Since Progressives want to play a game of "what if" regarding the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords, lets do a quick thought experiment to test their accusations. Many on the Left have drawn a link between rhetorical discord and political violence. Additionally, they insist that inflammatory images (targets, crosshairs, etc.) incite specific, directed violence toward members of our Government. The pretense here is that if we could all just circle around the chambers of Congress and sing Kumbaya, overt acts toward politicians would not occur. OK, so think about this: What if the Clinton administration and then Attorney General Janet Reno had not issued a policy preventing federal agencies from reporting known drug abusers to the NICS database. Might the accused gunman's attempted purchase of a shotgun and Glock-19 have raised a least a small red flag for authorities? Might the purchases have even occurred at all?
In a January 19th Washington Post article , staff writer James V. Grimaldi reveals that Attorney General Reno put into place a policy prohibiting the results of "voluntary" drug tests from being reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS):
Federal law since 1968 has prohibited gun sales to anyone who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance. Licensed dealers have been required to check the backgrounds of gun-buyers since 1994. But the Reno policy told federal agencies not to report people who had voluntarily given drug tests for fear it would deter them from seeking treatment...
Apparently a drug test taken when applying for military service, is considered "voluntary" and as such may not be reported to NICS. Accused gunman Jared Loughner failed his drug test in 2008 while trying to enlist. In addition, attempts to improve the effectiveness of NICS have been pretty clear in wording, yet the old Reno directive is still being observed:
The Reno policy remained in place despite a 2007 law designed to improve the NICS. That law ordered all federal agencies to forward to the FBI the names of those ineligible under federal law to buy a gun from a licensed dealer. The law states that the names are to be sent at least quarterly, "notwithstanding any other law." Despite the NICS Improvement Amendments Act, the Defense Department apparently did not change its policy. Drug test information is still not forwarded to the FBI to protect the privacy of the applicants...
Loughner bought both weapons through "legal" sales (though he did falsify the applications), and if current law had been properly observed, he would have been denied the purchase of the shotgun and thus perhaps the Glock.
It is impossible to see inside the head of a disturbed person. Sane people can not make the same cognitive connections and decisions exhibited by the deranged. There is no way to draw ambiguous cause and effect relationships between rhetoric or images and the actions spawned by a violent mind. However, there is a much more concrete connection between violence carried out by a person with a weapon they should not possess, and a Liberal agenda intent on protecting the rights of lawbreakers at the expense of the rest of us.
It is a shame that the victim has to be a beloved Congresswoman before anyone pays attention. It is doubly sad that the Left is using her sacrifice to score political points against those who disagree with them.
Originally posted on 01/23/2011 at ConservativeCompass.com