Americans have endured five mass shootings — both successful and attempted — in the past nine days, targeting everything from schools, to President Donald Trump’s resort in Florida and an Oklahoma diner.
In Illinois, a 19-year-old opened fire on his former classmates at Dixon High School May 16, but a school resource officer stopped him before anyone was killed. In Texas, a 17-year-old killed 10 students and teachers at Santa Fe High School May 18 before surrendering to police. In Florida, also on May 18, a man shouting anti-Trump slogans fired a pistol repeatedly inside the Trump National Doral resort but police immediately subdued him. In Oklahoma, a 28-year-old unloaded his firearm inside a restaurant, wounding three before armed citizens being fatally shot him. In Indiana, an unnamed middle school kid fired two handguns at his fellow students but only succeeded in wounding one classmate and a teacher, who then subdued him.
The apparent (although debatable) surge in shootings has voters and lawmakers alike scrambling not only for solutions, but also someone to blame. Conservatives often point to law enforcement incompetence and the importance of having more good guys with guns, while liberals blame the guns themselves and constantly flirt with gun bans — both narrow and broad in scope. (RELATED: Good Guy With A Gun Stops Shooting)
House Democrats introduced legislation prohibiting the sale of semi-automatic weapons in February; but as the minority party, it was little more than grandstanding. Republican solutions focus more on stopping shootings as they begin rather than preventing them, emphasizing arming teachers and filling schools with more armed resource officers like Mark Dallas, who stopped the shooting in Illinois. But armed bystanders and even resource officers have proven unreliable deterrents. The school resource officer at the Parkland shooting stayed outside the school and didn’t save any lives. The officer at Santa Fe was left in critical condition after failing to stop the shooter. (RELATED: Trump Resort Shooter Identified)
On the other hand, outright gun bans are impractical and don’t work — background checks are already in place. Some have pointed again to law enforcement incompetence on this front. The Texas church shooter in Sutherland Springs was supposed to have a domestic violence conviction on his record, which disqualified him from purchasing a gun, but the U.S. Navy failed to report it to the FBI. Dylan Roof, who killed nine people at a black church in South Carolina, was similarly banned from purchasing guns, but his background check failed. The FBI investigated both the Parkland shooter and the Pulse nightclub shooter twice, not following up on the former and determining the latter wasn’t a threat.
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