It is hard to believe the NRA would make fun of the shooting that almost killed former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords and killed six. But it did this week. It tweeted “Gabby Giffords: Everyone Should Have to Pass Background Check My Attacker Passed,” from its main account.
The belligerent, macabre gloating is reminiscent of the 400 armed gun enthusiasts who greeted Virginia Tech survivors at a Richmond rally to close background check loopholes a year after the massacre and taunted them with “Y’all must be the ones who weren’t armed.” Nice.
The NRA says gun legislation infringes on the Second Amendment and criminals don’t obey laws anyway but the truth is many and possibly most mass shooters sail through their background checks.
The killers responsible for the Tucson, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Navy Yard, Fort Hood, Santa Barbara and Northern Illinois University bloodbaths passed their background checks with flying colors, despite hospitalizations and military discharges for mental illness in some cases.
In 2007, the killers responsible for the Salt Lake City Trolley Square mall shooting and the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard shooting were legal gun owners. The Trolley Square shooter, Sulejman 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.
In 2009. Jiverly Voong killed 13 in Binghamton, NY and Richard Poplawski killed three Pittsburgh police officers and both were legal gun owners who passed their background checks. And let’s not forget Bruce Pardo, one of two shooters who dressed up as Santa Claus in recent years in order to annihilate their families. Pardo bought at least five firearms within five months from a single weapons dealer before killing nine on Christmas Eve in Covina, CA.
In 2008, Latina Williams killed two students at Louisiana Technical College with a 357 revolver and a box of ammunition bought in a New Orleans pawn shop the day before the murders. Williams was delusional, living in her car and giving her possessions away but it was easier for her to buy a gun than Sudafed. Jennifer Sanmarco, who killed six at the Goleta postal facility, was also a legal gun owner as 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.
While the Virginia Tech, Aurora, Tucson, NIU and Louisiana Technical College killers were probably bordering on psychosis when they passed their background checks, gun owners who become mentally unstable after purchasing their guns cannot be identified without a registry and everyone knows a registry is the first step to gun confiscation and an invasion of ATF black helicopters. Just look at the tyrannies that the EU, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand have become because of their gun laws!
Besides, criminals have gun rights too 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.”
Commensurate with its concept of gun “rights,” the NRA works unabashedly to let suspected domestic abusers under orders of protection keep their guns and have guns returned to convicted felons and people hospitalized with mental illness.
It is amazing lawmakers would not widen background checks when one of their own was savaged at a meet-the-public event that could happen to any of them. It is even more amazing lawmakers would support a group that laughs at the event.
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