US gun lobby hails ‘hero’ who shot gunman in mall attack

The US gun lobby on Monday seized on the ‘heroic’ acts of a civilian who used a gun to shoot a young man who had opened fire in a mall, pushing his case amid a debate hard on gun control. .

On Sunday evening, Jonathan Sapriman, a 20-year-old white man whose motives remain unknown, opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle in an Indiana shopping center.

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He killed a 30-year-old man and a couple sitting in a restaurant, and injured two others, before being shot himself by Elisjsha Dicken, a 22-year-old customer who was carrying an unlicensed gun, as recently cleared under local laws.

“Many more people would have died last night if not for a responsible armed citizen who acted very quickly within the first two minutes of the shooting,” Greenwood Police Chief James Ison said at a press briefing. .

Emergency personnel gather after a shooting at Greenwood Park Mall in Greenwood, Indiana, U.S., July 17, 2022. (Reuters)

Ison said the shooter appeared to have prepared for his fatal assault by dropping his cellphone in the toilet and burning his computer in an oven before leaving. He also had a second assault rifle, a pistol and a large amount of ammunition, the police official said.

The powerful lobby group, the National Rifle Association (NRA), immediately seized on the tragedy to reaffirm its position that an armed public is good for public safety.

“We say it again: the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” the NRA said on Twitter.

Another group opposing any restrictions on gun ownership, the CCRKBA, echoed the NRA line.

“We bear arms to defend ourselves and others against criminals and madmen in a sudden emergency,” its leader, Alan Gottlieb, said in a statement.

“This brave young man is rightly hailed as a hero,” he said.

Kris Brown, chairman of the Brady campaign, which is pushing for tougher gun control laws, fired back on Twitter. “Let’s be clear: If more guns made us safer, America would be the safest country in the WORLD,” he said.

Along the same lines, Shannon Watts, founder of the organization Moms Demand Action, shared charts that put the United States ahead of developed countries in terms of guns per capita but also gun deaths.

Nearly 400 million guns were in circulation among the civilian population in the United States in 2017, or 120 guns for every 100 people, according to the Small Arms Survey project.

More than 24,000 people have been shot since the start of the year, including 13,000 by suicide, according to the Gun Violence Archives website.

Several of the recent gun rampages, including the shootings at a school in Texas and at a supermarket frequented by African Americans in Buffalo, caused particular shock across the country, prompting lawmakers to agree in June, for the first time in 30 years, to pass modest reform of gun laws.

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Edwin S. Wolfe