February 26, 2016 News · Press Releases

Statement on Mass Shootings in WA and KS

Executive Director Renee Hopkins released the following statement on recent tragic shootings in Washington and Kansas:

It’s been a difficult 24 hours. Seven innocent lives have been taken by gun violence in separate incidents in Kansas and Washington.

Yesterday evening a gunman drove through two towns in Kansas firing out of his car window.  He drove to the manufacturing plant where he worked, and he kept shooting.  By the time he was killed in a shootout with police he had taken three lives, and wounded at least fourteen, ten critically.

This afternoon, a State Patrol SWAT surrounded a home in Belfair, Washington. The owner killed himself after shooting his wife and two of his children. Five people including the shooter were killed and at least one more child was injured.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, families, and communities of Hesston and Newton, Kansas and Belfair, Washington. Over the last 24 hours, we’ve added seven more names to the long list of ordinary people whose lives were cut tragically short by gun violence. Now, we try to make sense of a senseless tragedy.

There is so much that we don’t yet know about the circumstances surrounding these shootings, but we do know one thing absolutely: people with a history of violence, people who threaten and abuse their partners and children, people experiencing a dangerous mental health crisis should not have easy access to firearms. Our legislators all over the country must act to give law enforcement the resources and tools to keep guns out of dangerous hands.

In the face of so many tragedies it is easy to become discouraged, but my time working with survivors, with law enforcement and public health experts has made one thing very clear:  gun violence is preventable.