Gun policy reform has resurfaced in the public consciousness after a school shooting took place in Parkland, Florida on February 14th. In the wake of this tragedy, some have pointed at lax gun laws as the cause, while others have blamed the shooter’s mental health or his classmates’ failure to report him. But one Republican representative is claiming that Democrats are at fault.
Representative Claudia Tenney of New York made the comment in an interview on the local radio station WGDJ. She had been discussing the Parkland shooting with host Fred Dicker, who said that the majority of shootings take place in “what’s euphemistically called the inner cities involving minorities.”
Tenney is an avid gun rights supporter, and in the interview, she stated that she is afraid legal gun owners will be punished because of the shooting. She claimed that legal gun owners commit fewer violent crimes than any other demographic. Dicker responded that they “tend to vote Republican” and “tend to be white.”
Several politicians, including one of Tenney’s fellow representatives, Gerry Connolly, called for her to apologize.
But Tenney didn’t apologize, and in a statement on February 21st, she wrote that she was tired of Democrats “demonizing” gun owners.
To be clear, there is no evidence that most mass shooters are Democrats — or Republicans, for that matter.
It’s unknown if any list of mass shooter party affiliations exists. However, the Southern Poverty Law Center has counted 100 people killed since 2014 by members of the alt-right or those influenced by the movement. The list includes Dylann Roof, who opened fire on a predominantly black church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015. Elliot Rodger, who killed six women at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2014, is also on the list.
Mass shootings are horrific no matter what political party the shooter belongs to. And the fact that Tenney would use these tragedies to demonize her opponents is appalling. We need to stop pointing fingers and start fighting to end gun violence.