In what some might consider a stunning bit of candor, spokespersons for two gun control groups reportedly acknowledged to the Roanoke Times yesterday that background checks would not have prevented Wednesday’s carefully planned on-air slayings of two broadcast journalists in Virginia.
The newspaper reported that Lori Haas, state director for the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, an affiliate of the anti-gun Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, “told the newspaper she’s not aware of any background check system that could have prevented someone like (gunman Vester Lee) Flanagan from purchasing a gun.” The newspaper confirmed that Flanagan had legally purchased a pistol last month and had passed a background check.
Likewise, the newspaper quoted Andrew Goddard, legislative director of the Virginia Center for Public Safety, who stated, “Even the best background system in the world would not have prevented this shooting.” VACPS describes itself as “a non-profit, non-partisan grass roots organization dedicated to the reduction of gun violence in Virginia.”
Yet, other gun prohibitionists were quick to trot out the tread worn argument that more thorough background checks are necessary to prevent this sort of so-called “gun violence.” As earlier reported, even Virginia Gov. Tarry McAuliffe, a Democrat, started talking about background checks even before Flanagan was stopped by Virginia state troopers, and he fatally shot himself.
This comes as the chief medical examiner in Roanoke released a report this morning that revealed WDBJ reporter Alison Parker died from gunshot wounds to the chest and head, and that cameraman Adam Ward was shot in the head and torso. The man who killed them died from self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, the report added, according to WTVR.
One might presume that Flanagan, who went by the on-air name of Bryce Williams, should have been somehow identified as a potentially dangerous fellow with an anger management problem.
However, one simply cannot deprive someone of their civil rights – and the Second Amendment protects an individual civil right, whether anti-gunners like it or not – simply because he’s a hothead.
But this morning, KIRO’s Dave Ross may have started “cracking a code” on this still-unfolding story. In a commentary broadcast during the Puget Sound morning drive time, Ross referred to a “gaping loophole” that has nothing to do with guns. He noted that WDBJ General Manager Jeffrey Marks had discussed how that station’s human resources department had checked Flanagan’s references before he was hired, and that “they all came back positive.”
“It’s very hard to get a negative reference these days,” Marks said, as quoted by Ross. “Most companies have policies that forbid their people from giving negative references.” They are worried about lawsuits, Ross noted, “so afraid of lawsuits over a negative reference that they will suppress the truth about people like Vester Flanagan.”
Flanagan sent many of the same kinds of troubling “signals” that often surface about other high-profile killers, but are never acted upon. When he was fired from WDBJ in 2013, he had to be escorted out of the building, and his problems with other staffers are now the stuff of “I told you so” hindsight conversations.
According to the Roanoke Times, “there are 19 different factors that could disqualify someone from buying a gun in Virginia.” The newspaper also noted that “Virginia has one of best records in the nation for entering those records into the database, according to Everytown for Gun Safety,” the multi-million dollar “grassroots” anti-gun lobbying group financed by Michael Bloomberg.
Well, then, if Everytown says Virginia is one of the best for entering records into the system, and if spokespersons for other gun control groups acknowledge that background checks could not have prevented Wednesdays’ horror – and they didn’t – then what is the solution? The solution certainly is not penalizing millions of law-abiding gun owners, Second Amendment activists insists.
Many of those activists will be gathering next week at three different locations, thanks to the National Rifle Association. On Monday in Spokane Valley, a grassroots session is scheduled at the Quality Inn on East Mission Avenue. The following evening (which is opening day of grouse and dove season in Washington), there’s a session at the Pybus Market Event Room in Wenatchee. And on Wednesday, activists will gather at the Selah Civic Center in Selah. All three session run 7-8:30 p.m.
Space is limited for these events, and the NRA is asking for an RSVP at (800) 392-8683.
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