Right-wing media are already beginning to politicize the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard earlier today to push for weaker gun laws. But their suggestion that the shooting could have been stopped if more people had been armed ignores that the victims include police officers and that an armed citizen has not stopped a mass shooting in 30 years.
As many as three gunmen reportedly opened fire at the headquarters of the Naval Sea Systems Command at the Washington Navy Yard this morning, killing four people and wounding eight more. Reports currently indicate that at least one shooter is dead but that the situation may not be completely resolved.
This morning, as reports of the number of gunmen and whether there were shooters still at large circulated, conservative media figures are suggesting that easier availability of guns would have prevented the rampage.
On Fox News, Martha MacCallum highlighted that “on a military base, you're not allowed to carry weapons” and that “someone working or familiar with the area probably would know that,” suggesting that the Navy Yard had been targeted by the shooter or shooters due to the perceived lack of guns. MacCallum's guest, security expert Don Borelli, responded by discounting her statement, noting the high level of security at the base.
On Twitter, Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich highlighted that the Washington Navy Yard is a “gun free zone” and that Washington, DC, has strong gun laws, suggesting that easier availability of guns could have prevented the tragedy:
CNN Crossfire host S.E. Cupp also questioned whether the Navy Yard is a “gun free zone”:
Contrary to the suggestion that the shooting could have been stopped if only people on the scene had been armed, the victims reportedly include police officers who were presumably armed. Moreover, according to a Mother Jones analysis, no armed civilian has stopped a mass shooting in the last 30 years.
As part of their effort to weaken gun laws, conservatives often suggest that mass shootings occur predominantly in places where guns are banned. But research shows that no more than 23 percent of mass shootings between January 2009 and January 2013 occurred in gun free zones.