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An apparently mentally disturbed gunman went on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, TX last Wednesday (4/2/14). Another tragedy. Multiple lives torn apart. At least four killed, and 16 wounded at last count.
The shooter has been identified as 34-year-old Spc. Ivan Lopez, who had been undergoing psychiatric treatment on base, before apparently getting into an argument with another Soldier and using his .45 caliber pistol to murder three people, and then himself.
Gun grabbers have already begun the usual shrill shriek how we should limit people's access to guns to ensure such tragedies never happen. What's worse, they're using our military - the very people who have taken an oath to protect the Constitution - the whole Constitution, including the Second Amendment that clearly protects the right to keep and bear arms - to push a clearly UNconstitutional agenda under the guise of caring oh-so-much about our troops.
Other media outlets have begun pointing out that Guns Galore -- a gun shop in nearby Killeen where Lopez purchased his weapon -- is also the place where Nidal Hasan, who waged his repugnant jihad on his fellow Soldiers in 2009, bought his gun. The Huffington Post and ABC News, in particular, have been hyperventilating about the store having sold that "cop killer" "tactical pistol" to Hasan.
For the record, that "evil killing machine" about which the histrionics never seem to end was an FN Five-Seven, a light, semi-automatic pistol that is only offered to civilians with sporting ammunition - the sporting-grade 28-grain JHP and the 40-grain V-Max loadings. Neither of these loads is classified as armor piercing by BATFE, according to Shooting Times. None of these facts about the pistol stop the media from breathlessly claiming that the gun CAN fire hollowpoints (or us from pointing out that so can pretty much any pistol). The ever-disingenuous Josh Sugarmann of the ever-deceitful Violence Policy Center even penned a frothing opinion piece claiming Hasan used an "armor-piercing 5.7 mm pistol" in his jihad-fueled murder spree! Other news outlets, to include Fox, NBC and CNN all picked up the story.
None of these news outlets make the outright claim that Guns Galore is somehow responsible for the shooting. That would be a brazen lie, even by the low standards mediots set for themselves in their froth-flecked zeal to demonize gun stores.
But the implication is there ... thinly veiled, sneering and contemptuous. The gun store sold both men those weapons, and therefore it must be accountable in some way!
Fact: Hasan passed a background check, and bought his gun legally from Guns Galore. He was an Army officer with no criminal record and a physician, and the store followed all laws and procedures by selling him a legal product. Of course, we can speculate all we want about why his blatant anti-Americanism and jihad-fueled, fundamentalist rants never raised any flags among the military and his superiors, but that's another story for another time, and it has nothing to do with the store's lack of culpability in this matter.
Fact: Guns Galore also sold Ivan Lopez a .45 caliber Smith and Wesson pistol. Lopez had no criminal record, and was serving in the United States Army. The store willingly turned all relevant records to the police, and its employees already have begun receiving hate mail and threatening phone calls, according to longtime salesman Greg Ebert.
"We had nothing to do with what happened out here," said Ebert, emphasizing that he was speaking for himself and not the store. "If you want to blame somebody, go to the FBI and to the government at Fort Hood, and ask them why someone who was being psychologically evaluated wasn't flagged."
The question is valid. Perhaps doctors did not consider Lopez dangerous enough to be barred from purchasing firearms. Many vets return from deployment depressed and stressed. Lopez was not diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress, even though he self-reported a brain injury after four months in Iraq, and even if he had been diagnosed, the link between PTS and violent behavior is virtually nonexistent. And perhaps informing law enforcement that Lopez was seeking treatment for depression and an anxiety would have been a violation of doctor-patient confidentiality, especially if he did not appear to be a threat to himself or others.
The debate will continue about who is to blame in this matter - whether it was Lopez's psychiatrists, who prescribed drugs for his anxiety and depression, but failed to flag any kind of dangerous behavior, or military service that put him under stress to begin with, or Lopez himself...
But there's one thing we do know: one innocent entity in this scenario (other than Lopez's victims, of course) is Guns Galore, whose employees, by all reports, followed the laws and regulations for making the sale in both Lopez's and Hasan's cases and are cooperating with police to put together pieces of this tragic puzzle.
But this won't stop the media's convulsive spasms about the store's alleged culpability, nor will it halt the gun grabbers' attempts to place the blame squarely on the tool, the place that sold the tool, and the law that protects the ownership and use of the tool.
Unfortunately, it's par for the course.
Nicki Kenyon has been an avid gun rights advocate since she returned to the United States from an overseas Army tour in Germany. She began writing about Second Amendment issues in 2001 when KeepAndBearArms.com published her first essay, "The Moment.". She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Arts degree in National Security Studies from American Military University. Her area of expertise in those fields is European and Eurasian affairs. When not writing about gun rights or hanging out with her husband and son, she practices dry-firing her M1911 at the zombies of "The Walking Dead."