On Sunday, Jim Adkisson, a 58-year-old self-described “loner” walked into a church in Knoxville, Tennessee. He was carrying a guitar case and wearing a fanny pack. In the guitar case was a shotgun and in the pack more than 70 shells for the gun.
Adkisson targeted the Unitarian Universalist Church because of its liberal teachings and his belief that “all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, that Democrats had tied this country's hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of media outlets."
Adkisson’s plan was to shoot until police arrived and shot him. "He certainly intended to take a lot of casualties," said Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen.
Fortunately, soon after Adkisson opened fire in the crowded church he was tackled by three church members who forced him to the floor. But not before his shotgun blasts had left two church members dead and several others wounded.
An acquaintance described Adkisson as someone who hates "blacks, gays and anyone different from him.” A 2000 Protection From Abuse order against Adkisson told of a threat he made to his wife to “blow her brains out and then do the same to himself.” A friend described an incident where Adkisson had been drinking heavily and then put a gun to his wife’s head.
Adkisson was a hateful, violent, dangerous man. Yet nothing in U.S. gun laws prevented him from obtaining the shotgun he used to kill two people on Sunday. How can that be?