Atlanta Spa Shootings

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 20, 2021

MEDIA CONTACT:
Andrew Patrick, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
apatrick@csgv.org; 828-712-7603

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Calls for Meaningful Federal Action to Protect Americans from Guns Following Biden’s Atlanta Visit

WASHINGTON — Following President Biden and Vice President Harris’ visit to the Atlanta communities that witnessed Tuesday’s horrific shooting that killed eight people, six of them women of Asian descent, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is putting pressure on Congress to address the twin epidemics of gun violence and white supremacist racism that have plagued the United States for far too long.

Josh Horwitz, Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, issued the following statement:

“Whether at a spa in Atlanta, a nightclub in Orlando, an AME church in Charleston, or a synagogue in Pittsburgh, the unnerving fact remains that we live in a society that makes it incredibly easy for hate to kill.

“We send our deepest condolences to the survivors and loved ones of the victims and to the broader Atlanta community, and we stand in solidarity with the Asian and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. But the words of support and offerings of love are a refrain that has become all too familiar. It is past time for action and to dismantle the racist structures of power that contributed to this act of violence. The families of Soon Chung Park, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Hyun Jung Grant, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, and Daoyou Feng deserve more.

“The shooting in Atlanta is a gut-wrenching reminder that hatred and easy access to firearms is a deadly combination. We cannot ignore the fact that the former president encouraged, and our national discourse tolerated, dehumanizing rhetoric toward people of Asian descent. But anti-Asian bias doesn’t only show up in large, overt ways. It also shows up in the way law enforcement officials in Georgia seemed to excuse the shooter’s actions and misogynistic behavior, failing to recognize the terror that Asian-American communities have experienced over the past year.

“The truth is that gun violence in all of its forms will continue until and unless our elected officials enact laws that will reduce gun violence and save American lives. Congress must act swiftly to send life-saving gun violence prevention legislation to the president’s desk.

“We also cannot ignore that the laws in the state of Georgia, like many states across the country, allowed the perpetrator of this atrocity to gain easy access to a deadly weapon on the same day he used it to commit murder. Elected officials in Georgia must begin by strengthening background checks to prevent future violence.”

Lauren Footman, Director of Outreach and Equity at the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, added:

“The shooting in Atlanta connects to a larger history of racism against people of Asian descent within the United States and shines a heartbreaking spotlight on how our nation’s weak gun laws perpetuate injustice and violence. The response by law enforcement in Georgia has so far failed to recognize the mounting fear and climate of violence targeting Asian-Americans and people of Asian descent, particularly over the past year.

“The shooter drove to spas where he knew Asian women worked, echoing an established pattern of shooters explicitly motivated by sexist attitudes and rhetoric. This misogyny cannot be separated from the racism the Asian-American community in the United States is experiencing, or from the intertwined racism and misogyny that women of Asian descent experience on a regular basis. The shooter targeted people he saw as vulnerable because our country routinely marginalizes and exoticizes Asian women. We cannot excuse this behavior as a result of ‘a bad day,’ and we also cannot excuse law enforcement who appear to empathize with the perpetrator over the eight families he shattered and an entire community in fear.

“We must prioritize the voices and the realities of marginalized people in all of our laws — especially our gun laws. It’s long past time to strengthen gun violence prevention laws to help end the senseless epidemic of gun violence.”

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About the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Founded in 1974, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is the nation’s oldest gun violence prevention organization. We believe gun violence should be rare and abnormal. CSGV develops and advocates for evidence-based solutions to reduce gun injury and death in all its forms.

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