, which is not being claimed and would also require a background check to hold.
The article also mentions he served just over a month in the U.S. Army at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, a major Basic Training base where I also received Basic Training, but he was discharged for failing to meet the minimum administrative standards to serve in the Army.
My question is, with that sort of history, why doesn’t it show up and raise a red flag in the background checks he would have been required to have in order to legally obtain a weapon?
All too often we hear of calls for background checks to be expanded, but time and again, much needed information is somehow not accessible or included in such a background check.
Is it because they are granted privacy by HIPAA laws?
If so, shouldn’t our focus turn more towards some modification of those laws in order for such red flag history to be included in background checks and increase the effort to deny such people a legal firearm, instead of focusing primarily on the firearm itself?
Considering this shooter, like every other shooter violates and breaks every known law on the books, will another restriction on the gun itself and not increasing what is made available through background checks actually do any good?
I think not.
And no, it is not a cure all to murder. But it might increase the likelihood of keeping guns out of the hands of certain people.
It is also true that it would not stop anyone from obtaining a firearm illegally. That is whole other issue that will also need addressed.
But, knee jerk reactions as seen in a New Republic article where Republicans offering “Condolences and Prayers” is labeled as political strategy to avoid addressing gun control is of absolutely no help and only creates more animus where less is needed.