Today, we are left reeling by the news of two more disturbing mass shootings, both with echoes of our organizations’ founding. Incidents like this are a stark reminder of the relentless drumbeat of tragedy our nation is forced to endure because our leaders refuse to pass sensible gun legislation that keeps the public safe.
This morning, in Alexandria, Virginia, a shooter launched a heinous, deliberate attack on members of Congress and their staffers. Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and at least four others were wounded while practicing for the annual Congressional baseball game. Scalise, who is now recovering from a gunshot to the hip, is the first member of Congress to be the victim of such an attack since our leader, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot along with 18 others—six fatally—while meeting with constituents in January 2011.
The shooter in Alexandria was a 66-year-old man from Illinois with a violent history and radical views. During the chaos of this assault, two courageous Capitol Police officers were shot in an effort to neutralize the gunman, who was armed with a handgun and a military-style assault weapon. The perpetrator was later killed after a shootout with police.
Mere hours later, reports came in of an active shooter at a UPS facility across the country. In San Francisco, a gunman shot and killed three UPS employees and wounded two others. According to the city’s assistant police chief, the gunman was armed with an assault pistol which he then turned on himself when confronted by police.
The mass shooting at UPS took place a short distance from 101 California Street, the site of the 1993 massacre that led to the Law Center’s founding. The tragic incident is a reminder of the all-too frequent occurrences of workplace violence that plague our nation. Businesses should be peaceful environments where people can feel safe, but they are frequent targets for deadly attacks. Following the murder of five warehouse workers in Orlando earlier this month, the tragedy in San Francisco underscores just how common shootings like this are—according to an FBI analysis, acts of violence in places of business like this one are the most common type of active shooter situations.
Today’s shooting in the Potrero neighborhood of San Francisco marks the 154th mass shooting of 2017, and while no lives were lost in Alexandria, both of these assaults are a painful reminder of 114,000 Americans shot every year. We are deeply saddened by both of these tragedies and send our sincere and heartfelt sympathies to the victims and to their families. But we can and must do more to put a stop to these incidents of gun violence that shatter countless lives each year.
The gun lobby continues hold Congress in a tight grip, pushing for the total dismantling of our gun laws, including this year’s attempt to deregulate silencers, legislation that was scheduled to be debated in Congress today. It is terrifying to imagine how much more difficult it would be for law enforcement to respond to a mass shooting when a gunman has a silencer.
The parallels between the mass shootings that occurred today and those which launched the Law Center and our partner organization Americans for Responsible Solutions are striking, and remind us of how critical this fight truly is for the sake of our nation’s safety.