CHICAGO – Yet another concealed weapons permit holder and “legal” gun owner, George Sodini, with no prior criminal record, committed mass murder. On the evening of Aug. 4, Sodini attacked an aerobics class at the LA Fitness gym outside Pittsburgh where he used three handguns, two of which used high-capacity ammunition magazines that could hold up to 30 rounds, to gun down three women and wound nine others before killing himself.
The shootingtragedy is yet another indisputable example that, despite gun lobby rhetoric, “law-abiding” gun owners and carrying concealed permit holders do commit crimes, including homicides and rampage shootings. Prior to this attack, in 2009 alone, there have been three confirmed mass shootings committed by concealed carry permit holders. In April, Richard Poplawski ambushed four Pittsburgh police officers, fatally shooting three and injuring one. In March, CCW holder Michael McLendon killed 11 people, including the wife of a deputy sheriff, before taking his own life following a gun battle with police in Alabama. In February, CCW holder Frank Garcia killed four people in a shooting rampage in upstate New York.
“Our thoughts are with the families of the murdered victims as well as those wounded from this tragedy,” said Sally Slovenski, Executive Director of Freedom States Alliance. “It is time that our lawmakers understand that our weak gun laws have consequences and that people die as a result of our failure to better regulate firearms and the gun industry. When we allow easy access to guns, cower to the well-funded interests of the gun lobby, and refuse to speak out forcefully against extremist measures to proliferate more weapons into our communities, these unspeakable tragedies become all too common.”
The horrific shooting in Collier should give pause to lawmakers, and especially the U.S. Senate, who continue to support the gun lobby’s dangerous attempts to expand the carrying of hidden and loaded guns nationally and into yet more sensitive areas such as college campuses, private parking lots, and government buildings. On July 22, the U.S. Senate blocked Sen. Thune’s Amendment 1618 to the Defense Appropriation Bill (S. 1390), which would have permitted national concealed carry, therefore allowing untrained and dangerous individuals from other states to carry hidden and loaded handguns in public.
“Despite horrific shootings like the one at LA Fitness, incredulously, the gun lobby will be be back and will continue to push their extremist agenda by reintroducing national concealed carry perhaps as early as this fall. Policymakers need to start repealing concealed weapons laws in states, not expanding this deadly and irresponsible policy,” said Scott Vogel, Communications Director at Freedom States Alliance.