Gun control debate back on the table after Navy Yard shooting

Gun control debate back on the table after Navy Yard shooting

(KYTX) - Lawmakers once again looking at gun control after the Washington D.C. attack claimed 12 lives.

Several guns have been mentioned as part of the attack. Investigators say the shooter used a shotgun, that he bought legally in Virginia.

He may have also stolen a semi-automatic handgun once he entered the building. However, investigators say the AR 15 found at the scene, was not used in the attack.

Either way, gun rights activists here in East Texas say guns are not the problem.

Congressman Louie Gohmert sits in Washington now,  just a half a mile from where investigators say 34-year-old Aaron Alexis shot and killed 12 people Monday.

"Senate Democrats are saying, 'See? This is why we need gun control.' This is not an issue of gun control. We keep coming back to people with mental health issues that get guns and go do crazy things with them," Gohmert says.

Alexis' father says his son suffered from PTSD, and the former Navy reservist had recently undergone treatment for mental illness, including paranoia.

"What seems to be the common thread is the mental illness," says gun owner Ben Petty.

Petty says proposed universal background checks on gun buyers won't stop the mentally ill from accessing weapons, and could lead to problems for everyone else.

"Taking guns away from normal citizens other than trying to take them out of the hands of those who shouldn't have them," he says.

Gun owner Ben Rambo agrees.

"If you look when you're buying a firearm of any type, there's a question on there, have you ever been treated for mental illness?" he points out on a form.

The problem is, it's an honor system, and few people check "Yes."

He says pattens of violent mental illness should made available to people checking backgrounds. Gohmert agrees.
"There ought to be a way to run that as quickly and easily as we do a criminal check," Representative Gohmert says. 

The other issue with Monday's deadly shooting is security.

"I wondered why a military base would have such lax security that something like this could happen," Rambo says.

Despite his mental problems and prior run-ins with the law over firing guns, Aaron Alexis still had full security clearance to work as a defense contractor at the navy yard.

"We have got to do a better job of policing the military and the contractors that serve the military," Gohmert says.

Representative Gohmert also tells CBS 19 he believes military personnel should be allowed to carry weapons on bases. Right now that is not the case, but just like having guns on school campuses, he thinks it will be a deterrent to shooters. 

As the gun debate rages on, East Texas gun owners like Petty worry about price increases like the ones they saw after the Newtown shooting, as people rushed to buy weapons.

Senate Democrats plan to push for another look at the universal background checks. The legislation was turned down in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. 


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