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Hints of Gun-Control Revival After Fort Hood Shooting, But Broader Focus on Mental Health

Spc. Ivan Lopez bought his gun at the same shop Nidal Hasan patronized; lawmaker notes he passed background check.

by
Bridget Johnson

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April 3, 2014 - 6:53 pm
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Initial reaction in Washington to the latest Fort Hood mass shooting revolved more around mental health treatment quandaries than a revival of last year’s gun control efforts, though proponents of the post-Sandy Hook legislative drive hinted at revisiting a stringent background check bill.

Spc. Ivan Lopez, 34, bought his .45-caliber handgun on March 1 at Guns Galore, a Killeen shop where Nidal Hasan bought his FN Five-Seven tactical pistol in 2009 and where Naser Jason Abdo, arrested in a 2011 plot to attack Fort Hood, bought his weapons.

Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley confirmed that Lopez, of Guayanilla, Puerto Rico, was currently assigned to 49th Transportation Movement Control Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). He was previously assigned to Fort Bliss, Texas, and assigned to the 1st Armored Division from April 2010 until November 2013 as an automatic rifleman. He reclassified as a motor transport operator in December 2013 and arrived at Fort Hood in February 2014.

Lopez deployed to Egypt from January 2007 to January 2008, and to Iraq from August 2011 to December 2011, according to Fort Hood’s press office. He earned three Army Good Conduct Medals, two Army Commendation Medals, and four Army Achievement Medals.

Three soldiers were killed and 16 were wounded in the Wednesday afternoon shooting.

“We have very strong evidence that he had a medical history that indicates unstable psychiatric or psychological condition. Going through all of the records to ensure that that is in fact correct but we believe that to be the fundamental underlying causal factor,” Milley told reporters at a press conference, adding that there’s “a strong possibility” that an argument with another solider preceded the shooting.

“As you know, Fort Hood is a big installation…We’ve got a population well over 100,000 here,” the commander added. “It would not be realistic to do a pat-down search in every single soldier and an employee at Fort Hood for a weapon on a daily basis. That would be unrealistic.”

After Milley confirmed Lopez’s Guns Galore purchase, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told reporters “mental health issues are the most vexing in terms of how do we identify those who have problems that they need to be helped with.”

“And I think at the same time we have to be very careful and not paint with too broad of a brush and assume because someone has been in combat that they necessarily have those issues. We shouldn’t stigmatize healthy people who are resilient and able to deal with those stresses. We ought to identify those people the best we can who do need help and get them the help that they need,” Cornyn said.

“And this remains, to me, one of the most vexing but also one of the most urgent issues, not just with regard to the military but the mass shooting incidents that we’ve seen, not only on military installations but in our country, period.”

Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), a retired judge who represents Fort Hood, told CNN that the store “probably” didn’t miss anything in Lopez’s background check.

“We run fairly good background checks and a lot of it is answering questions — people that are there to do wrong can lie on the questionnaire just like you can go to a doctor and lie about your diagnosis if it suits your purposes. I think it — but it was legally purchased and he went through a background check because you can’t purchase a weapon without at least the criminal background check,” Carter added.

Regarding the prospect of concealed carry on base, Carter said, “I think the Army knows the Army’s business best.”

Some members who have vociferously supported gun control were careful in their initial reactions to focus on the broader issue of base security.

“This is the second time that an incident like this has occurred. This is a threat to our national security and a threat to the men and women in the United States military. It is time now to formulate a serious Homeland Security response that makes this base impenetrable,” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (R-Texas) said in a statement this morning.

“The last shooting on November 5, 2009, I mourned with the Fort Hood family and we said never again,” she added. “Now, we have to question the security of this base and demand zero tolerance for security breaches on our military bases and government facilities. This should not happen on our domestic soil.”

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Top Rated Comments   
The danger here is that the DSMIV makes it possible to declare virtually anyone mentally ill. No longer is violent sociopathic behavior, schizophrenia to classic autism and ADD at issue, but if you're sad because a family member died? you're screwed up buddy, have some pills and therapy. Don't like your job, ditto. Don't have bunches of friends and love being the loud center of attention at parties but prefer reading at home alone? Call the cops! we've got a psycho here!!

Seriously though, the new DSM was written so broadly and expansively that normal behaviors, including being a little sad, angry, etc., from time to time like everyone does is enough for a serious diagnosis.This bad because a shrink will only see you for an hour at most and most likely when you are stressed and not at your best.

There is a lot of room for abuse here if government starts tying mental health to basic rights. And it's not just guns, but possibly forced medication, doctor visits and possibly home inspections. These things are allowed under Obamacare or other existing laws.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, and Obama and McCain and Reid can share they same padded cell.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (22)
All Comments   (22)
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My friend's step-mother makes $89 hourly on the computer . She has been fired from work for nine months but last month her paycheck was $15243 just working on the computer for a few hours.
=== ===== ==== ===== >>>> http://www.Green37.com
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
And who was just caught trying to smuggle weapons to al Qaeda? Leland Yee of California:

Senator Leland Yee, al Qaeda, and the MILF
http://nyyrc.com/blog/2014/04/senator-leland-yee-al-qaeda-and-the-milf/
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is yet another attempt to get the camel's nose under the tent.

If the government "controls" health care, and the psychiatric "providers" are part of the system then the result will be what the government dictates. People are quick to say we must "prevent crazy people from getting guns" which makes perfect sense on the surface, but ask anyone who has had contact with the "mental health" establishment and the truth becomes down right murky. What is fact is that, in many cases, diagnosis of mental illness is way more of an art than a science. There aren't any blood tests, brain scans, or definitive tools available to diagnose a mental illness. Psychiatrists rely on a list of behaviors which if displayed by the patient, lead to selecting a "diagnosis" of a mental disorder. Then with the support of the pharmacological industry, the psychiatrist literally throws medications at the "illness" until the symptoms abate (or not). As we've seen, many of these drugs are at least as dangerous as the condition they are "treating." SSRIs in particular have a proven connection in many of the shootings that have occurred in the past two decades - yet the psychiatric community continues to routinely over medicate with dangerous chemicals. SSRI's have the most severe side effect warnings of any prescribed medications - the "black box warning." Some of the newest brand name SSRIs cost upwards of $1000 per month, so it's easy to see what the true motive for prescribing them is.

I for one, don't want the mental health "industry" in control of the second amendment. What appears an "easy fix" is actually a disaster waiting to happen.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Watch out for "mental health". The gun grabbers are already using it to take people's firearms. In fact, Lautenberg could be considered part of that effort.
This can make it worse. Meanwhile, the local Congressman from that area is carrying a bill to get rid of Victim Disarmament on military installations and my Congressman is a co-sponsor of it.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
We have a few generations of spoiled brats now. Don't know how to handle not getting their way.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sheila Jackson Lee is a democrat. The very same democrat who wanted the Mars robotic rover to go take pictures of where the Astronauts walked........
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Where did he get his personal weapon from?
Not where did he PURCHASE it from, where was it prior to the shooting?

Was he carrying it on his person (a major no-no) or did he "go and get it" after his "arguement" with the other soldier?

When I was a Marine, IF you owned a private firearm, it was secured in The Armory...

You could "check it out" and use the Base Ranges on your Liberty Time (days off) if you liked, but your, *ahem* daily work schedule was such that you rarely had enough free time to walk somewhere ELSE on a spur-of-the-moment whim...like run over to the Armory, or to your quarters...to retrieve a firearm, and return....

Oh, and by the way, a "shouting match" bewteen two enlisted Marines anywhere "mainside" on an instalation (meaning, not out in the woods or in your own barracks) would have you BOTH in front of the Gunney or the First Sergeant ASAP, like, within minutes, if not seconds....any/every senior NCO or Officer within earshot would have instanly intervened and nipped it right there, with the full phonebook of UCMJ violations hanging over their heads if they dont lock-it-up right that instant.

Sounds to me like he had a major Character Problem if he was "packing" (read: Ghetto) or WAY TOO MUCH TIME on his hands to be able to walk-off, go get it, and come back...

My suspicion is this is another example of why (in my time) Marine Infantry always called "Da Ahmy" a Glorified Welfare Program.

Low standards of Character, Discipline, Expectations and Supervision
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Only need to know 2 things that he was a disciplinary problem: a Specialist after 15 years, either never promoted or demoted and never re-promoted - either way, that is a flag. Second, claims that he was denied (initially) leave to attend his mother's funeral - there is only one reason an Army commander would even consider denying such a request, and that is a recent serious offense and he was under some sort of punishment.

He didn't live in quarters, but with his family in on-post housing (iirc). Gun could easily be there and not registered. They do not search on-post housing as family members apparently have "rights" even if the Soldiers in barracks do not. Could have been in his car as well - no searching on any post I have been on of vehicles already through the gate, and I havent ever experienced more than a random temporary increase in security where every car entering post would be searched.

Finally, why the need to make this into some sort of inter-service rivalry smack talk? Ive met my share of substandard Marines as well as Soldiers, Airmen and Seamen. You just see more in the Army because its the biggest service numbers-wise.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Tom, I stand corrected, and apologize to a good soldier....

.Good point about his near “Permanent Private” status, and his Moms Funeral….I guess the Media never questioned the circumstances of that, because the Military is always cast as the meanie…”of course they denied him leave for his moms funeral”…

No matter what, it will always be “someone else’s” fault…the cruel Army that damaged is psyche and then didn’t properly treat him, or maybe the NRA
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
The danger here is that the DSMIV makes it possible to declare virtually anyone mentally ill. No longer is violent sociopathic behavior, schizophrenia to classic autism and ADD at issue, but if you're sad because a family member died? you're screwed up buddy, have some pills and therapy. Don't like your job, ditto. Don't have bunches of friends and love being the loud center of attention at parties but prefer reading at home alone? Call the cops! we've got a psycho here!!

Seriously though, the new DSM was written so broadly and expansively that normal behaviors, including being a little sad, angry, etc., from time to time like everyone does is enough for a serious diagnosis.This bad because a shrink will only see you for an hour at most and most likely when you are stressed and not at your best.

There is a lot of room for abuse here if government starts tying mental health to basic rights. And it's not just guns, but possibly forced medication, doctor visits and possibly home inspections. These things are allowed under Obamacare or other existing laws.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Rather than a broadbased policy of allowing personal carry on base would be a requirement that Officers and Senior NCOs carry sidearms and ammunition while on duty.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Institutionalize the mentally ill. Better safe than sorry.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, and Obama and McCain and Reid can share they same padded cell.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
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