Before the blood from Wednesday morning’s tragic shooting at a GOP Congressional Baseball Game practice had dried in Alexandria, the gun control narrative began to circulate. The facts of the matter and the accounts from those in the firefight, however, tell a far different story.
Here’s what we know from reports:
Shooter James T. Hodgkinson waited nearby while the congressmen finished their practice. As Reps. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., and Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., were leaving, Hodgkinson asked them whether the team on the field was composed of Republicans or Democrats.
He proceeded to open fire, hitting five people: Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., one Hill staffer, a D.C. lobbyist, and the two capitol police officers who fired back and eventually took the shooter down.
And while members of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, have come together in the wake of the attack, voices off the Capitol Hill are already using the incident to push the eternally recurring gun control issue.
However, that narrative must be addressed for the sake of correcting a politicized, opportunistic attempt, especially when partisan politics should be taking a somber and respectful knee.
As reported earlier, gun-control related hot takes and anti-GOP schadenfreude began to promulgate on social media just moments after the shooting.
And then there’s this:
Republicans are getting what they want. https://t.co/8ZUnso6JCV
— Markos Moulitsas (@markos) June 14, 2017
Here’s the reality:
First off, at the time of this writing, we still don’t know where the gun in question came from. And we do know that the attacker was a registered gun owner in Illinois, where he previously lived and where gun control laws are far more stringent than those in Virginia.
Furthermore, what stopped the situation from becoming an all-out “massacre” was the presence of armed officers there to return fire, force him into a defensive position and eventually take him down. Such was the account that Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., gave after the incident.
Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., one of the heroes of this morning’s events, commented on the bravery of the two officers, despite being “outgunned” by the assailant.
It took roughly 10 minutes and several dozens of rounds to eventually neutralize the shooter, but the breakdown of the situation shows that return fire is often absolutely imperative.
Washington, D.C., where many politicians live, and where all of them work, started cracking down on gun ownership in the ‘70s. And even after its landmark Supreme Court loss in D.C. v. Heller, the district still has notoriously low numbers of issued concealed carry permits.
Whereas members of Congress and their staff were allowed to carry a means of self-defense for the first two centuries of our nation’s capital, and even onto the floors of Congress for a time (with no major calamities), a large group of our duly elected lawmakers very well might not have been here if not for the presence of other people with guns.
These were Republicans who were attacked. Many of them undoubtedly own guns themselves, and belong to a party known for its pro-Second Amendment platform.
Had they themselves been free to exercise that right where they live and work most of the year, it’s not hard to imagine how differently the park shooting might have gone — if it would have even happened at all. As research shows, 98 percent of shootings like this happen in places where other guns aren’t expected to be found.
Do with that information what you will.
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