Recalled Dem says Navy Yard shooter wouldn’t have passed background check

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Greg Campbell Contributor
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A Colorado Democrat who was booted from office for supporting gun control said the Navy Yard shooter “probably would not have passed a background check” for a weapons purchase.

Former Colorado state Sen. Angela Giron, who was recalled last week, made this claim about Aaron Alexis, even though he passed several, including one in which he bought the shotgun used in the attack.

Giron and former Colorado Senate President John Morse discussed their historic recalls on MSNBC’s “All In With Chris Hayes” Tuesday in light of the mass shooting that left 13 dead, including Alexis.

Morse and Giron were targeted for recall because of their support for new laws that limit the size of ammunition magazines and which require universal background checks.

In response to a question as to whether such laws could prevent violence at the hands of someone who is determined to kill, Giron said Alexis “would probably not have passed a background check, had he went [sic] to purchase some firearms.”

But Alexis did pass a federal background check when he bought the Remington 870 Express 12-gauge shotgun used in Monday’s attack, according to The New York Times.

Alexis — who had been arrested on firearms-related charges in the past — was also subjected to an extensive background check by the Department of Defense for a national security clearance in 2008, according to ABC.

And he underwent two other background checks with a private computer company for which he worked after his stint in the Navy, in 2012 and 2013. Those checks “revealed no issues other than one minor traffic violation,” company officials told the network.

Numerous media have reported that Alexis had a concealed carry permit in Texas, which also requires a background check, although it’s unclear when he applied for the permit.

Alexis, a discharged Navy Petty Officer Third Class, was arrested in 2010 for discharging a weapon within Fort Worth city limits, a misdemeanor, and in 2004 he was charged in Seattle for malicious mischief after shooting out the tires on a man’s car. Neither resulted in a felony conviction that would have prevented him from legally buying a firearm.

Giron also defended Colorado’s new law restricting ammunition magazines to those holding no more than 15 rounds.

“That is reasonable,” she said. “That’s what police carry. We know that in some of these shootings and massacres, these huge rounds, um, 100-round magazines, that when they jam, it really gives [victims] opportunity [to escape]. So we do know it can make a difference.”

Despite initial reports that Alexis used an AR-15 or M-16 type of weapon in Monday’s shooting, authorities now believe he used a shotgun and one or two handguns. The New Yorker reports that he might have entered the Navy Yard with only the shotgun and took the handguns from security guards. (RELATED: Politicians, media red-faced over wrong claims about gun in Navy Yard shootings )

When asked if it was “the gun lobby or gun owners” who kicked him out of office, Morse told Hayes, “In my view, it’s 100 percent the gun lobby.”

Throughout the recall campaign, Morse had long railed against “outside interests” like the National Rifle Association donating money to his opponents and circulating fliers calling for his ouster.

Morse and Giron weren’t without their deep-pocketed out-of-state supporters, however. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave $350,000 to support their campaigns. Billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad gave $250,000.

Morse told Hayes the gun lobby “bought the signatures that forced the election in the first place.” (RELATED: Colorado recalls a setback for gun control supporters nationally)

“I don’t think it was the gun owners in my district,” he said. “I think it was more the NRA and the way they whipped up the frenzy, as they always do.”

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