After Shootings, D.C. Response Shifts From Guns To Threat Detection


After an Iraq War veteran took the lives of three other people at Fort Hood, President Obama, Pentagon officials and others in Washington agreed more must be done to spot “insider threats” before they strike. Almost no one is urging a change in gun laws, reports Politico. The Fort Hood attack is the latest in a string of mass shootings, from the Navy Yard attack in September to a shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin the year before, where the response from Washington has shifted from guns to the shooters who wield them. The push now is to identify those who might become violent before they act, especially when the military is involved. The approach is in stark contrast to two years ago, when Obama believed he could push a significant gun control package through Congress after the Newtown school shooting.

After that effort failed, talk of changing gun laws faded, and it is unlikely to return, especially in an election year when Democrats are already struggling to hang onto control of the Senate. “The gun lobby is so strong that it will go after anyone who says changes need to be made, including anyone that says those with serious mental illness should not have a gun,” said Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA), who co-chairs the House mental health caucus. Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ), who was shot alongside former Rep. Gabby Giffords, said the mental health focus should be on treatment and prevention – not guns. “That's a much more complicated issue, and we need to go slow on that,” he said when asked about the need for new federal regulations that restrict the mentally ill from getting their hands on such. “The key is early identification, diagnosis and treatments and when we do that we can avert these tragedies.”

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