In a further depressing turn, terrified Hispanic Americans in El Paso are rushing to buy guns after a horrific mass shooting took 22 lives.
In the fallout of the US’ deadliest shooting this year, it wasn’t the Republican firearm evangelicals that flooded the gun stores – it was El Pasoans, shook and driven by fear.
Gun Central, a store just two miles from the weekend’s attack, was rammed like the Boxing Day sales on Sunday, August 4 – crowds budging each other, pondering their choice of weapon before queuing to practice in the shooting range.
April Sanchez, a marketing executive who was buying her first weapon along with her husband, told The Guardian:
I’m on high alert. I never thought I’d carry a gun, but now I want something to defend myself, to defend my fellow El Pasoans.
The Guardian reported that Sanchez picked out a 9mm Taurus, and her son bought his first ever handgun the previous evening. Sanchez went from wanting nothing to do with guns to signing up to classes that will allow her to carry her new purchase in public.
This isn’t something I’m proud of. It makes me sad and angry that I’m even here. I’m heartbroken, but I’m also afraid.
Away from Gun Central, other stores were similarly busy. Cabela’s on Desert Boulevard reported very high sales, with many coming from first-time buyers.
An employee, who didn’t give their name, told The Guardian:
We were also seeing people who’d previously owned guns and gotten rid of them.
Anxiety is the driving force. Back at Gun Central, among the Make America Great Again shirts, was Denzel Oliver and his girlfriend Christabelle Guzman, who saw a fleet of police cars racing towards the Walmart. Their minds were made up; they needed a gun.
We were shopping while people were being killed. I just want to give us both some peace of mind. I always tell [Guzman] that El Paso is a bubble. This kind of thing happens elsewhere in the country, but not here. But now, we need to be better prepared.
To that, Guzman added: ‘Knowing is better than not knowing.’
At the time of writing, there have been 255 mass shootings in the US this year alone – averaging out at more than one a day. Just hours after El Paso, 10 people were killed in another mass shooting in Ohio, including the shooter. To match that crippling statistic, there are more than five million firearms on the streets of the US.
There are more than 5 million assault weapons out on the streets of America, which is more than the U.S. military has. That is insane. We must ban the sale, distribution and transfer of assault weapons in the United States.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) August 4, 2019
With fear and hysteria circling the country in the wake of several mass shootings over a short space of time, it’s disturbing to see people turning to guns as a result.
A key aspect of Republican’ politics is the loyalty to the Second Amendment of the US Constitution: the right to bear arms. The party, which the National Rifle Association are attached to, have long fought against any restrictions upon this ‘right’.
As Trump stirs his rhetoric and avoids real gun control conversations, the US faces tragic questions, not if another shooting will occur, but when, and where?
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.