Recent shootings could spark more gun control debate

CHAMBERSBURG – With a host of shootings in Austin, Wisconsin and Indiana, will those looking to ramp up gun control be back at it, pointing to these instances as a need for stricter legislation?

The shooting in Austin that left three dead at the hands of a former sheriff’s deputy; three killed and three injured in a bar in Kenosha, WI; and an unhinged young man at a FedEx facility in Indiana are all separate, individual incidents, each with their own reasons and details, but in the hands of gun control advocates could all be lumped together to form the narrative they want.

The Indiana case is particularly interesting because the state has red flag laws, which permit police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves.

The man who killed eight people in a FedEx facility in Indiana had an encounter with police just last year.

His family called, saying they thought he was a danger and the police took his weapon.

However the case never went to court for any further review, so there was no indication on his background check that he should be prohibited from buying a firearm.

The firearm he used in the shooting was just recently purchased – and he passed the background check to do so.

Attorney Clint Barkdoll, Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen discussed the issue today on First News.

“I think you’re going to see a lot of discussion about that because…well clearly this is a flaw in the system,” Barkdoll said. “There’s a clear example where (red flag law) does not work.”

Additionally, the Austin and Wisconsin incidents may have been more domestic-related issues.

“No law, no degree of control would have stopped these situations, unfortunately,” Barkdoll said. “But you’re going to see gun control advocates really leverage these situations – I hate to use that term – as a justification for more gun control.”

Jansen added, “Police shooting databases include things like off-duty domestic issues involving police officers, which have nothing to do with police officers in their professional capacity doing this, but they’ll use incidents like that just to inflate those numbers.”

And what will come from the executive orders that President Biden passed a few weeks ago that include funding, programming and a commission to study these issues?

“I don’t know that the votes are in Congress to legislatively pass any of these things, but each day you see something like this happen, it certainly puts it back onto the front burner,” Barkdoll noted.

Biden’s spokesperson did indicate the president may be open to introducing outright legislation about gun control in the future, but it needs votes in the House and Senate to become reality.