Editorial: The facts of our nation’s epidemic
● By Richard Gaw
FACT: On Aug. 4, 2019, shooter Connor Betts, wearing protective armor, kills nine in a nightlife area in Dayton, Oh.
FACT: On Aug, 3, 2019, gunman DeWayne Craddock shoots and kills 12 people in a Virginia Beach government office.
FACT: On Feb, 15, 2019, during a disciplinary meeting at which he is dismissed from his job, shooter Gary Martin kills five of his co-workers at a manufacturing plant in Aurora, Ill., and also wounds five police who soon arrive at the plant.
FACT: On Nov. 7, 2018, gunman Ian David Long kills 12 people at a country music concert in Thousand Oaks, Cal.
FACT: On Oct. 27, 2018, at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pa., Robert Bowers shoots 11 people dead during Shabbat morning services. It becomes the largest single attack targeting Jewish people in U.S. history.
FACT: On June 28, 2018, five employees at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md. Are shot and killed by gunman Jarrod Ramos.
FACT: On May 18, 2018, 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis takes aim at his classmates at a Santa Fe, N.M. high school, killing eight students and two teachers.
FACT: On Feb. 14, 2018, hooter Nikolas Cruz arrives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and shoots dead 17 students and staff.
FACT: On Nov. 5, 2017, having been recently discharged from the Air Force on a conviction of domestic violence, Devin Patrick Kelley uses a AR-style firearm to kill more than two dozen members of a congregation in Sutherland Springs, TX.
FACT: Oct. 1, 2017, after punching through a window in his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, Nev. with the barrel of his rifle, shooter Stephen Paddock aims his firearm downward, at a well-attended concert going on below him. He kills 58 people and wounds more than 500.
FACT: The U.S House of Representatives passed two bi-partisan bills in February. H.R. 8 would require all licensed and unlicensed gun dealers to conduct background checks. H.R. 1112 would extend the background check waiting period to 10 days.
FACT: In reaction to these bills, several Republican legislators claimed the bills would inadvertently limit or inconvenience those eligible from purchasing a gun. In August, several lawmakers urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to reconvene the Senate to vote on the two bills, but so far, McConnell has not done so. Instead, he said that he would put these two bills “front and center” when the Senate returns from their summer break on Sept. 9. In a Tweet he sent on Aug. 5, McConnell called this criticism “partisan theatrics and campaign rhetoric” that he said “will only take us farther away from the progress all Americans deserve.”
FACT: NRA CEO & Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre recently issued the following statement: “I’m not inclined to discuss private conversations with President Trump or other key leaders on this issue. But I can confirm that the NRA opposes any legislation that unfairly infringes upon the rights of law-abiding citizens. The inconvenient truth is this: the proposals being discussed by many would not have prevented the horrific tragedies in El Paso and Dayton. Worse, they would make millions of law abiding Americans less safe and less able to defend themselves and their loved ones.
“The NRA will work in good faith to pursue real solutions to the epidemic of violence in America. But many proposals are nothing more than ‘soundbite solutions’ – which fail to address the root of the problem, confront criminal behavior, or make our communities safer.”
FACT: Between 1982 and 2011, a mass shooting occurred roughly once every 200 days in the United States. Between 2011 and 2014, that rate has accelerated greatly with at least one mass shooting occurring every 64 days. According to statistics from the Gun Violence Archive, as of Sept. 3, there have already been 37,995 incidents of gun violence in the U.S. this year, and 287 mass shootings, more than the number of days in the year so far.
FACT: In data released by the Center for Responsive Politics, of the top 85 members of Congress with the most career NRA contributions, 82 are Republicans – including McConnell, who has received $1.26 million from the NRA – the party that has traditionally been most in line with voting against gun laws. Additional data from the Center states that during the 2016 campaign cycle, for instance, candidates received more than $834,000 from the NRA, and between 1998 and 2016, the NRA contributed more than $13 million to candidates, parties and leadership political action committees.
FACT: The NRA spent $1.6 million during the first half of the year lobbying Congress against laws that would enact stricter background checks for people looking to buy guns.
CONCLUSION: Draw your own.