During the October 4 airing of CNN’s State of the Union, gun control proponent Mark Kelly reacted to the Umpqua Community College (UCC) shooting by calling for an expansion of the same background checks that the Oregon gunman passed to get his weapons.
In other words, every would-be gun owner should have to pass the same background check that Chris Harper-Mercer passed to get his guns. Ironically, on March 4, Breitbart News reported that Kelly’s wife—Gabby Giffords—argued that every would-be gun owner should have to pass the same background check that her attacker passed to acquire his gun.
According to The Hill, Kelly cited things that have nothing to do with the UCC attack (i.e., domestic violence and stalking) then suggested Congressional action expanding background checks is the “one basic and pretty simple solution” to all of it—the UCC attack included.
Kelly did not mention that the common tie between mass shootings over the last eight years has not been domestic abuse and stalking, but the location of the attacks—gun-free zones—and the fact that the majority of mass shooters obtain their weapons via background checks. In fact, on October 3, the New York Times listed a total of 12 recent mass shooters who have attacked and killed innocents, and the tie that bound them all together was their passage of a background check.
CNN’s Jake Tapper pointed out that UCC was as gun-free zone and said that many people share a concern that gun-free zones actually “attract bad guys.” He asked Kelly, “What is the purpose of putting up a sign that says ‘gun-free [zone]'”?
Kelly responded by saying gun-free zones exist because less guns equal greater safety. He said there “is no evidence” that mass shooters “intentionally” choose gun-free zones to commit an attack, and he claimed “less than 15 percent” of mass shootings take place in gun-free zones.
Kelly’s figures are likely drawn from an Everytown for Gun Safety study, which claims that only 14 percent of mass shootings occur in gun-free zones. But contrary to Kelly and Everytown, the number of mass shootings that take place in a gun-free zones is greater than 9 out of 10. In fact, the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) has shown that 92 percent of mass public shootings have occurred in a gun-free zones.
On top of this, there is ample proof that mass shooters purposely target gun-free zones. One of the best illustrations of this is Aurora movie theater gunman James Holmes, who shot and killed 12 and wounded 70 more during an July 2012 showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.” After the attack was carried out, Fox News reported that there were seven movie theaters showing the film within a 20-minute radius of Holmes’s residence, some of which were even closer than the Cinemark theater he attacked.
The Cinemark theater Holmes finally chose was a four-mile long, eight-minute car ride, while another theater showing the film “was only 1.2 miles (3 minutes) away.” But of all the theaters within a 20-minute radius, including the one just three minutes away, the Cinemark theater was the only one that barred law-abiding citizens from carrying guns for self-defense.
So we have a CPRC study showing that 9 out of 10 mass shootings occur in gun-free zones, we have a gunman who drove past numerous theaters closer to his home in order to reach one where citizens were required to be unarmed, and we have a NYT report admitting that the majority of mass shooters are getting their guns via background checks. And after an attack in a gun-free zone on the UCC campus was carried out by a gunman who passed background checks for his weapons, Mark Kelly defends gun-free zones and pushes more background checks.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.