Don't Let Background Check Failure Be the Lesson of Lafayette

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal talks to the media after observing the crime scene inside The Grand Theatre following the pre
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal talks to the media after observing the crime scene inside The Grand Theatre following the previous night's deadly shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana on July 24, 2015. A 'drifter' with anti-government views randomly killed two women in a Louisiana movie theater and then took his own life as police closed in, authorities said. Police said John Houser initially tried to flee after shooting 13 rounds from a single handgun into a crowded cinema in Lafayette, Louisiana Thursday evening. AFP PHOTO/YURI GRIPAS (Photo credit should read YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images)

It looks like that if we learn anything from the Louisiana shooting, we're going to learn that another shooter might have played the loopholed NICS system to his advantage and gotten his hands on a gun. Back in 2006 John Houser applied for a concealed-weapons permit in Alabama and was denied based on arson and domestic violence allegations. In 2008 he was involuntarily committed to a mental hospital in Georgia and his then-wife convinced the court to have his guns removed from their home before he was released. This action should have resulted in a denial when Houser purchased his killing gun in March, but the system only delayed his purchase by one day.

So here we go again. There will be all kinds of hand-wringing and I-told-you-so's about how and why NICS doesn't work, followed by some vague mumblings in Congress about expanding background checks to private sales. Meanwhile, officially the NRA will keep a low profile but their unofficial loudmouths like CPRC will be out there reminding us again that we would all be safe from such carnage if we just got rid of gun-free zones. The best comment came from Bobby Jindal, who's desperately trying to keep his feet or at least his fingertips in the presidential race: "Now is not the time to discuss gun control," he said, although he didn't set another time for the discussion to take place.

Are multiple shootings (two dead and nine wounded in Louisiana) more common recently or are such events just being followed more closely by the digital press? According to the Mass Shooting Tracker, it seems to be a combination of both. So far this year their website lists 207 events in which four or more people were hit in the same location with gunfire that came from one or multiple shooters. Last year this website listed 283 total mass shootings, so 2015 promises to exceed that rate by maybe 25 percent. The good news is that 'only' 25 percent of the people hit with bullets in 2015 ended up dead, whereas 32 percent of the victims were killed in 2014. So the shooters are shooting less straight or maybe the trauma surgeons are perfecting their skills.

What impresses me about this website is exactly why it is being criticized by pro-NRA hucksters, namely, that it departs from the FBI definition of 'mass shootings' which counts only incidents in which four or more persons are killed. The website cites the example of a mass shooting in 2012 where the gunman opened fire in a nightclub and killed only one person but a total of seventeen other people were struck by bullets, most of which came from guns carried by other patrons who were attempting to defend themselves.

Now here's a perfect example of what happens when civilians carry guns into places that are not gun-free zones. A gun goes off, then everyone starts banging away, and before you know it, there are injured bodies all over the place. Remember the incident in Waco this past May when shooting erupted in the Twin Peaks restaurant and before it was over 9 bikers were killed and another 18 were treated for wounds? I don't recall whether the restaurant was a gun-free zone or not, but there were lots of guys in the food joint that day who obviously didn't know and didn't care.

We have a problem in this country called gun violence and we're not going to solve it by 'fixing' a registration system that hasn't changed in more than 20 years; it's not going to be solved by putting the discussion off for another day; and it's certainly not going to be solved by asking every law-abiding citizen to walk around with a gun. It's going to be solved when the idiots who claim to speak for gun owners finally come clean and admit that guns with 3-inch barrels can't be used for hunting or sport. At that point, a meaningful discussion about gun violence might take place.