Breaking Update: CNN is reporting that there may not have been an AR-15 recovered at the scene, as originally reported, but a shotgun and two handguns. Here is an excerpt from the CNN report:
"However, federal law enforcement sources told CNN Tuesday that authorities have recovered three weapons from the scene of the mass shooting, including one -- a shotgun -- that investigators believe Alexis brought in to the compound. The other two weapons, which sources say were handguns, may have been taken from guards at the Navy complex.
The sources, who have detailed knowledge of the investigation, cautioned that initial information that an AR-15 was used in the shootings may have been incorrect..."
Here is the original story filed this morning on Examiner:
Anti-gun Senator Dianne Feinstein wasted no time exploiting yesterday’s mass shooting at the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters in southeast Washington, D.C. – a crime involving a one-time Seattle resident – and neither did the Brady Campaign or the Washington Post editorial board.
The local CBS affiliate in Washington is reporting that White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Barack Obama is “implementing executive actions and reiterated his commitment to strengthening gun laws, including expanding background checks to sales online and at gun shows,” as if any of this would have prevented Monday’s shooting.
Feinstein, the perennial gun hating Democrat from California, quickly issued a statement, “This is one more event to add to the litany of massacres that occur when a deranged person or grievance killer is able to obtain multiple weapons — including a military-style assault rifle — and kill many people in a short amount of time. When will enough be enough?”
The Washington Post demanded, “How did he acquire his weapons (an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun and a semiautomatic pistol were reportedly found on him), and how did he bring them onto a gated facility?” An opinion piece also appearing in the same newspaper also calls for more restrictions.
The Brady Campaign’s Dan Gross accused “the corporate gun lobby’s friends in Congress” of obstructing extremist gun control measures his lobbying organization advocates. He also offered, “While it is too early to know what policies might have prevented this latest tragedy, we do know that policies that present a real opportunity to save lives sit stalled in Congress, policies that could prevent many of the dozens of deaths that result every day from gun violence.”
All of this came while investigators were still processing the crime scene, and before all the bodies had been removed.
How did Aaron Alexis obtain his firearms? Published reports say he purchased the Remington 870 pump shotgun – a model used by generations of American sportsmen and law enforcement, in various configurations, since its introduction in 1951 – last week in Virginia. There are many configurations of that shotgun that fall into the “tactical” arena, with synthetic stocks (solid or folding), pistol grips, extended magazine tubes, and spare ammunition carriers on the receiver.
The recovered handgun appears to have been the duty sidearm of his first victim, the security officer he shot in the head. Alexis apparently took that man’s pistol and a spare magazine.
It is the AR-15’s origin that for the moment remains murky. According to the Washington Times late yesterday, authorities are investigating the possibility that Alexis also took that gun from one of his victims. (Or, if the CNN breaking news above is correct, there was not an AR-15 involved. Examiner will update as more information becomes available.)
If that is the case, a ban on private ownership would not have prevented the use of that gun in the shooting. The shooter did not bring it with him; it would already have been there.
In the event all of this is confirmed, and that the only gun Alexis had when he arrived at the scene was the shotgun, then at least one Seattle Times reader this morning already has asked the pertinent question: How would proposed new gun laws have prevented this?
That appears to be the real issue, and one that only draws generalities in response from the gun prohibition lobbyists demanding more extremist legislation. The argument that if would-be killers didn’t have guns to begin with, they couldn’t commit the crimes does not pass the smell test. You simply take guns from your victims, and Friday night’s fatal stabbing in Seattle’s Pioneer Square area confirms that one needn’t have a gun, but only a knife, to kill someone.
Reporters are being crafty with their reporting this morning, suggesting only that authorities are investigating whether Alexis may have gotten the handgun and rifle “at the scene.” The translation of that is what was mentioned above, that he took the weapons from people he shot during the rampage. No amount of background checking, no waiting period, no one-gun-a-month or any other gun control scheme could prevent that.
This case brings up another question, one that was raised following the Fort Hood massacre. On a military installation, one would think many personnel just might be carrying at least sidearms. But that is not the case. These are essentially “gun free zones” and that seems like madness to critics who argue that if we trust military personnel with tanks, artillery, jet bombers, aircraft carriers, missiles and mortars, why don’t we trust them to carry small arms while on duty?
Whatever happened to the argument from anti-gunners that “only military and police should have guns?” That argument disintegrates when we do not even allow the on-duty military to have guns while on a military base.
As Monday’s case confirms, when a determined person chooses to ignore prohibitions, the results can be dramatic and devastating.
David Codrea weighs in on gun-free zone shootings.
Kurt Hofmann talks about so-called "assault weapons."