Mark Kelly: Shooting Where Gunmen Passed Background Checks Shows Need for Background Checks

AP Photo/Tom Uhlman
AP Photo/Tom Uhlman

During the November 11 airing of The National Lead hosted by Jake Tapper, gun control proponent Mark Kelly used the example of a man who acquired his guns “legally,” then misused them, to argue that background checks need to be expanded to cover more gun sales.

The man in his example was Noah Harpham, the October 31 Colorado Springs gunman.

Think about it–when law enforcement says someone acquired their guns “legally” they are saying that person passed a background check for his or her weapons. For example, law enforcement officials confirmed that Umpqua Community College gunman Chris Harper Mercer got all his guns “legally,” and that meant background checks were passed to acquire them.

The ATF said Virginia gunman Vester Lee Flanagan got his gun “legally,” and that meant he passed a background check for it.They said the same thing about alleged Lafayette theater gunman John Russell Houser, and guess what? Turns out Houser bought his gun via a background check at a pawn shop in Alabama in 2104.

The list of public attackers who acquired their guns “legally”–i.e., via background checks–goes on and on and on. And when Kelly seizes on an example like Harpham, he is suggesting that people who pass background checks then commit crimes are a good example of why gun purchasers should have to pass background checks before purchasing guns.

Does it make sense? No. But Kelly is not trying to be logical. Rather, he is trying to be successful at securing the passage of more gun control on law-abiding citizens.

Breitbart News previously reported that Kelly’s wife, Gabby Giffords, does the same thing when she pushes for more background checks as a way to keep Americans safe. After all, Jared Loughner–the gunman who wounded Giffords in 2011–passed a background check for the gun he used to attack her.

Background checks do not keep us safe from public attacks, and they cannot keep us safe from such attackers. Our safety is our liberty, and that liberty is expressed in the freedom to acquire the guns we need for self-defense without simultaneously being required to pass the same background check Mercer, Flanagan, Houser, Harpham, and Loughner passed to purchase their guns.

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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