Bobby Jindal Calls for States to Follow Louisiana’s Example in Toughening Gun Laws

[Note:  This item comes from reader Randall Head.  DLH]

Bobby Jindal Calls for States to Follow Louisiana’s Example in Toughening Gun Laws
By ASHLEY SOUTHALL
Jul 26 2015
<http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/27/us/politics/bobby-jindal-calls-for-states-to-follow-louisianas-example-in-toughening-gun-laws.html>

Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana called for tougher gun laws in other states on Sunday, breaking his silence on the issue three days after a gunman with a history of mental illness and violence opened fire in a movie theater in the state’s fourth-largest city.

Gun control has become a prominent subject on the presidential campaign trail after the shooting on Thursday in Lafayette became the third mass shooting in six weeks in the United States. Mr. Jindal, who received an A-plus rating from the National Rifle Association, is one of 16 candidates seeking the Republican nomination for 2016.

Law enforcement authorities are investigating how the gunman in last week’s attack, identified as John R. Houser, 59, was able to walk into an Alabama pawnshop and legally buy the Hi-Point .40-caliber handgun he used to kill two women and injure nine other people before killing himself at the Grand 16 Theater. A motive for the shooting has not been determined.

Until Sunday, Mr. Jindal and most of his Republican rivals had deflected questions in recent days over whether the killings reflected a need for tighter gun control laws. On CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Mr. Jindal called for states to adopt laws similar to Louisiana’s that feed information about mental illness into a federal background check system for potential gun buyers.

“I think every state should strengthen their laws,” he said. “Every state should make sure this information is being reported in the background system. We need to make sure that background system is working. Absolutely, in this instance, this man never should have been able to buy a gun.”

Officials have said Mr. Houser, of Phenix City, Ala., legally bought the weapon there in 2014, although he had been denied a state-issued concealed weapons permit in 2006 because he was accused of domestic violence and soliciting arson. His family repeatedly described him as violent and mentally ill, and questions about his mental health had been raised for decades. In 2008, his family had him involuntarily committed to a hospital in Georgia to receive psychiatric care.

Mr. Jindal insisted that Louisiana laws would have prevented Mr. Houser from buying a gun.

“In Louisiana, we toughened our laws a couple of years ago,” Mr. Jindal said. “If he had been involuntarily committed here, if he had tried to buy that gun here, he wouldn’t have been allowed to do that.”

He added: “Look, every time this happens, it seems like the person has a history of mental illness. We need to make sure the systems we have in place actually work.”

Mr. Jindal said investigators had interviewed Mr. Houser’s family and were examining journals found in his hotel room in which he described his intention to carry out a shooting in the theater. The authorities believe Mr. Houser went to multiple theaters in southern Louisiana before picking the one in Lafayette, the governor said.

The investigators also believe that Mr. Houser intended to escape. He parked his car near the theater’s exit, and had a wig and disguises in his car and hotel room, Mr. Jindal said.

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