POSTED: 11:49 a.m. HST, Sep 17, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 11:55 a.m. HST, Sep 17, 2013
Sen. Brian Schatz today renewed his support for expanded criminal and mental health background checks following the tragic deaths of 13 people in a shooting at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard:
"We have to do whatever we can to prevent this type of tragedy from occurring again, "Schatz said in a written news release." I call on my colleagues to pass bipartisan gun safety reform. When the Senate debated this issue in April, we saw widespread consensus from the public on commonsense reforms, such as expanding criminal and mental health background checks".
In April, the Senate failed to pass legislation that would require background checks, preventing criminals from purchasing guns:
"While legislation can't put an end to all violence, lawmakers must do what is right and close the gaping holes in our system in order to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the severely mentally ill. Now is the time to do the right thing," Schatz said.
However, authorities have said that accused gunman Aaron Alexis had no felony record or court ruling of mental illness that would have prevented him from buying guns.
Despite two gun-related incidents in Seattle and Fort Worth, neither resulted in conviction, leaving Alexis' criminal record clear of any felony that would have blocked his recent purchase of the 12-gauge shotgun at a Virginia gun store.
Alexis also sought treatment for mental illness, a federal law enforcement official said. Yet despite his complaints of paranoid symptoms, Alexis still remained eligible to purchase the gun because there is no record that a court had formally declared him mentally ill.