After the most recent horrific violent mass shooting in the US, Trump has been making his views on the issue very clear. His stance is that if there were more legal gun owners in places like schools or the Pulse Nightclub, then these mass shootings would not be happening.
Yesterday, he held a round table discussion with the members of Congress about gun violence. In the same breath that he said he’s looking for solutions to mass shootings, he stated “As an example, you take the Pulse Nightclub. You had one person in that room that could carry a gun and knew how to use it, it wouldn’t have happened. Certainly not to the extent it did, where he was just in there shooting and shooting and shooting. And they were defenseless. Just remember that.”
Trump is incorrect that no one in Pulse had a gun, as the nightclub’s security guard and off-duty Orlando Police officer Adam Gruler was working that evening. He attempted to shoot at Mateen, but Mateen went deep into the dark club and Gruler understood how dangerous aimlessly shooting into the dark would be.
The Pulse shooting resulted in 49 lost lives — most of which were members of our own LGBTQ community. After every mass shooting it seems there is an upsurge of anti-gun activism by the communities most impacted. For example, the birth of Gays Against Guns after Pulse. And students like Emma Gonzalez from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are now creating space for hard conversations about how to change this culture of violence.
While the answer seems so clear to survivors of mass shootings, that what we need is less guns not more — our President doesn’t seem to listen despite the fact that the proof is in the numbers. As Gonzalez stated in her speech on CNN: “Australia had one mass shooting in 1999 in Port Arthur [and after the] massacre introduced gun safety, and it hasn’t had one since. Japan has never had a mass shooting. Canada has had three and the UK had one and [then] they both introduced gun control.”
Trump also stated that “98 percent of all mass shootings in the United States, since 1950, have taken place in gun-free zones.” Which is untrue. In fact, Everytown for Gun Safety analyzed mass shootings, looking at 133 shootings between 2009 and 2015 — they discovered that 17 (13%) of these shootings took place in gun-free zones.
The reality is that Mateen would not have been able to shoot and kill 49 people if he hadn’t had access to a semi-automatic weapon. And Nikolas Jacob Cruz would not have been able to purchase a automatic rifle to then cause a mass shooting if we had more gun control. This is why Gonzalez’s mission for gun control is so vital for our country’s future.
You can support these student’s mission by donating to their March For Our Lives on March 24. To join the resistance against gun violence, head over to everytown.org, join Gays Against Guns, text ‘RESIST’ to 50409 to contact your representative today, or find out if your money is going to gun manufactures at goodbyegunstocks.com.