Newtown, Conn. — Earlier this week, five people were killed and nine were injured during a mass shooting at a bank in downtown Louisville. As the investigation continues, key warning signs have emerged that preceded the attack. The shooter, previously employed at Old National Bank, was informed that he would be fired from his position. He legally purchased an AR-15 rifle on April 4, a week prior to the attack. He also left a note indicating his intention to attack the bank and live streamed the attack on social media.
“In the aftermath of yet another horrific mass shooting, we again learn too late about warning signs going unheeded – in this case, an overt threat,” said Nicole Hockley, co-founder and CEO of Sandy Hook Promise and mother of Dylan, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “Every person must learn what the warning signs are, take them seriously, and act immediately to get help. Every community must have systems in place to intervene when someone makes a threat.”
Taken individually, warning signs may not directly correlate to a mass shooting, but those exhibited by the Old National Bank shooter point to someone who was clearly at risk of using a firearm to harm others. Warning signs offer an opportunity to interrupt violence and must be taken seriously and acted upon.
“Another shooter chose an semi-automatic rifle to murder as many innocent people as possible,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and CEO of the Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund, and father of Daniel, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “This tragedy in Louisville demands that we close the gaps in protections by implementing and strengthening public policy to stop gun violence.”
Proven, evidence-based policies that help prevent mass shootings include:
Extreme Risk Protection Orders
Many states offer families the option of temporarily transferring firearms from persons who may be in crisis. Policies like this (aka “red flag,” ERPOs, or Crisis Aversion and Rights Retention laws) help prevent gun violence and suicide while protecting an individual’s 2nd Amendment rights. It is critical that states that have these in place invest in the implementation of these laws, including education for communities about when and how to use these vital, life-safety tools.
Expanded Background Checks
Closing loopholes in our background checks system would help prevent the sale of firearms to individuals who are prohibited from possessing them. This includes those currently sold “stranger-to-stranger” both online and in person.
Semi-Automatic Rifles and High-Capacity Magazine Limits
Because there are currently no federal restrictions on the sale of military-style rifles nor on the number of rounds they can fire, civilians have been able to purchase these guns to carry out our nation’s deadliest mass shootings. The Sandy Hook shooter fired 154 bullets, killing 20 first-graders and six educators in less than five minutes.
“Gun violence is not inevitable. It is preventable,” said Barden. “Know the signs. Say something. And demand elected officials take action now to advance and implement policies that make our schools, homes, and communities safer.”
The Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund (SHPAF) is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization committed to protecting all children from gun violence in schools, homes, and communities. The SHP Action Fund advances a holistic policy platform that promotes gun safety, youth mental health, and violence prevention education. The organization works at the state and federal level to pass nonpartisan legislation through inclusive partnerships, diverse grassroots education, and community mobilization. It is part of Sandy Hook Promise, founded and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.
Aimee Thunberg | [email protected] | 646-761-5579