Whenever a tragedy happens, like the one that happened yesterday at the Navy Ship Yard, the calls for stricter gun control get louder as they should. Yet the argument never truly addresses the issues of these individuals that commit these atrocities. As it now turns out, the shooter in this case, Aaron Alexis, legally purchased the shot gun that he used to over power the guards at the facility and then subsequently took additional weapons belonging to the guards. What we have also learned about the perpetrator is that he was being treated for mental illness and he had multiple legal problems in the past including incidents with guns.
In this case, the background check that was done on him did work. The prior incidents' never had charges pressed and the mental health concerns are not reported because of the privacy laws that protect us all. Where do we go from here? It's clear that the mental issues were a concern and it is also clear that no action was taken to enter him into a database to prevent him from buying the gun that provided him the opportunity to enter the base with force.
Though some believe that the banning of all guns may be a solution, our constitution prohibits the termination of that right. While others believe that banning of high capacity weapons and ammunition clips would prevent these events from happening, in this case, that type of weapon was not used. There are few people discussing what to do about the mental health issues which in this case, the Newtown and the Aurora shootings, all had histories of mental health issues.
An honest discussion of gun control options has to include what to do with individuals that have mental health issues and how to incorporate them into the same database that is used to do the initial background check. There has to be a way to prohibit these individuals from purchasing guns, which is legal with the current system, without disregarding the legitimate privacy concerns.
It's difficult for us, who have not experienced the loss of a friend or family member in this type of event, to understand their grief and anger, but we, as a nation have to address the true causes of these events. The right path isn't necessarily easy, but it's the path we have to take in order to stop gun violence caused by the mentally ill.