If the worst incident of gun violence in modern U.S. history is not an urgent signal that it’s way past time to talk about reasonable gun control measures, what is?
And yet White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday — the day after the Las Vegas massacre — that now is not the time for a serious, substantive debate over guns.
“I think that we can have those policy conversations, but today is not that day,” she said, just hours after a gunman opened fire on an outdoor music festival crowd from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
San Bernardino, California, 14 dead, December 2015
Colorado Springs, Colorado, three dead, November 2015
Roseburg, Oregon, nine dead, October 2015
Chattanooga, Tennessee, five dead, July2015
Charleston, South Carolina, nine dead, June 2015
Isla Vista, California, six killed, May 2014
Ft. Hood, Texas, three dead, April 2014
Washington Navy Yard, D.C., 12 dead, September 2013
Santa Monica, California, five killed, June 2013
Newtown, Connecticut, 27 dead, December 2012
Brookfield, Wisconsin, three killed, October 2012
Minneapolis, Minnesota, six killed, September 2012
Oak Creek, Wisconsin, six killed, August 2012
Aurora, Colorado, 12 dead, July 2012
Oakland, California, seven killed, April 2012
Seal Beach, California, eight killed, October 2011
Tucson, Arizona, six killed, January 2011
Manchester, Connecticut, eight killed, August 2010
Huntsville, Alabama, three killed, February 2010
Fort Hood, Texas, 13 dead, November 2009
Most people have probably forgotten about many of these killings because they happen so often.
This list above does not include other major shootings like at Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, Virginia (32 killed, April 2007), and Columbine High School, Littleton, Colorado (13 killed, April 1999).
Nor does it include Hawaii’s worst shooting, when Xerox employee Byran Uyesugi killed seven of his co-workers with a Glock 9mm semiautomatic handgun.
The Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas on Monday, the day after a mass shooting took place from the these two broken windows.
Edgar Garcia/UNLV Scarlet & Gray Free Press
The circumstances, locations, killers and victims are different, but there is one thing they all have in common: “Mass killings in the United States are most often carried out with guns, usually handguns, most of them obtained legally,” as reported by The Washington Post.
The Post’s database on mass shootings in the United States covers all of them, from 1966 when a ex-Marine sniper climbed a 27-story tower at the University of Texas in Austin and killed 14 people before police shot him to death, through the shootings from the windows of the Mandalay Bay hotel on Sunday night.
“Each gun was used to kill an average of four people, not counting shooters,” according to The Post and its co-authors, including Mother Jones. “The 949 people came from nearly every imaginable race, religion and socioeconomic background, and 145 were children or teenagers.”
The oldest victim was 98, the youngest just 8 months.
“Shooters brought an average of four weapons to each shooting; the Las Vegas music festival shooter had at least 10. We don’t know how all the guns were acquired, but of the ones we know, 141 were obtained legally and 39 were obtained illegally.”
Congress Should ‘Get Off Its Ass’
We are not naive. We know that the Republican president and Republican Congress, heavily backed by the National Rifle Association, will not do anything.
They probably won’t even note the coincidence that Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise returned to work just last week after he and four others were wounded earlier this year when a gunman opened fire on a GOP baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.
The harsh truth is that all this killing in the country is not normal, that it is mostly people with guns who kill people, that the 2nd Amendment rights of gun owners will not be taken away by stricter gun control laws, and that the states with the most gun laws (including Hawaii) are the states with the fewest gun-related deaths.
Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, had it right Monday when he called for Congress to “get off its ass and do something” about gun violence. This is an American problem, he noted, and it demands an American solution.
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The members of Civil Beat’s editorial board are Pierre Omidyar, Patti Epler, Jim Simon, Richard Wiens, Chad Blair, Jessica Terrell and Landess Kearns. Opinions expressed by the editorial board reflect the group’s consensus view. Chad Blair, the Politics and Opinion Editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.