It didn't take long for anti-gun politicians and talking heads to begin weaponizing the tragedy in Jacksonville, Florida, for their own political advantage.
One pundit—former Smith and Wesson executive turned Giffords Senior Policy Advisor Ryan Busse— took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to use the deaths of Americans to push his gun control agenda:
This is the rifle used in the racist mass murder in Jacksonville. It’s from Palmetto State Armory, the same company that proudly markets directly to extremists and domestic terror orgs like the boogaloo boys. pic.twitter.com/QLSvNhdHia— Ryan Busse (@ryandbusse) August 27, 2023
He must not have agreed with the wise words of the local sheriff who, in a press conference regarding the Jacksonville shooting, said:
"The story [in the media] is always about guns. [But] people are bad — this guy's a bad guy. If I could take my gun off right now, and I lay it on this counter, nothing will happen.
It'll sit there — but as soon as wicked person grabs ahold of that handgun and starts shooting people with it — there's the problem. The problem is the individual."
Sheriff Waters' nugget of wisdom reveals precisely what is wrong with Ryan Busse's push for gun control.
We’re thankful for the leadership of Sheriff Waters in Florida this weekend.⁰⁰And he’s absolutely right, the problem is the individual. Wicked people will always do wicked things.— Gun Owners of America (@GunOwners) August 28, 2023
Until anti-gun advocates look past their desire to blame guns, they'll never be able to address the real problems.
Ryan Busse wants to blame a gun company—Palmetto State Armory—for manufacturing the firearm used in the shooting.
But Sheriff Waters understands that the Jacksonville killer was an evil man with evil intentions.
And as it turns out, the Jacksonville killer is just copying other racist mass murderers from Buffalo, New York, and Christchurch, NZ, who also scribbled on their rifles with a white marker.
This isn't about Palmetto State Armory—other mass murderers have used different tools, including trucks, knives, and bombs. And this isn't about America—the same thing happened in Christchurch, New Zealand.
In fact, in the Christchurch shooter's manifesto, he specifically outlines his desire to push gun control through his own actions, causing societal friction. In his mind, gun control could cause a second civil war in the US. Even the markings on his firearm were designed to incite the corporate media into enflaming the debate further than his awful actions could go on their own.
These tragedies are textbook cases of killers mimicking each other's techniques. The Buffalo, NY killer wrote: "The media loves to hate on the AR-15, which may increase coverage and public outcry." It sounds exactly like what the Christchurch shooter described in his manifesto.
As a country, we must stop sensationalizing mass murderers and their actions for the purposes of advancing a gun control agenda and look at the root causes of this violence, such as:
1. The severe mental illness driving these racist, violent actions.
2. The "media contagion effect," which rewards mass killers for their violent actions.
Americans should demand accountability from the media for the role they play in encouraging future acts of violence.
That's why GOA is a staunch proponent of legislation in Congress condemning the media for using mass murderers for viral content.
Resolutions introduced by Representative Andy Ogles and Senator Mike Lee called on the media to voluntarily adopt standards to minimize the "media contagion effect" and deny mass killers the publicity and infamy they desire.
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