A pair of mass shootings rocked the nation over the weekend, leaving more than 30 dead and dozens more injured in two cities across the country.
A suspect opened fire inside a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday morning, leaving 22 people dead and injuring dozens more in the Mexican border city. Just hours later across the country, another shooter opened fire at a bar in Dayton, Ohio. Nine people died, including the alleged shooter’s sister, and 27 were injured.
The El Paso shooting marked the deadliest of the year, and the Dayton shooting marked the 251st mass shooting this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Sunday was just the 216th day in the calendar year.
Kerr: Somebody could ‘start spraying us with an AR-15’
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, one of the most outspoken coaches in the NBA, spoke about the mass shootings on Monday at USA Basketball training camp in Las Vegas. Kerr, one of coach Gregg Popovich’s assistants for the upcoming FIBA World Cup, is a longtime advocate for gun control in the United States and is constantly using his platform to raise awareness on the issue.
Gun control, he said, is always in the front of his mind.
“Somebody could walk in the door in the gym right now and start spraying us with an AR-15,” Kerr said, via the Bay Area News Group. “They could. It might happen because we’re all vulnerable, whether we go to a concert, a church, the mall or go to the movie theater or a school.
“It’s up to us as Americans to demand change from the gutless leadership that continues to allow this to happen and continues to somehow claim the second amendment is doing its job. The Second Amendment is about the right to defend yourself. The only thing that Second Amendment is doing is leading to mass murder right now. This is all just insanity.”
Kerr’s Twitter feed has been full of posts and reposts calling for stricter gun control, criticizing Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) since the shootings.
But apparently not 'sickening' enough to actually do anything about it, huh Mitch? https://t.co/DbHSxgKUIi
— Steve Kerr (@SteveKerr) August 5, 2019
Though he’s clearly frustrated with the lack of action in Congress, Kerr does think change is just around the corner.
“It’s going to happen. The momentum is building,” Kerr said, via the Bay Area News Group. “People are more and more frustrated in our country. I think at this point, the vast majority of people in this country have had it. Now it’s a matter of taking action.”
Kerr did make it clear that he doesn’t have an issue with guns as a whole. It’s the assault-style weapons that he feels, like so many others in the United States, don’t belong in the hands of the public.
“A lot of my friends have had guns. They’ve had them in gun lockers. It was kept safely away. They weren’t carrying around AR-15’s,” Kerr said, via the Bay Area News Group. “They had hunting rifles. This is not what it’s about. This is not about someone’s ability to own a gun.
“It’s about someone’s ability to have a military style assault rifle with huge magazines. The cops got there in Dayton in one minute after the shooting started. In one minute, the shooter was killed from what I gather. But he killed nine people in one minute because of the gun and the weapon he had. We’re really going to say as Americans we should allow him to carry an AR-15? It’s ridiculous.”
Popovich: Lawmakers need to get 'off their asses' and do something
Kerr will be by Popovich’s side when USA Basketball heads to China for the FIBA World Cup later this month. Popovich, who is just as outspoken as Kerr, was asked Tuesday if he thought the team could be a welcome distraction for the country in the wake of the latest shootings.
While he didn’t discredit that idea, he had a much more blunt request of lawmakers instead.
“I think that, you know, the situation we’re all living in now, everybody looks for a little bit of distraction in some way, shape or form,” Popovich said, via Eric Woodyard of the Desert News.
“It’d be a lot better if people in power got off their asses and got something done.”
USA coach Gregg Popovich on recent mass killings in America: “It’d be a lot better if people in power got off their a**es and got something done.” pic.twitter.com/EBksh5GZTR
— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) August 6, 2019
Though he knows USA Basketball can’t realistically solve any problems in the United States with its performance in the FIBA World Cup — regardless of how they do in the tournament, which kicks off on August 31 and runs through September 15 — Popovich at least hopes they can be a model for the country to build off of.
“We can’t fix the divisiveness in our country,” Popovich said Monday, via the Washington Post. “But what we can do is be a great example of how people can come together for a common goal and achieve it.
“It’s our responsibility to not only become the best team we can be, but it’s the way we conduct ourselves with USA on our shirts. We’re representing a lot of people.”
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