Gun Violence
February 6, 2019

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) asked that the fathers of two Parkland shooting victims be removed from a House Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence, after they protested his remarks about guns and undocumented immigrants.

During the hearing Wednesday, Gaetz, who received $2,500 from the National Rifle Association during the 2018 election cycle, said that he hopes "we do not forget the pain, and anguish, and sense of loss felt by those all over the country who have been the victims of violence at the hands of illegal aliens," and he argued that building a wall along the southern border would be more effective than enacting background checks.

Sitting in the audience were Manuel Oliver and Fred Guttenberg, who immediately protested Gaetz's remarks. Oliver's son, Joaquin, was killed in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last February, as was Guttenberg's daughter, Jaime. "Manny stood up and said, 'That's a lie, that's not true,'" Guttenberg told HuffPost. "I yelled out that our children were killed by an American male. Mr. Gaetz didn't care for our truth and made an inquiry to see if we could be kicked out."

Oliver and Guttenberg were both given a warning against interrupting the hearing. Guttenberg said he found Gaetz's behavior "disgusting, despicable, and vile. But I'm actually thrilled Mr. Gaetz acted like Mr. Gaetz. I think it was wonderful for the American people to see who he is as a person." Catherine Garcia

December 14, 2018

Gun deaths in the U.S. reached their highest point in nearly 40 years in 2017, according to a CNN analysis of a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC's data showed that nearly 40,000 people died by gun last year, CNN reports, which is up from 28,874 in 1999. CNN's analysis also found that more than 23,000 people died from suicide by guns, which is the highest rate in 18 years.

The report found that white men led the gender and racial demographics for gun deaths by suicide, and black men led in homicide deaths.

Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D), who was nearly killed in 2011 due to a gun wound, released a statement reacting to the CDC's report.

"This data from the CDC reminds us how many lives our gun violence crisis alters every year – and why so many Americans are rising up to demand action," Giffords said. "It's unacceptable that the number of deaths from shootings keeps escalating while Washington, D.C. refuses to even debate policies we know would help save lives." Marianne Dodson

June 12, 2018

Protesters staged a "die-in" in Washington on Tuesday to commemorate the second anniversary of the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The demonstration was a call for legislation to prevent gun violence, The Hill reports.

The demonstration was led by an activist group that stages "die-ins" to call attention to deadly violence and protest the "lethal legislative inaction" that allows it to continue. Protesters at the die-in on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., laid on the ground for 12 minutes, or 720 seconds, to represent the number of victims who have died in mass shootings in the last two years, since a gunman killed 49 people at Pulse on June 12, 2016. Other demonstrators staged die-ins around the country, including outside President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

"I'm here for Pulse, I'm here for Stoneman Douglas, I'm here for every single mass shooting since, and every single mass shooting that is going to continue until we do something," said Matt Deitsch, a survivor of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Deitsch and other activists, including other Parkland survivors who co-founded the March For Our Lives movement, have begun using die-ins to advocate for gun control and legislation like universal background checks. "If [lawmakers] can sell themselves out with constituents dying, that's pretty sad and they're cowards," said Nurah Abdulhaqq, a founder of the National Die-In movement. Read more at The Hill. Summer Meza

May 30, 2018

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders might have hoped a student journalist who attended Wednesday's White House press briefing would go easy on her — instead, he delivered the toughest question of the day.

"One thing that affects my and other students' mental health is the worry about the fact that we or our friends could get shot at school," began the student. "Specifically, can you tell me what the administration has done and will do to prevent these senseless tragedies?"

The question stood in stark contrast to what Sanders brought up, the "Bring Your Kids to Work Day" press briefing where she was asked about President Trump's favorite candy. Sanders, who has three children, choked up while answering the young reporter.

"I think that as a kid, and certainly as a parent, there is nothing that could be more terrifying for a kid to go to school and not feel safe, so I'm sorry that you feel that way," said Sanders. "This administration takes it seriously, and the school safety commission that the president convened is meeting this week to discuss the best ways forward and how we can do every single thing within our power to protect kids in our schools." Watch the exchange below, via CNN. Summer Meza

May 18, 2018

Just one day before a shooter entered Santa Fe High School in Texas and killed 10, a survivor of another recent school shooting made a statement that now sounds like a foreboding premonition.

David Hogg, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student who survived the deadly shooting there in February, spoke at the Education Writers Association's national seminar Thursday.

"We shouldn't be living in an America where we learn to accept these things and they continue to happen," said Hogg of gun violence in schools. "It's terrifying to me because right now, what keeps me up at night is thinking that there's somebody alive right now that will not be alive at this time tomorrow."

Since the February shooting at his school in Parkland, Florida, Hogg has entered the national spotlight to advocate for stronger gun laws to prevent future violence. He appeared on the panel alongside other activists: Emma González, a fellow Parkland student; Alex King, who lost a nephew to gun violence; and Jackson Mittleman, who survived the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

In Hogg's hypothetical prediction, he said that the person killed within the next day likely had "never even thought about gun violence. But everybody around them will have to for the rest of their lives." Watch the full seminar at Education Week. Summer Meza

May 18, 2018

A man was arrested in Miami after he entered the Trump National Doral Miami resort on Friday and began shooting at police officers, the Miami Herald reported.

The suspect, Jonathan Oddi, reportedly entered the resort lobby in the early hours of Friday morning and took a U.S. flag down before shooting at the ceiling and chandelier with a handgun. He was yelling "anti-President Trump rhetoric," police said, and fired at police when they entered the lobby. None of the five officers were shot, but Oddi suffered multiple gunshot wounds to his legs as police "neutralized" him.

Oddi is in custody, and police have not yet identified a motive. Officials say he seemed to lure officers toward him, setting off a fire alarm to alert law enforcement. Read more at the Miami Herald. Summer Meza

April 20, 2018

Thousands of students are expected to walk out of their classrooms in protest of gun violence Friday, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre that left 13 people dead in 1999. It is the second major national school walkout in response to gun violence since a shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school earlier this year.

Walkouts are planned at 2,000 schools around the nation, with at least one in every U.S. state, The New York Times reports. The demonstrations also include 13 seconds of silence, for each of the Columbine victims, or 19 minutes, for the years passed since the shooting:

Walkouts will continue across the country Friday beginning at 10 a.m. local time. Jeva Lange

March 11, 2018

The White House on Sunday unveiled policy proposals it says will make schools safer, in response to the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school last month that left 17 people dead.

The Trump administration is backing a bipartisan bill designed to improve effectiveness of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and also the STOP School Violence Act, which would authorize grants to launch violence prevention training for teachers and students. Officials said the administration will also work on "rigorous" firearms training for "specially qualified" school personnel, audit the FBI tip line, and better integrate mental health programs.

Trump is also establishing a Federal Commission on School Safety to be chaired by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos; it will be tasked with coming up with solutions to end gun violence in schools. "We are committed to working quickly because there's no time to waste," DeVos said Sunday evening. The White House did not mention raising the age of purchasing a rifle like the AR-15 used in Parkland from 18 to 21, something Trump was open to after the shooting. Catherine Garcia

See More Speed Reads