Ten Years Ago Today in Gun Violence

 

Do you know what you were doing ten years ago? The families of these victims do. Ten years ago in Chicago, Starkesia Reed, 14 was killed when a stray bullet from an AK-47 assault rifle went through the window of her family’s house. She was eating an orange and getting ready for school. Eleven days later and a few blocks away, Siretha White, 10, was killed when a stray bullet went through the window of her aunt’s home. She was attending a surprise birthday party for her cousin.

 

The Chicago innocent bystanders were just the start, ten years ago. The same month, Seattle had its second worst massacre in 20 years when Aaron Kyle Huff, draped in bandoliers of shotgun shells, killed six at a Seattle party. Police later found an assault rifle and several large-capacity ammunition magazines in his vehicle as well. Huff’s two weapons–a 12-gauge Winchester Defender shotgun with an extended magazine and a pistol grip and a .40-caliber Ruger semiautomatic handgun–with which some victims were shot twice, were legal. So legal, they were returned to him by police after a prior shooting arrest in 2000! He had “rights”!

 

Days earlier, Jennifer San Marco, a person with psychosis who passed her background check, killed six at a postal facility and a neighbor in Goleta, California with a gun she bought at a pawn shop. She was known for shouting furiously to herself, peeling off her clothes in random parking lots, kneeling in prayer by the roadside and ordering food at restaurants and bolted out the door before eating it—but she was a legal gun owner.

 

Why has nothing changed for ten years? Because there is no gun violence, no massacre that will move the 34 senators from pro-gun states to allow gun safety legislation. After the Sandy Hook massacre, federal lawmakers would not even elevate gun trafficking to a felony. After the San Bernardino massacre, federal lawmakers refused to close the Terror Watch List loophole—placing the “gun rights” of possible terrorists above the right of citizens to not be shot at an office party! And of course, no gun legislation was passed after the shooting of Rep. Giffords.

 

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Money, however, talks. It took about a week for Indiana lawmakers to change their mind about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act when Apple, American Airlines, the NCAA college sports league and others threatened to pull their convention business. Now companies like PayPal and Wells Fargo, sport associations like the NBA and entertainers are exerting a similar effect on states with “bathroom” laws.

 

There is no question the pro-gun movement is on the wrong side of history. Only 18 percent of millennials even own guns. But at 30,000 gun deaths in the US a year—10,000 homicides—can we afford to wait for the pro-gun movement to fade away? Learn what you can do now on our website http://gunvictimsaction.org

 

 

 

 

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