By Michael R. Sisak, Associated Press
Posted: 01/05/16 – 3:25 PM PST |
The gun control measures a tearful President Barack Obama announced Tuesday would not have prevented the slaughter of 20 first-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut; 14 county workers at a holiday party in San Bernardino, California; or a dozen moviegoers in Aurora, Colorado.
Obama’s executive action expands mandatory background checks to gun shows, flea markets and online sales, adds more than 230 examiners and staff to help process them and calls on states to submit accurate and updated criminal history data.
Those measures are seen as crucial to stemming gun suicides — the cause of two-thirds of gun deaths — by blocking immediate access to weapons. But, an Associated Press review shows, they would have had no impact in keeping weapons from the hands of suspects in several of the deadliest recent mass shootings that have spurred calls for tighter gun control.
The shooters at Sandy Hook and San Bernardino used weapons purchased by others, shielding them from background checks.
In Aurora and at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., men undergoing mental health treatment were cleared to purchase weapons because federal background checks look to criminal histories and court-ordered commitments for signs of mental illness.
The suspect in a shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, should have been flagged at the time, but errors and delays cleared the way for his purchase.
Dec. 2, 2015, San Bernardino, California, 14 killed
Syed Farook and his wife used weapons that the FBI says his neighbor, Enrique Marquez, purchased legally from a federally licensed dealer in 2011 and 2012. Marquez, now facing conspiracy and other charges, told investigators that Farook asked him to purchase the weapons because he would draw less attention. At the time, the FBI says, the men were plotting to shoot up a community college and a highway.
Oct. 1, 2015, Roseburg, Oregon, 10 killed
Christopher Harper-Mercer and his family members legally purchased the handguns and rifle he used in the Umpqua Community College shooting from a federally licensed gun dealer, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
July 16, 2015, Chattanooga, Tennessee, 5 killed
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