For Release: Friday, March 23, 2001
WASHINGTON The most recent school shooting-this time at Granite Hills High School in El Cajon, CA-is the latest bloody testament to our nation’s gun violence crisis the Violence Policy Center (VPC) stated today. The El Cajon shooting follows by less than three weeks the shooting at Santana High School in Santee, CA. The VPC is a national organization working to stop gun death and injury in America.
Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center and author of the new book Every Handgun is Aimed at You: The Case for Banning Handguns (The New Press, March 2001) states, “America’s children are paying the price for our national denial. After these shootings a predictable pattern emerges, every conceivable cause is trotted out except for the one obvious one: the freeflow of guns in our nation. According to a recent U.S. Secret Service report, nearly two thirds of guns used in school shootings come from home. Parents have a responsibility to keep homes gun free. But Congress also has a larger responsibility to regulate America’s unregulated gun industry and restrict access to the most hazardous categories of firearms: handguns and assault weapons. Until such changes occur, these tragic shootings are America’s future.”
Following the shooting, Attorney General John Ashcroft dismissed the need for more gun controls and called for an “era of responsibility” as the solution to gun violence, noting approvingly that an armed school resource officer had shot the alleged student attacker. Adds Sugarmann, “The Attorney General seems willing to accept shootouts between students and adults on school campuses as a legitimate response to this one aspect of our nation’s gun crisis-transforming our schools into veritable OK Corrals. This places all of America’s children at risk. The answer isn’t more armed guards at schools, but fewer armed students. Ultimately, responsibility lies with lawmakers who place political fealty to so-called gun rights over the lives of our children.”