More information has been flowing in on the Navy Yard shootings, and as usual, it turns out that much of the early news about the incident was wrong.
Aaron Alexis apparently suffered from rather severe mental illness, for which he was being treated by the Veterans Administration. The Associated Press tells us that Alexis “had been suffering a host of serious mental issues, including paranoia and a sleep disorder. He also had been hearing voices in his head.”
We don’t yet know when or how Alexis obtained the weapons that he used in his rampage–more about that in a moment. But it would be interesting to find out whether, even today, Alexis would pass a background check that would enable him to purchase a gun from a federally licensed dealer. Liberals always want to extend background checks to private firearms transactions, but the problem with background checks is not that they don’t extend to enough sales, but rather that there aren’t enough mentally ill people on the don’t-sell list. For example, Seung-Hui Cho, who carried out the worst mass shooting in American history at Virginia Tech, was nutty as a fruitcake but was at all times able to pass federal background checks.
Further, the FBI now says that early information about the firearms used by Alexis was wrong. Apparently he brought only one weapon, a shotgun, into the Navy Yard, and used that weapon along with two handguns that he obtained from murdered guards. At this point, the word is that no AR-15 was involved in the shootings. Of course, this news should also be regarded as tentative.
Assuming the latest version is correct, there are multiple ironies. Liberals were already beating the drums for another effort to ban “assault weapons.” Oops. And last night, Dianne Feinstein seemed poised to offer legislation banning ownership of multiple firearms; yet, if the latest report is true, Alexis may have brought only one weapon to the Yard. We also can’t help noting that the shotgun is Joe Biden’s favorite firearm.
Whenever an event like the Navy Yard shootings occurs, it exposes the yawning chasm of ignorance about firearms that exists in the liberal media. There are millions of Americans who know a lot about guns, but apparently none of them works for the New York Times, the Washington Post, NBC or CNN. Here is the latest howler, via Ed Morrissey. This is a screen grab from Anderson Cooper’s show on CNN: “Official: Alexis legally purchased AR15 shotgun.”
As our readers undoubtedly know, a rifle is a rifle and a shotgun is a shotgun. They are two entirely different things. The AR-15 is a semiautomatic rifle. It is remarkable that people so steeped in ignorance would purport, not only to inform the rest of us, but to hector us about our views.
UPDATE: The FBI has also officially confirmed that Alexis was the only shooter, and there are no further suspects.
FURTHER UPDATE: The Virginia store where Alexis bought his shotgun has evidently been identified, and confirms that Alexis passed his background check. This is not surprising, given that he apparently retained “Secret” clearance with the federal government as of yesterday. References to an AR-15 in the linked story are, I take it, out of date and incorrect.