The shooting at the school in Parkland, Florida was the eighteenth school shooting in the United States since the first of the year. That is an average of one every two and a half days. It is the thirtieth mass casualty shooting since January 1. No other country can match this. It only happens here.
Real-time U.S. gun violence data, as of 2/14/18:
•1,806 gun deaths
•3,126 gun injuries
•69 children shot or killed
•331 teenagers shot or killed
•181 incidents of defensive gun use
•215 unintentional shootings
•30 mass shootings
•11 school shootings with injury or death
— Gun Violence Archive (@GunDeaths) February 14, 2018
It was done by a disgruntled 19 year old who had lost both his parents and was expelled from the school. He was not mentally ill and had purchased the AR-15 legally. The family he lived with knew he had the weapon and made him keep it in a locked closet. He had the key. From Charlie Pierce:
Good god. This guy was so freaking dangerous he was on the FBI’s goddamn radar. (The countdown has begun to the moment when the president* uses this fact to take another shot at the FBI for his own problems.) There is almost no way the Army or the Marines—or anybody’s army or marines, except, possibly, ISIL—would have handed an AR-15 to anybody with Cruz’s background. But he was able to own it as long as he locked it up at night in a cabinet to which he had the damn key. And it was sitting there, in the cabinet, to which he had the key, while he was posting threats on social media, bragging about killing animals, and shooting stuff with a pellet gun. His AR-15 was right there, locked in the cabinet, to which Nikolas had a key, until it wasn’t anymore.
Until he opened up and killed 17 people in the school from which he’d been expelled for being dangerously violent, Nikolas Cruz had broken no laws. That’s because this was Florida, and in Florida: a) you don’t need a permit to buy a gun or to register the weapon once you do; b) you don’t need a permit to carry a concealed rifle or shotgun, just a handgun, and it’s hard to believe the NRA let that one slip by; c) you can buy as many guns as you want; d) there are no regulations on military-style weapons or the amount of ammunition you can buy for them, and e) if you want to sell guns, you don’t need a license. The state does require a three-day waiting period, which clearly was effective in this case.
And, in case you were feeling relieved that you don’t live in an armed asylum like Florida, don’t get comfortable. Right now, in the Congress, there is pending something called the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. This would allow people from armed asylums like Florida to carry concealed weapons without penalty, and without notifying local authorities. In December, two months after a well-armed lunatic named Stephen Paddock shot 58 people to death in Las Vegas, this dog’s breakfast of a bill passed the House of Representatives, in which you cannot carry a gun, concealed or otherwise. It may not pass the Senate. It’s probably unconstitutional as hell. But it got 231 votes in the House. There are 231 members of Congress who thought this was a good idea, even in the wake of mass murder in Nevada.
Once again, the best our law makers can do is offer their thoughts and prayers for the families. They have ordered flags to be lowered to half staff. None of that will stop the next shooting. Stricter gun regulation will, starting with making guns like the AR-15 illegal, ending open and concealed carry unless you are in law enforcement. Stricter background checks and longer waiting periods for a license would also go a long way to keeping guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have one in the first place. Raise the age of ownership, as MSNBC host Chris Hayes tweeted: What possible defense is there of a legal regime where a 19 year old cannot buy a can of beer but can buy a weapon of war? No one wants to take away guns, we just need to be more rational about responsible ownership.
Since Donald Trump took office there have been 68,089 gun incidents with 17,419 deaths with 376 mass shootings. He reversed an Obama order that made it more difficult for the mentally ill to purchase a gun. He said he would end the carnage. When will that be?