NRA: Get 'homicidal maniacs' off streets

NRA: Get 'homicidal maniacs' off streets

NRA: Get 'homicidal maniacs' off streets

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Associated Press

Posted on September 22, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Updated Sunday, Sep 22 at 5:13 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A leader of the most influential U.S. gun rights lobbying group responded Sunday to last week's Washington Navy Yard shootings by calling for greater efforts to identify and lock up mentally ill people who are dangerous.

The nation's mental health system is "in complete breakdown," resulting in not enough of the mentally ill being committed to psychiatric hospitals, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre told NBC's "Meet the Press."

"If we leave these homicidal maniacs on the street ... they're going to kill," he said. "They need to be committed is what they need to be. If they are committed, they're not at the Naval Yard."

Aaron Alexis, the IT contractor who killed 12 people inside a Navy Yard building last week, had a history of violent outbursts, had told police he was hearing voices and was in the early stages of being treated by the Veterans Administration for serious mental problems.

Despite Alexis' history, weaknesses in federal laws aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and criminals enabled him to clear a background check and obtain a shotgun that he used in the shooting from a gun shop in northern Virginia.

Doctors who treated Alexis should have carried out "a complete mental health status exam," Republican Sen. Tom Coburn told CBS television's' "Face the Nation."

"We have to make it where the health care professionals in this country, when they see somebody that is having symptoms of psychosis or schizophrenia, that they can act on that by notifying the 'do not sell' list so that people can't buy guns," he said.

The Navy Yard shootings were the latest in a series of mass shootings — including last year's massacre of 20 children and six staffers at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, and a rampage at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater that left 12 dead and 70 wounded — that reignited calls for new gun control regulations.

However, the NRA has successfully lobbied to block these measures in Congress. Earlier this month, the group helped the successful recall campaign to replace two Colorado legislators who had supported gun control legislation in that state.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, the co-author of a bill to expand background checks to more gun purchasers, acknowledged the bill remains stalled in the Senate. The Democratic senator told CBS he has no intention of renewing his effort to pass the measure in light of the Navy Yard shootings unless he sees movement on the part of the opponents of the bill.

"I'm not going to go out there and just beat the drum for the sake of beating the drum," he said. "There has to be people willing to move off the position they've taken, and they've got to come to that conclusion themselves."

that expanded background checks and placed limits on ammunition magazinesin that state that o siyed managed to lobbiedyctors who treated Alexis should have carried out "a complete mental health status exam," Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, told CBS' "Face the Nation."

"We have to make it where the health care professionals in this country, when they see somebody that is having symptoms of psychosis or schizophrenia, that they can act on that by notifying the 'do not sell' list so that people can't buy guns," he said. "He (Alexis) bought a gun in spite of the fact that at several interchanges people were aware of his psychosis."

At the same time, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, the co-author of a bill to expand background checks to more gun purchasers, acknowledged the bill remains stalled in the Senate. He told CBS he has no intention of renewing his effort to pass the measure in light of the Navy Yard shootings unless he seems movement on the part of the opponents of the bill.

"I'm not going to go out there and just beat the drum for the sake of beating the drum," he said. "There has to be people willing to move off the position they've taken, and they've got to come to that conclusion themselves."

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