On November 5, CBS News reported that the gunman who opened fire in Colorado Springs on Halloween bought all his firearms “legally.”
That means he passed a background check for his guns or at least passed a background check for one of them; there is nothing illegal about buying guns privately as long you aren’t doing so to avoid being caught with a criminal record.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office says there was nothing to prevent gunman Noah Harpham from passing a background check. CBS News quotes the sheriff’s office saying he bought an AR-15, 9mm pistol, and .357 magnum revolver in 2009 and had “no criminal record” to keep that from happening.
The sheriff’s office has found no motive for the fact that Harpham opened fire on innocents on Halloween morning. They say he “gave no indication that he was planning violence in a one-minute online video posted two days before the shooting.”
Harpham joins a growing list of attackers and alleged attackers who have passed background checks for their guns, including Chris Harper Mercer (Umpqua Community College), Vester Lee Flangan (Virgina), John Russell Houser (Lafayette), Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez (Chattanooga), Dylann Roof (Charleston), Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi (Garland), Jared and Amanda Miller (Las Vegas), Elliot Rodger (Santa Barabara), Ivan Lopez (Fort Hood 2014), Darion Marcus Aguilar (Maryland mall), Karl Halverson Pierson (Arapahoe High School), Paul Ciancia (LAX), Andrew John Engeldinger (Minneapolis), Aaron Alexis (DC Navy Yard), Tennis Melvin Maynard (West Virginia), Wade Michael Page (Sikh Temple), James Holmes (Aurora theater), Jared Loughner (Tucson), Nidal Hasan (Fort Hood 2009), Jiverly Wong (Binghamton), Seung-Hui Cho (Virginia Tech), Naveed Haq (Seattle), and Mark Barton (Atlanta).
Remembering the heinous crimes and alleged crimes of all these men and women should open our eyes to the danger of believing background checks keep us safe. Background checks cannot detect latent or potential criminals, they can only detect actual ones. Background checks do not examine a gun purchaser’s future, rather, they sift through his or her past. If the past holds no criminal record, then there is no reason to refuse a gun purchase.
As Breitbart News previously reported, someone can be evil and not yet criminal—or they can be driven by evil intent and not yet be a criminal. But background checks do not detect evil, nor can they stop it. No amount of gun control can stop it.