On March 13, 1996, 43-year-old Thomas Hamilton shot an entire class at the Dunblane Primary School’s gymnasium in Scotland, killing 16 children and their teacher. There was public outrage that a person who was a former Scout leader and had pedophile tendencies was allowed to own an arsenal of weapons. Almost 750,000 people signed a petition calling for the total ban on the private ownership and use of handguns. A year and a half later, UK lawmakers passed a law that banned the private ownership of handguns in mainland Britain. Gun homicides in Scotland killed less than five people in 2014.
On April 28, 1996, Martin Bryant opened fire on tourists in Port Arthur, Tasmania, with a semi-automatic weapon. He killed 23 people, and less than two weeks later, Australia’s government enacted gun-control measures. There was a massive buyback of 600,000 semi-automatic weapons, the prohibition of private weapon sales, individual registration of firearms to owners and a genuine reason to purchase a gun. Homicides decreased 59 percent between 1995 and 2006.
In July 2011, Anders Behring Breivik, a far-right extremist, launched two terror attacks where he killed 77 people in Norway. One of the attacks was a bomb, and the other was a shooting spree that killed 69 people. The country’s already–strict gun laws became even tighter, with individuals needing police approval and reasonable reason for owning a gun. Norway has not had a mass shooting since.
On Nov. 5, 2017, Devin Patrick Kelley, a white man (i.e., a gunman, not a terrorist), entered a church wearing a ballistic vest and carrying a military-style rifle, killing at least 26 people, or 4 percent of the small town’s population. In 2012, Kelley was charged with assaulting his wife and child, yet he had access to semi-automatic weapons. Public outrage by the people of the U.S. has enticed Republicans to send their thoughts and prayers out once again.
Sunday’s massacre is the 307th mass shooting in the United States this year. The U.S. has an average of about seven mass shootings a week and one deadly mass shooting a month, but gun reform isn’t an issue.
The lives lost on Nov. 5 add to the 13,181 deaths due to gun violence as a whole in the U.S. this year alone, but it is still too soon to politicize their death.
P.S. There is one similarity between all of these shootings, however: the involvement of a white gunman.