The shooter Hodgkinson or whomever had engaged in quite bad conduct for which charges were dismissed.
Today each state tends to have a kind of list to keep certain people away from buying or owning guns. In Wash, that is felons plus certain misdemeanor domestic violence offenders plus whomever else.
In Illinois and in many other states, there are persons who commit stupid crimes of anger and for which they are not prosecuted or the charges are dismissed for various reasons such as limited judicial resources or anger management diversion.
This guy, in addition to several ordinary crimes of anger/violence of hitting a person and/or grabbing, had pointed a loaded gun at a person and then fired it in his direction as a form of intimidation.
If it were me, I would tend to favor a restriction on gun purchase or owning, based on a known history in police or child and family services reports of 1) brandishing a firearm with pointing at a person and without it being self-defense, or 2) negligent firing in a way that creates a reasonable concern re the safety of persons or 3) crimes of anger such as hitting, grabbing or threats.
The criminal judicial system is not well suited to always prosecute many of these low-level crimes, which are often dropped with some warning or diversion.
However, police and child and family services create a lot of reports.
I’d require a permit to purchase firearms, on a shall issue policy, but with police discretion and a usual policy of denial in cases of reports of “bad brandishing,” negligent firing with a cause of concern for the safety of persons, hitting, grabbing and threats.
If the guy being denied a permit wishes to contest the denial, he could appear before a judge and present his case.
Illinois has supposedly fairly restrictive “gun control” laws, laws that some persons in Wash would find questionable. In Ill. you must have a special license/card to own or purchase either guns or ammo. Ill. “exports” of illegally trafficked bad arms are supposedly half the national average.
The same policy would have had a fair chance of snaring Mateen the Pulse nightclub shooter, for he was known to police for having made threats of violence.
There also seems to be a bad overlap between dui, dui arrests and firearm misuse, but I don’t know of any studies on the topic. So . . . I’d assume that some of the guys with guns should not have them based on known but unconvicted acts of crimes of anger and maybe known but unconvicted crimes of dui.
Though I am pro-weapons owning for most of the public, I’d agree to greater restrictions, based on arrest and other police reports, and that would irritate many of my pro-weapons owning friends.
Note also the case of the guy in Portland a few weeks ago. He was a felon and therefore prohibited from owning certain things . . . and in the last few months at various protests and on the trains just recently, he had engaged in riotous or disorderly conduct for which he had not been arrested or prosecuted. There are lots of people who are currently or recently engaging in riotous, disorderly or threatening conduct who don’t have a felony conviction in their past, but who are also “dangerous” and not suitable for gun owning.
If a guy pulls up a shotgun or rifle and shots it at someone as a means of intimidation, it should not take a conviction to yank his ability to own or buy a gun, but that is what the Alexandria shooter did and the criminal justice system in Illinois did not get around to convicting him. So, owning a gun should take a preponderance of evidence test, if there are questions about the guy’s use of his gun.
Of course . . . on other weapons . . . I was at Twin Peaks in Tukwila yesterday and one of the waitresses asked me what was new, and I said I had seen the movie Wonder Woman . . . and that is a substantially less exciting account than when I got to tell them that I had been walking at the u-district Street Fair with an “illegal-to-carry knife” carried harmlessly in a sheath and SPD had chosen to not bother me substantially . . .