In response to a recent Federal Bureau of Investigations report documenting active shootings, Connecticut lawmakers are looking to renew efforts to curb gun violence.
After President Barack Obama signed the Investigative Assistance for Violent Crimes Act of 2012 into law, the FBI began a study in an attempt to make sense of the recent rise in active shootings, defined as shootings conducted in populated areas. Released on Sept. 24, the FBI study cites 160 shooter incidents in the US between 2000 and 2013, finding an average of 11.4 incidents each year, increasing over the 13-year span. Following this report, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) LAW ’73, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) held a press conference in Hartford this week to reinvigorate gun control efforts nationwide.
“This study shows a chilling and appalling rise in incidents of mass shooting,” Blumenthal said of the FBI report. “I hope that this report will give renewed momentum to common sense, sensible measures like background checks, mental health initiatives and bans on illegal trafficking.”
Special Agent Katherine Schweit, a co-author of the study and Senior Executive Program Manager leading the FBI’s active shooters initiative, said in an email to the News that she hopes the study will help law enforcement officials and the public better understand active shootings.
486 people were killed, and 557 were wounded in the 160 shootings cited in the report. 60 percent of these shootings ended before police arrived, and 40 percent of them would be defined as mass killings by federal definitions.
In the report, the authors stressed that while the report does not cover every type of shooting, it does provide specific data on a certain type of shooting that law enforcement and the public face. The point of this study was not to be all encompassing, but to serve as a jumping-off point for officials to work from when considering how to better understand active shooter incidents, according to the authors.
“We get from this study a baseline of incidents that we can compare and contrast,” Schweit said.
Blumenthal also acknowledged that this study and the recent press conference in Hartford were a starting point for combatting gun violence. While the press conference focused on asking storeowners to ban firearms from their shops, Blumenthal said this encouragement of voluntary action will not be enough. He stressed that “a comprehensive program is necessary [but these moves] can help send a message and change the culture.”
At the press conference, Blumenthal and Murphy encouraged Kroger Corporation — the nation’s largest supermarket retailer — and all other store owners to urge shoppers to not bring guns into public stores.
“Nearly half of all the shootings occur at stores, malls, offices and that’s a profoundly important fact,” Blumenthal said, explaining the drive to direct attention to storeowners.
Blumenthal went on to stress that these measures would simply be common sense.
“Kroger bans customers from bringing food into the stores,” said Blumenthal. He noted that someone who was carrying an ice cream cone into a Kroger store would be stopped, while someone carrying a gun would be free to enter.
Following up on of this study, Schweit said behavioral experts at the FBI plan to use the data on the 160 shootings to do further research on the motivations behind active shootings.
Only six of the 160 shooters listed in the report were female.