On Sunday, our President shared these sentiments:
“This is a reminder that attacks on any American, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation is an attack on all of us, and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country…Today marks the most deadly shooting in American history…And we have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be…to actively do nothing is a decision, as well.”
The Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles is saddened, and our hearts are truly broken because of the senseless carnage that ensued this past weekend. Friday night, a young singer was tragically murdered in front of her brother as she wrapped up a concert performance in Florida. Sunday morning, hate and terror ravaged an entire community and the world—hate insistent on silencing the voices of Florida’s LGBTQ Communities.
In Chicago over the Memorial Day weekend, 64 people, including men, women and children were shot in the streets and inside their homes, a place of traditional safety. Last week in Los Angeles, a former student killed a professor on the UCLA campus after killing his wife two thousand miles away just days prior. Meanwhile, according to the L.A. Times Homicide Report, the number of homicides in Los Angeles County over the last 12 months has risen to 675, with an overwhelming number of those homicides involving firearms.
Each and every one of these shootings has at least two commonalities; they are part of the ongoing epidemic of gun violence and can be traced to the failure of Congress to act and pass sensible gun violence prevention legislation. This failure allows easy access to assault weapons and inefficient or non-existent background checks.
The press emphasis on ferreting out motivations, scenarios, conditions, and manner of the shooters may be helpful to allay the public fear surrounding these mass shootings; however, what they fail to focus on, is how the guns were obtained. The Orlando shooter was on the “no fly” list, but the lax gun laws allowed the shooter to buy an AR-15 with very large magazine capacity, as well as hand guns and huge amounts of ammunition.
Whether these shootings are daily street violence, domestic violence or mass casualty events, whether they are identified as international terrorism or domestic terrorism, they are all acts of terrorism, and facilitated by easy access to guns.
The tragic situation with Harambe and the young child who fell into the gorilla habitat, resulted in advocates and zoo officials calling for and immediately implementing safety measures to prevent additional tragedy. In contrast, anti-violence advocates have been working for more than 25 years to move our Congress to pass sensible gun laws to reduce the unthinkable toll of guns in our country.
VPC and its members continue to stand strong against these atrocities and social injustices, to confront those who continue to deny communities the right to live in peace and free from violence. We remain united in our advocacy efforts to call for better (commonsense) gun control legislation. We are here, and we will win…
We are working with Los Angeles City and County to honor the memory of victims of gun violence. We will also be working in the coming weeks and months to share successful gun violence prevention strategies with the rest of the nation. L.A. City and County are leaders in gun safety policies and practices. If you are angry, tired and heartbroken at the endless news stories of gun violence, please join us to take action. Sign up now to join the LA Gun Violence Prevention Network.