After an investigation into Wilmington, North Carolina’s February 6 murder-suicide revealed the alleged gunman had gone through criminal and mental background checks for his weapon, New Hanover County Sheriff Sgt. Jerry Brewer explained that background checks cannot stop potential criminals, only actual ones.
In other words, unless a person with criminal intent has a criminal or mental record at the time they try to purchase a gun, background checks will not keep the individual from acquiring a firearm.
According to WECT 6, 62-year-old Richard Nielson allegedly shot and killed 38-year old Russell Allen Mitchell. He then allegedly shot and wounded 29-year-old Jessica Lynn Modolo, who was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
Nielson is then alleged to have “shot and killed himself” in a murder-suicide “that involved a property dispute.”
WBTV 3 quoted Sgt. Jerry Brewer saying Nielson had no criminal record until his alleged crime on February 6. His only prior “infraction was a stop sign violation.” He passed criminal and mental background checks for a concealed carry permit three years ago and was able to buy a handgun approximately one hour before the murder-suicide took place.
Said Brewer: “He had nothing in his background that would have issued any red flags or they would have pulled…[his application] when he applied.”
We’ve seen this again and again. Las Vegas cop killers Jerad and Amanda Miller acquired their guns after passing background checks. Elliot Rodger (Santa Barbara), Ivan Lopez (Fort Hood 2014), Darion Marcus Aguilar (Maryland mall), Karl Halverson Pierson (Arapahoe High School), Paul Ciancia (LAX), Aaron Alexis (DC Navy Yard), James Holmes (Aurora theater), Jared Loughner (Gabby Giffords’ attacker), and Nidal Hasan (Fort Hood 2009), all purchased their guns through background checks as well.
Background checks can only look at a citizen’s established criminal history, not predict if he will commit a crime in the future if he passes. Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) push to expand backgrounds checks under the guise of ending public crimes defied common sense.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.