James taranto writes…::: Tired Guns: This time the “debate” is desultory and meta.
The Hill reports that the Pentagon released an inspector general report yesterday, which “said convicted felons routinely gain access to military facilities like Washington’s Navy Yard”:
The IG report specifically found that 52 felons had received unauthorized access to military facilities for 62 to 1,035 days. It said this had placed “military personnel, dependents, civilians, and installations at an increased security risk.”
It said many facilities did not have enough funds to properly check the backgrounds of contractors.
The Navy did not “follow federal credentialing standards and DOD contractor vetting requirements and did not provide 7 of the 10 installations visited the appropriate resources and capabilities to conduct required contractor background checks,” it said.
You would think a military facility, filled with men under arms, would be a particularly foolish place to carry out a mass shooting. You’d be wrong. As CNSNews.com notes: “Back in 1993, the Clinton administration virtually declared military establishments ‘gun-free zones.’ ” Absent “a credible and specific threat against personnel,” servicemen are not permitted to carry loaded firearms on base. The site quotes the father of a serviceman:
“My son was at Marine Barracks–at the Navy Yard yesterday–and they had weapons with them, but they didn’t have ammunition. And they said, ‘We were trained, and if we had the ammunition, we could’ve cleared that building.’ Only three people had been shot at that time, and they could’ve stopped the rest of it.”
A background-check system did fail here, but it wasn’t the system for checking gun buyers. As the Washington Post reports, the killer, Aaron Alexis, had “an all-access pass to a half-dozen military installations, despite a history of arrests for shooting episodes and disorderly conduct”:
It is unclear why the Defense Department approved Alexis’s security clearance after his 2004 arrest in Seattle for shooting out the tires of a car. Thomas Richards, a spokesman for the Office of Personnel Management, said the office conducted only one security review of Alexis, in 2007, and that it turned up his 2004 arrest in Seattle.
He maintained his clearance despite more recent brushes with the law and a pattern of misconduct that preceded his discharge from the Navy. Alexis was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct in DeKalb County, Ga., in 2008, and after he fired a shot into his apartment ceiling in Texas in 2010.