Law enforcement personnel have thwarted multiple potential mass shooting incidents in recent days, and they didn’t need new gun control laws to do it.
Tristan Scott Wix was arrested in Florida on Friday after his ex-girlfriend notified local authorities about some text messages he sent, allegedly saying things like “A school is a weak target.. id be more likely to open fire on a large crowd of people from over 3 miles away.. I’d wanna break a world record for longest confirmed kill ever” and “I’m not crazy I just wanna die and I wanna have fun doing it, but I’m the most patient person in the world.” Wix told authorities that he didn’t own any firearms, but Volusia County, Florida, Sheriff Michael Chitwood told CNN that officers found a rifle and 400 rounds of ammunition in his apartment. He was charged with making written threats to commit a shooting.
Brandon Wagshol was arrested in Connecticut after the FBI followed up on a tip. During their investigation, authorities found a social media post that “showed his interest in committing a mass shooting.” He was arrested on multiple counts of violating state magazine capacity restrictions.
20-year-old James Patrick Reardon was arrested in Ohio after he allegedly made threats against a local Jewish community center on social media. Reardon posted a video of a man shooting a rifle with sirens and screams in the background and tagged the center. “That kicked off an intense investigation, a very rapidly evolving investigation because of the way the world is,” Police Chief Vince D’Egidio told WYTV-TV.
The FBI also arrested a 15-year-old girl in California last week after she allegedly sent out a message on SnapChat with a picture of a gun and the words “don’t come to school tomorrow.” The Bureau was first alerted by a warning from the social media company.
It’s important to note that these four people were caught not because of any gun control law, but because people paid attention and law enforcement followed up on tips, investigated, and acted on that information. New gun control laws weren’t needed in these cases. Diligence and good old-fashioned police work were.
There’s no evidence that new gun control proposals would have stopped either the Dayton or the El Paso shootings, and a lot of American adults agree with that assessment. Background checks can’t stop people who haven’t done anything criminal, and many of the mass murder suspects in recent years have been first-timers. Red flag laws are rife with opportunities to violate people’s rights to self-defense, rights to their own property, and due process of law. Besides, police didn’t need any “red flag” orders to address these cases; making threats is already a criminal offense.
There is no magical “set it and forget it” option to ensure public safety. Stay alert. Pay attention. Speak up when there’s cause for concern, and always have a plan to protect yourself and your family.