Another mass shooting occurred on Wednesday in California when a gunman opened fire at an office building in Orange, California, killing four people, including a child. A fifth person was taken to the hospital and is in critical condition after sustaining injuries.
Police responded to a shots fired call around 5:30 p.m. and detained the suspect who is in critical condition. Authorities have not yet released a motive as to what led to the shootings, or information regarding the victims and the suspect, CNN reports.
California Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted the shooting was “horrifying and heartbreaking,” and expressed his condolences to families of the victims.
Several back-to-back shootings in the month of March point to a familiar problem in the United States, with the loosening of gun restrictions in state legislatures as the country surges forward to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wednesday’s bloodshed means there have been at least 20 mass shootings since the Atlanta spa shooting that left eight people dead, six of whom were Asian American women. Less than a week later in Boulder, Colorado, an armed gunman opened fire in a local grocery store, killing 10 people. On March 26 in Virginia Beach, two people died and eight were injured during three separate incidents.
The Atlanta shooting marked the first large-scale shooting in a public place in a year, according to the Violence Project. A mass shooting is categorized as an incident where four or more people are shot in one location or in close proximity.
California, along with Washington, D.C. has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. The state requires a 10-day waiting period and requires you to pass a safety certification. At 18 you are eligible to buy a rifle or shotgun, but you must be 21 to buy a handgun and purchases can only be made through a licensed dealer.
In Colorado, the shooter purchased a Ruger AR-556 pistol six days before the attack. Because of the state mandate, the Ruger is categorized as a pistol, even though it operates similarly to an AR-15, a semiautomatic rifle.
Advocates are pushing for the implementation of longer waiting periods in order to curb violence. A Giffords Center study shows gun homicides decrease by 17 percent, and firearm suicides by up to 11 percent, when longer waiting periods are implemented.
Currently, Georgia allows for the purchase of a firearm without a waiting period, which means after the completion of a background check, which could take minutes to approve, anyone who passes is now a gun owner. Only 10 states including and the District of Columbia, mandate a waiting period.
However, the urge for reform is rarely shared by those in power. 13 days after the shooting in Atlanta, the Georgia legislature passed a measure further loosening restrictions.
The law would allow anyone with a concealed weapon permit from outside states to carry their gun in Georgia. It also prohibits government officials from stopping the sale or manufacture guns during an emergency and ensures that lawmakers can’t limit the operating hours of gun stores, gun makers or shooting ranges unless all surrounding businesses are given the same restrictions.
Lastly the bill would prevent the creation of a database that provides information about individuals who apply for a weapon and requires agencies who auction confiscated firearms to hold sales at least once a year. If they decline, anyone who wants to purchase a gun can sue.
The measure awaits a House vote prior to it becoming law.
In Washington, two measures proposed targeting background checks and extending the waiting period face an uphill battle as the bill has must pass the 60 vote threshold in the Senate.
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