SEVERE WX : Flood Warning View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Why gun background checks don't work

The man charged with murder in Parkland, Florida, was a loner, came from dysfunction and had an unusual interest in v...

Posted: Feb 26, 2018 4:41 PM
Updated: Feb 26, 2018 4:41 PM

The man charged with murder in Parkland, Florida, was a loner, came from dysfunction and had an unusual interest in violence and weapons. Some in the media report this as if it were a surprise. But this should not be a shocker.

In the 25 mass school shootings since Columbine and the 160 active shooter incidents that occurred in the United States between 2000 and 2013, a familiar pattern has emerged. Mental health was almost always an issue.

And while some point to the gun as the problem, that minimizes the over-arching issues. There is a systemic breakdown of our systems -- including the way background checks are conducted.

Individuals with mental health issues and who are prone to violence are, by law, "prohibited persons" who are not allowed to lawfully access a firearm. Unfortunately, there are minimal ways to stop them. The current background- check system, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), is fundamentally flawed and most Americans don't understand why.

NICS is a data-driven input system -- therefore, it can only check what information is inputted into it and in many cases, states and others fail to enter legally allowable information that would stop a "prohibited person" from passing the background check.

According to studies by the FBI and US Secret Service, the patterns that emerge are almost always the same. Everyone seems to consider the shooter a "loner." People -- teachers, administrators and often parents -- are aware that the student had "concerning" behavior, they are mostly boys, they make disturbing comments prior to the act, and they have access to firearms.

Unfortunately, some parents shy away from talking openly about a child's mental health and, in many cases, are in denial. Excuses abound but ultimately, the longer the denial exists, the brighter the "red warning light" flashes.

In the case of Parkland, reports indicate that the murderer was expelled from school, and the school's administration was concerned about his violent tendencies. His fellow students saw him as a "loner" and different. It's been documented that the police had been called to his home at least 39 times since 2010 for emergencies including "mentally ill person," "child/elderly abuse," and "domestic disturbance." Yet he was still able to purchase a firearm.

The shooter's social media pages were replete with images of him holding guns, espousing violence and saying that "shooting was therapy" for him.

As his mental health clearly spiraled downward and violent tendencies became pronounced, it seems that no one took any action to block him from getting hold of a firearm. We saw the same issue in the Virginia Tech shooting, Sandy Hook, the Navy Yard and others.

The mental health care system is in dire need of reform and adrift with a lack of funding. Privacy laws in many states- create a wall to the sharing of information -- even when someone is clearly violent, health care providers are discouraged from reporting them unless they are a danger to themselves or others.

These regulations prevent patients from being flagged. Instead, if a report is somehow made, it must go through law enforcement channels and be ruled on by a judge.-

Why? Privacy arguments abound and some are valid concerns, but clearly an emerging murderer as in Parkland who raised the concerns of many should have overridden all privacy issues and been inputted into the background check system.

Over 80% of Americans agree that a background check prior to purchasing a firearm is warranted, according to several polls. The firearms industry has advocated for a better NICS system.

The system should be as robust and include the types of identifying, warning, cross checking and criminal and mental history information as the National Criminal Information Center (NCIC). NCIC is the repository of all local and state information related to arrests, criminal history, criminal activity like stolen cars and permits law enforcement to input danger, warning or safety notifications.

If NICS doesn't have that same type of robust information, it may never be able to do what Americans demand -- block prohibited people from legally obtaining firearms. Until it is, we may continue to see people who should be prohibited from owning a weapon turn a tool of protection into a tool of terror.

-

Lafayette
Clear
27° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 27°
Kokomo
Clear
21° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 21°
Rensselaer
Clear
21° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 21°
Lafayette
Clear
27° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 27°
Danville
Clear
25° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 18°
Frankfort
Clear
23° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 15°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
23° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 15°
Monticello
Clear
21° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 21°
Monticello
Clear
21° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 21°
Logansport
Clear
21° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 21°
Dry, mild conditions continue
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 663511

Reported Deaths: 12633
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion908511647
Lake48510882
Allen35951638
Hamilton32138398
St. Joseph30096513
Elkhart25423417
Vanderburgh21283379
Tippecanoe20096203
Johnson16380360
Porter16009272
Hendricks15855300
Clark11999181
Madison11764319
Vigo11636230
Monroe10363163
Delaware9854179
LaPorte9790197
Howard9075198
Kosciusko8574111
Bartholomew7479147
Warrick7430151
Hancock7418132
Floyd7226170
Wayne6645192
Grant6437157
Boone610389
Morgan6103125
Dubois5923111
Dearborn549068
Cass545899
Marshall5432105
Henry542593
Noble510178
Jackson465167
Shelby461490
Lawrence4189113
Gibson401781
Harrison401064
Clinton396553
Montgomery388483
DeKalb386478
Miami357663
Knox357585
Whitley349837
Huntington346277
Steuben339255
Wabash332376
Putnam331159
Ripley327762
Adams323949
Jasper317043
White297452
Jefferson295474
Daviess285596
Fayette271956
Decatur271088
Greene261680
Posey261431
Wells258575
Scott251250
Clay241544
LaGrange241270
Randolph225576
Spencer218030
Jennings215744
Washington212127
Sullivan203639
Fountain201842
Starke188451
Owen182853
Fulton179337
Jay178328
Carroll176519
Perry173435
Orange171150
Rush165322
Vermillion160842
Franklin159535
Tipton146841
Parke139416
Pike127833
Blackford120727
Pulaski106744
Newton96632
Brown95139
Benton92213
Crawford91013
Martin80214
Warren75814
Switzerland7558
Union67310
Ohio53911
Unassigned0433

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events