Gun control advocates reacted to a school shooting in Santa Clarita, California by slamming the National Rifle Association and Republicans.
A California high school student opened fire at Saugus High School on Thursday, killing a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy and wounding three other teens before shooting himself in the head, officials said.
The suspect survived but was in grave condition, officials said.
Several liberal pundits and media figures responded to the tragedy by calling for stricter restrictions on gun ownership and slamming pro-Second Amendment advocacy groups.
Cenk Uygur, the progressive CEO of The Young Turks news network, denounced Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the NRA.
“There is a shooting in a Santa Clarita high school with at least five injured, two critically. You know why? Guns. NRA. Mitch McConnell. That son of a bitch has taken $1.2 million in bribes from the NRA to make sure we have no gun control at all. And it’s our kids who get shot,” Uygur tweeted.
Holly Figueroa O’Reilly, a Democratic party activist who’s written opinion pieces for The Washington Post, dismissed the notion that it was “too soon” to politicize the shooting.
“It’s not too soon. It’s too late. For these kids, and all other people affected by gun violence, whether its mass murder or domestic violence, in Santa Clarita or Chicago,” she tweeted.
O’Reilly also urged people to call on “#MassacreMitch and tell him that we demand #GunControlNOW.”
Shortly after the shooting, California Democrat Rep. Katie Porter pushed for Congress to pass H.R.8., a bill establishing new background check requirements for firearm transfers between private parties.
“It’s important to emphasize this point. Over and over and over. Tragedies like the one that is unfolding right now in Santa Clarita are preventable. The GOP could pass resolutions on gun control at any time. Our children don’t have to live and die like this. #GunControlNow,” tweeted journalist Kaz Weida.
LEO will obviously investigate how the suspect came to illegally possess a handgun. Also remember CA (states in general) has negligence laws that regulate access, plus additional state storage laws.
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) November 14, 2019
But as several pro-gun advocates pointed out, California has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country.
California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, so "no gun control at all" is simply a lie. California has universal background checks, an assault weapons ban, a gun registry for all sales, and countless others regulations.
Perhaps gun laws are not the solution. https://t.co/7Rb1Vuc8eM
— Retired Orrin G. Hatch (@RetiredOrrin) November 14, 2019
Weida pushed back against critics who pointed out the state’s tight restrictions on firearms by arguing that California shares “open borders with states that don’t have those laws.”
NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch noted that federal law restricts anyone under the age of 21 from carrying or purchasing handguns.
What we know about the Santa Clarita shooting
After drawing a .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun from his backpack, he opened fire on the other students, and he saved the last bullet for himself, Captain Kent Wegener of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told a news conference.
“At this point, we have no indication of any motive or ideology,” FBI Agent Paul Delacourt said.
In addition to the two dead students, two other girls, aged 14 and 15, were wounded, as was a 14-year old boy, Wegener said.
The suspect was described by police as an Asian male and a student at Saugus High School, which is located about 40 miles north of Los Angeles.
Some 2,300 students attend the school, which is made up of more than a dozen buildings.
Sean Murillo, 17, a football player at Saugus High School, said he was walking toward his coach’s office when he heard shots about 10 feet away and ducked into a classroom and waited.
Murillo later met his mother at a designated point for parents and students to reunite at Santa Clarita’s Central Park.
“There’s no feeling of safety until he’s in your arms,” said his mother, Mercedes Rodriguez.
Taylor Hardges reported seeing people running in the hallways shouting “Run!” She raced into a classroom, where a teacher barricaded the room.
“We’ve had drills. It doesn’t prepare you for the real thing,” she said after reuniting with her father at Central Park.
Her father, Terrence Hardges, said she texted him from inside the classroom. He said he was casually scrolling through his texts when he saw it and it made his heart race.
“She said ‘I love you. I’m pinned in a room. We’re locked in,’” Terrence Hardges said.
(Reuters contributed to this report.)