After two adults and one student died in a Monday shooting at an elementary school in San Bernardino, Calif., former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords weighed in, calling for stricter gun legislation, saying, “We can no longer call events like this ‘unimaginable,’ because they happen with alarming frequency.”
“Elementary school classrooms should be safe places, full of kindness — never horror,” Giffords said.
The former Arizona lawmaker became a national spokeswoman for gun control legislation after she survived a 2011 assassination attempt that left six people dead and Giffords critically injured. She founded the group Americans for Responsible Solutions with her husband, Mark Kelly.
“My heart is breaking for San Bernardino, which like so many communities around the country has mourned far too many innocent lives because a violent person was able to get their hands on a gun,” her statement continued. “We can no longer call events like this ‘unimaginable,’ because they happen with alarming frequency. It’s time that all Americans have the courage to truly fight this crisis by standing up and demanding the smart gun laws we know save lives.”
The three victims were killed at North Park Elementary School, where the suspect, 53-year-old Cedric Anderson, arrived at the school and opened fire, killing his wife, Karen Elaine Smith, also 53, a teacher, in what police called an apparent murder-suicide. Two students were wounded, one of whom Jonathan Martinez, 8, later succumbed to his injuries, authorities said.
During the previous administration, advocates like Giffords and then-President Barack Obama frequently addressed mass shootings by calling for legislation to curb some people’s ability to buy guns. Such instances included the 2015 shooting in San Bernardino, inspired by the so-called Islamic State, that left 14 people dead.
Giffords’ statement at the time was similar to her comments reacting to this week’s shooting.
“Once again, we wish we could use words like ‘unimaginable’ and ‘unthinkable’ to describe this irresponsible inaction — especially as it comes in the wake of yet another horrific mass shooting in our country,” she said along with Kelly. “But we cannot.”
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