Last week, a Michigan prosecutor announced charges of involuntary manslaughter against the parents of the perpetrator of the mass shooting at Oxford High School that left four students dead and seven others wounded. Reports indicate that the semi automatic handgun used in the shooting was purchased by the shooter’s father on Black Friday.
Gun lobby groups like the NRA have said little about this tragedy and in the past have opposed secure storage laws. At the very least, they should answer:
- Do these groups still oppose secure storage laws, which promote storage practices that could have prevented the perpetrator from getting access to the firearm? For decades, the gun lobby has opposed requirements to securely store firearms by falsely claiming they would not prevent deaths. However, up to 80 percent of shooters under 18 get the gun from their home or homes of friends or relatives, including in Tuesday’s shooting in Oxford. Does the gun lobby still oppose these common-sense laws?
- Will they publicly support the decision to charge the parents of the perpetrator, who allegedly enabled easy access to the firearm? The gun lobby has often fought to avoid accountability for anyone besides shooters, including by fighting for immunity for gun dealers and manufacturers for their contributions from lawsuits . With evidence that the shooter in Oxford accessed a readily available firearm in his home that he used to commit these murders and that the parents allegedly knew of the danger, does the gun lobby support the filing of these charges?
- Will the gun lobby cease its decades-long campaign of glorifying firearm usage among children? The gun lobby has historically glorified firearm usage among children, at times arguing that children as young as 10 should have access to assault rifles, and opposing minimum age requirements to purchase firearms. Just days after the shooting, the NRA tweeted an image of Santa Claus putting ammunition on his list of gifts. Will the gun lobby stop this campaign to put more guns in the hands of children?
Secure storage practices play a vital role in reducing the risk of gun violence, including gun violence at schools. In incidents of gunfire on school grounds, up to 80 percent of shooters under the age of 18 got the gun they used from their home or the homes of friends or relatives. An estimated 54 percent of gun owners don’t lock all of their guns securely and it’s estimated that 5.4 million children live in a home with at least one unlocked and loaded gun, an increase of 800,000 children since 2015. Gun owners can make their homes and communities safer by storing their guns securely — unloaded, locked, and separate from ammunition.