NATIONAL (BTSNews) -- Yesterday morning in California -- a state reputed to have the strictest gun control laws in the nation -- a 16 year-old male arrived in his classroom with a loaded 12 gauge shotgun and twenty rounds of ammunition at Taft Union High School near Bakerfield. There, the shooter confronted a classmate and opened fire, striking the classmate in the chest and the classroom teacher in the head. The classmate, whom the shooter claims had bullied him, remains in critical but stable condition at a local hospital. The teacher, despite being hit in the head with a shotgun pellet, heroically stood face-to-face with the armed shooter while students in the classroom escaped. The teacher, along with an arriving campus supervisor, ultimately convinced the shooter to surrender his weapon until police arrived. This story has been well covered by CNN, FOX and MSNBC, prompting gun control activists, media and politicians to renew cries for national gun control legislation.
BEHIND THE SCENES, however, this shooting -- though tragic -- is at least the 22nd shooting incident that has occurred since yesterday morning. None of the major media outlets are making this connection, perhaps because none of the other 21 shooting incidents involve the political hot buttons of "assault weapons," "high capacity magazines" or "schools." The fatalities and injuries in those shootings are no less tragic, but have been largely ignored.
1. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a 29 year-old man was shot on Thursday afternoon as he sat in the passenger seat of a car. Police report that the shooting followed an altercation between the victim and an unknown assailant. Police have no suspects.
2. In Greenland, Arkansas, two people were shot dead in an apartment complex on Thursday night during a domestic dispute. Police have taken a suspect into custody.
3. In Chicago, Illinois, one man was shot dead while another was critically wounded while sitting on a front porch. Police have not taken any suspects into custody.
4. In Gardendale, Alabama, a church pastor, his wife and daughter were involved Thursday afternoon in a shooting-stabbing incident in the church pasonage. The pastor's wife died of her wounds, while the pastor remains in critical condition.
5. In Milwaukee, a 21 year-old man was shot while walking on the sidewalk on Thursday afternoon. No suspects have been arrested.
6. In Charlotte, North Carolina, a man was shot in the back Thursday night by a 21 year old assailant during a domestic dispute. Police are searching, but have not apprehended, the shooter.
7. In Camden, New Jersey, two men were shot and injured early Friday morning while sitting in an SUV. No suspects have been taken into custody.
8. In Milwaukee, a 49 year-old man, was shot during a dispute Thursday afternoon. Police have not taken any suspects into custody in any of these shootings.
9. In The Village, Oklahoma, a woman who was six months pregnant was shot multiple times and killed Thursday night as she drove from her home. Two men were seen near the shooting, but police have no suspects and have not taken anyone into custody.
10. In Detroit, Michigan, a 17 year-old and his brother were both shot in their home by two unknown assailants. The 17 year-old was killed, while the brother was critically wounded. No arrests have been made.
11. In Lafayette, Indiana, two people were killed in an exchange of gunfire with police as they fled from the scene of another shooting in an IHOP parking lot.
12. In Orlando, Florida, a 21 year-old male was shot to death and another 21 year-old male was critically wounding in a drive by shooting Friday morning. No suspects are in custody.
13. In Kansas City, Missouri, a woman and man were shot in their front yard late Thursday night. The woman died from her wounds; the man was injured. Three suspects are being sought but no arrests have been made.
14. In Waco, Texas, police responded to a domestic disturbance with shots fired in a home Friday morning. Upon arrival, police shot a man in the home, who was taken by ambulance to the hospital.
15. In St. Petersburg, Florida, an 18 year-old male accidentally shot himself in the head while showing his friends how to prevent an accidental discharge with a .38 caliber revolver.
16. In St. Louis, Missouri, a man was shot three times and left for dead in an alleyway Thursday night. The 24 year-old victim has been hospitalized. The police have no suspects.
17. In Montgomery, Alabama, a woman was shot and killed near an apartment complex after an altercation Friday morning. Police have no suspects.
18. In Beaumont, Texas, police responding to a report of domestic violence Friday morning shot and wounded a man who confronted the officers with a shotgun. The man has been hospitalized.
19. In Dallas, Texas, a man and woman were both shot to death in their home Thursday, afternoon. Police believe the individuals were victims of a murder-suicide.
20. In Azusa, California, a man was shot and injured near the Citrus College campus on Thursday evening. The suspect has turned himself into police.
21. In Rockford, Illinois, a 17 year-old girl was shot in the back. Police have very little information regarding the shooting and no arrests have been made.
Over-reaching? Or just plain wrong? Task Force seeks to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines -- Although none of the 22 shootings are alleged to involve assault weapons, high capacity magazines or illegally-owned firearms, Vice President Joe Biden's firearms task force is expected to propose a ban on "assault rifles" and high-capacity magazines, as well as mandatory background checks for all gun buyers. Such background checks would encompass the so-called "gun show loophole" in which vendors at open-air gun sales events and the internet can sell firearms without a background check on the purchasers.
Critics of the Vice-President's task force argue that such proposals would be overreaching, misplaced and ultimately ineffective, but would unnecessarily deprive law-abiding gun owners of gun rights. If the 22 shootings since yesterday are any indication of the state of gun violence in America, those critics may have a point. Those critics who oppose gun control correctly point out that the majority of gun deaths in America have nothing to do with assault weapons or high capacity magazines. Critics who support gun control rightly argue that the proposed legislation does not go far enough to have any meaningful effect on gun violence.
Historical evidence shows that gun bans do not decrease gun violence. Rather, the evidence shows that as the number of guns increased after the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act -- which also banned assault weapons and high capacity magazines -- the number of homicides decreased. Specifically, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports that while the number of guns -- including assault wepaons -- in the U.S.increased by 61% since 1994, the number of firearm homicides in the U.S. decreased by 58%.
Moreover, the CRS reports that "assault weapons" are used in less than 2% of all shootings, and that assault weapons and semi-automatics are very rarely used in crimes. According to the CRS, of 203,300 state and federal prisoners who were armed during the crime for which they were incarcerated, "fewer than 1 in 50, or less than 2 percent, used, carried, or possessed a semiautomatic assault weapon."
The Vice-President's task force is expected to provide its proposals to the President by Tuesday.