Gun Control

  • February 26, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Tom Nolan, Associate Professor of Criminology, Merrimack College; 27-year veteran of the Boston Police Department

    In the aftermath of yet another tragic school shooting, this time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida., on Feb. 14, where 17 people were killed and 15 others were wounded, our collective anguish and outrage has led yet again to strident calls for the implementation of meaningful reforms to avert future tragedies, i.e. the next school shooting. According to the Washington Post, “more than 150,000 students attending at least 170 primary or secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999,” and that “On average, two dozen children are shot every day in the United States, and in 2016 more youths were killed by gunfire — 1,637 — than during any previous year this millennium.” The clarion call and the mandate to action, particularly given the ardent activism of the surviving high school students from Parkland, has never been more driven and focused.

  • February 22, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Christopher Wright Durocher, Senior Director of Policy and Program

    On Wednesday, February 14, seventeen people were killed and another fourteen were wounded in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The gunman allegedly used an AR-15 style semi-automatic assault rifle. The post below was originally published in June 2017—after an attack by a similarly armed gunman during practice for members of the GOP congressional baseball team—that discusses that availability of assault rifles, as well as responses to mass shootings. In addition, last October, ACSblog ran a post spotlighting a letter from 88 groups concerned with gun violence to state and federal lawmakers after the Las Vegas shooting, demanding action to address gun violence. With the 10th Anniversary of the landmark Second Amendment case District of Columbia v. Heller coming up this June and gun violence remaining a national crisis, ACS will continue to highlight this issue on the ACSblog and in our programming.

  • October 13, 2017

    by Christopher Wright Durocher, Director of Policy Development and Programming, ACS

    A coalition of 88 groups concerned with gun violence in the United States has released an open letter to the elected leaders of America, calling for meaningful legislative action in the wake of the shooting earlier this month in Las Vegas that left 59 people dead and more than 500 injured.

    The letter assails Congress for considering two bills that would liberalize gun regulations—one removing restrictions on the sale of firearm silencers and the other effectively nationalizing the most permissive state concealed carry permit laws through federal mandated reciprocity between states. Though the National Rifle Association (NRA) and its gun industry allies defend these measures as commonsense and necessary to meet Second Amendment principles, these bills go far beyond the protections of the Second Amendment the Supreme Court laid out in the seminal case District of Columbia v. Heller.

  • July 31, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Walter Smith, Executive Director, DC Appleseed for Law & Justice

    On Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held by a 2-1 vote that the District's requirements for carrying a concealed handgun in public violate the Second Amendment. The District's law requires that a person applying for a license to carry a concealed gun must show either a "good reason to fear injury to [their] person or property" or "any other proper reason for carrying a pistol."

  • June 19, 2017

    by Christopher Wright Durocher

    Wednesday’s horrific shooting during a practice for members of the GOP congressional baseball team was an unnecessary reminder of the prevalence of gun violence in the U.S. The event was notable for its high-profile victims, including Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), a member of House’s Republican Leadership, but it was otherwise bleakly common—an average of 90 people die from gun violence each day and, by some counts, this was the 195 mass shooting of 2017 (the 196th mass shooting occurred hours later in San Francisco).

    The incident, which left five wounded, including a congressional aide, a lobbyist and two Capitol Police officers, was described by Breitbart with the headline “Man Opens Fire on Congressional Baseball Practice; Good Guy with Gun Shoots Back.” The “good guys with guns” narrative is an all too common trope we hear from the NRA and its allies after a high-profile shooting, particularly mass shootings. In 2012, a week after the Sandy Hook massacre left twenty-six dead, including twenty children, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said, “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.” Since that time, this trope has been deployed in response to mass shootings to justify expanding gun availability and ownership and reducing or eliminating gun safety regulations. The only problem is that there’s no evidence that it’s true.

    The epidemiology of mass shootings is complicated and anything but straightforward. That said, there are some things we do know. A review of mass shootings between 2000 and 2012 published by the FBI reveals that the median response time for police is three minutes. Admittedly, three minutes is a long time when facing an armed assailant, and with the aid of high-capacity magazines and semi-automatic weapons, shooters are capable of inflicting grievous damage in such a short time. As Rep. Mike Bishop (R-Mich.), a witness to Wednesday’s attack, observed, “He had a rifle that was clearly meant for the job of taking people out, multiple casualties, and he had several rounds and magazines that he kept unloading and reloading.”