Until the shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords in 2011 and the Aurora and Sandy Hook shootings in 2012, the public tended to regard mass shootings like storms–locally heavy but widely scattered and soon to be forgotten.
Who remembers the spate of gun violence in 2009 in which the gun “enthusiast” Michael McLendon killed his mother, grandmother, uncle, two cousins and the wife and toddler daughter of a sheriff’s deputy in Samson, Alabama, setting fire to his mother’s home and killing her dogs? McLendon had a cache of an M-16, an AK-47, a shotgun, two pistols and a “great amount of ammunition.”
Who remembers Bruce Pardo who dressed as Santa in order to shoot and kill his ex-wife and her family in Covina, California a few weeks earlier on Christmas Eve? Pardo had five semi-automatic handguns and two shotguns. Both Pardo and McLendon were shining exemplars of the “right” to buy more than one weapon a month which the gun lobby strongly defends.
Then there was Terry Sedlacek who shot and killed a pastor through the Bible he held at a church service in Maryville, Illinois. During those few weeks, there were 50 plus funerals of gun victims.
When new gun legislation is introduced after mass shootings, the gun lobby says “let’s not legislate on the top of fresh graves.” Yet that is exactly what the gun lobby does. Three days after Sedlacek’s murder of Rev. Fred Winters of First Baptist Church in Maryville, a group of gun owners in yellow T-shirts gathered outside the Illinois Statehouse chanting “Concealed Carry Now.” Nice.
“We’re not just going to lay down and take this stuff,” bellowed Todd Vandermyde, an NRA lobbyist, about Illinois bills during the same legislative period that would limit who could buy and sell guns.” Gun owners are such victims!
In both cases the NRA got its wishes but there is evidence the guns-everywhere-all-the-time agenda of the gun lobby is fading. The profit party after Newtown is over. Last December, both Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. and Remington Outdoor Co. reported profits down and Cabela’s firearms and ammunition sales were down 50 percent. The number of homes with guns has fallen from half in 1977 to a third today. And only 18 percent of 18 to 25-year-olds own a gun, half of them supporting stricter gun laws.
How many died in 2014 from gun violence? The NRA hopes we forget.
Join our action to tell corporate America to get off the “sidelines” and take a stand against gun violence including the “can’t miss” sniper rifle sold to civilians. When corporations want sane gun laws, we will have sane gun laws.