Vice President Kamala Harris used last Saturday’s racially motivated shooting at a Dollar General in Jacksonville, Florida to once again urge Congress to pass a so-called “assault weapons” ban.
The FBI and local law enforcement confirmed that the shooter, 21-year-old Ryan Christopher Palmeter, was motivated by race. According to Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters, Palmeter had written multiple manifestos in which he detailed his hatred of black people.
Palmeter was first seen putting on a tactical vest and mask near the historically black college Edward Waters University before making his way to a nearby Dollar General store. The gunman, who was armed with both a Glock handgun and an AR-style semi-automatic rifle, had marked his weapons with a swastika, according to NBC News.
In a statement on Sunday, Harris noted that the shooting occurred on the 60th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington and was being treated as a possible hate crime and “an act of violent domestic extremism.”
While conceding that the investigation was still ongoing, Harris claimed that the country is “experiencing an epidemic of hate” and communities live in fear of “hate-fueled gun violence.”
Declaring that every American “should have the freedom to live safe from gun violence,” the vice president demanded that Congress ban assault weapons and pass other “gun safety” measures.
But according to Breitbart writer AWR Hawkins, even if AR-style semi-automatic rifles were banned, Palmeter would have still had the Glock handgun to carry out his attack.
Hawkins also notes that Florida has a red-flag law that was enacted following the 2017 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Sheriff Waters said that while Palmeter had run-ins with the police in the past, there was no history of criminal arrests so the police could have done nothing to stop him from purchasing a handgun or rifle since there were no red flags.