FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 4, 2019
202-408-0061 x 1017
Already reeling from the horrific violence in El Paso, the nation wakes up to another mass shooting.
Washington, DC (August 4, 2019) — Another tragedy. This time in Dayton, Ohio. A white man wearing body armor armed with a semi-automatic assault rifle was able to murder nine people and injure 26 others in less than a minute.
This is not normal. No other nation lives with the daily horror and trauma of gun violence as American citizens do. The fact that our elected officials do not address gun violence as a public health crisis is a national disgrace. We must not become numb to these atrocities. We must summon the political courage to address them.
That starts with the Senate. As we said yesterday, historic gun violence prevention legislation has been passed with bipartisan support by the House of Representatives — the first such legislation in two decades. Majority Leader McConnell has refused to bring this and other life-saving legislation up for a vote in the Senate. That is unacceptable, and every single senator — especially those running for re-election — must answer for it.
Additionally, we must acknowledge that AR-15s and other semi-automatic assault weapons have become the official weapons of mass tragedy. They are chosen by shooters because they kill as many people as possible in a matter of minutes. The shooter in Dayton killed nine people and injured 26 others in less than a minute before being killed by police. This is not what James Madison intended when he wrote the Second Amendment. Speaker Pelosi and Democrats must lead. It is time for the House of Representatives to bring up an assault weapons and high capacity magazine ban for a vote on the House floor. These weapons have no place at our food festivals, our shopping centers, our night clubs. Enough is enough.
In response to the El Paso shooting, we have already seen the Governor of Texas pivot to blame mental illness — the standard gun lobby talking point. That is a distraction. We know the evidence shows that those with mental illness are not at a higher risk of interpersonal violence than the general public. Any attempt to blame an entire population because our nation has a problem with guns is disingenuous, discriminatory, and unhelpful. Rather, we should focus on evidence-based policies that have been shown to save lives. Therefore, we hope that Governor Mike Dewine of Ohio will avoid this shameful tactic and make passing an Extreme Risk Protection Order law — legislation that is based on behavioral indicators of dangerousness and not mental illness — his first priority in response to this tragedy.