In response to reports of a murder-suicide where it has been reported that a grandfather with a prior criminal record that should have prohibited him from possessing firearms killed six grandchildren ranging in age from 3 months to 10 years old and his daughter in Bell, FL, Everytown for Gun Safety calls on elected officials pass stronger gun laws. The shooter also reportedly previously killed one of his sons while in illegal possession of a firearm.
Employing a widely-used definition of mass shooting that is drawn from the FBI, a recent report from Everytown for Gun Safety provides a comprehensive analysis of incidents in which four or more people were murdered with guns since 2009. Among the findings is the fact that mass shootings have a disproportionate impact on women – whereas women make up only 13 percent of total gun homicide victims, they make up 51 percent of mass shooting victims.
STATEMENT FROM JOHN FEINBLATT, PRESIDENT, EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with this family, which is the latest ravaged by America’s gun violence epidemic. While details are still unfolding, one thing we know for sure is that the best way to prevent mass shootings is to keep dangerous people and domestic abusers from getting guns in the first place. At least 42 percent of mass shooting perpetrators possessed their guns illegally — as this man reportedly did — because they were felons, domestic abusers, or were otherwise prohibited under federal law from having guns. Our goal is saving lives from gun violence and as Americans we should all be able to agree that the way we’ll do that is through better gun laws.”
STATEMENT FROM SHANNON WATTS, FOUNDER, MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE IN AMERICA:
“Like all of us watching this news unfold tonight, my heart breaks for the family and community that now must cope with the loss of six children and a mother today due to gun violence. The tragic story coming out of Bell, Florida, is yet another clarion call to action: gun violence is an American problem that can, and does, affect every town, every day. As Richard Martinez, father of a UCSB shooting victim, said, ‘We don’t have to live this way.’ Our leaders can and must do more — now — to prevent mass shootings in America. Let this horrific shooting result in tangible action, and not simply serve as another painful reminder of the gun violence epidemic that is ravaging our country.”
Additional background about the Bell, FL shooting:
- A gunman, identified as Don Spirit, reportedly shot and killed his daughter and her six children before killing himself. Spirit was a convicted felon who shot and killed his son in a 2001 hunting accident.
- The Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from the gunman at around 4pm today. He made threats to himself and his family.
- The shooting occurred in the gunman’s residence, but it’s unclear if the victims lived in the home as well.
- Police had been called to the home in the past for a range of issues, but Sheriff Robert Schultz did not provide specifics. He did confirm that the gunman had a criminal record.
- The children ranged in age from 3 months to about 10 years old. All the victims likely died before police arrived.
- Bell is located in Gilchrist County, about 30 miles west of Gainesville. The town has a population of about 350 people