Another Mass Shooting Leaves 19 Children Dead

June 3, 2022 News & Announcements, Violent Crimes

It is with heavy hearts that we once again cover the details of the most recent mass shooting that has occurred in the nation.

While we typically focus on various aspects of criminal defense in the state of Florida, it is important to detail the facts of this case, as gruesome as it may be. The incident did not take place in Florida, but the mass shooting at a Texas elementary school brings back memories of the state’s own horrific mass shootings: Pulse, Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and more.

An analysis of Gun Violence Archive statistics from 2020 alone showed that there was a 47% surge of mass shootings. The U.S. saw 611 mass shootings in 2020, which resulted in 513 deaths and 2,543 injuries. Now in just the last few weeks, there have been several mass shootings in both New York and Texas.

This blog will cover the details of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas along with the various responses, future actions for gun regulation, and Florida’s current stance on guns.

Facts of the Case

According to law enforcement, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos shot his own grandmother in her home on the morning of May 24th, before heading towards the elementary school in a large truck. He then crashed the vehicle into a ditch near the campus, and was then spotted heading towards the school carrying “some sort of rifle” and wearing body armor.

Ramos made it onto school grounds and snuck in through a south-facing door. Police began receiving phone calls around 11:20 am, after he started shooting at both teachers and students on the campus. The school went into lockdown, but not before there were multiple casualties. Robb Elementary has around 600 students enrolled, from second to fourth grade.

U.S. Border Patrol officers arrived at the school along with the local law enforcement that responded to various calls. The officers entered the school and exchanged gunfire with Ramos, who had been hiding behind a barricade he made for himself. A Facebook post from the Uvalde Police Department indicated an update at 1:06 pm, stating that the gunman was in the custody of the police. It is believed that eventually one of the border patrol officers shot and killed the gunman.

From the carnage of the mass shooting, 19 young children have tragically been killed. In addition, one teacher has also been killed. Thirteen children were taken to the hospital, with two dead on arrival. Ramos’ grandmother is alive but in critical condition at the University Hospital in San Antonio.

The remaining students and teachers got evacuated from the school campus and into the city’s civic center nearby. Families had to wait for hours to find out whether their children survived the brutal massacre.

The Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas is now the deadliest shooting at a U.S. elementary shooting since Sandy Hook, which is coming up on its 10-year anniversary.  

Responses to the School Shooting

Initial responses to the mass shooting was overwhelming outrage from across the United States. U.S. Senator Chris Murphy referred to talks that were ongoing with both Republicans and Democrats, and how both sides would have to compromise in order to make change.

The following is a comment Murphy made to CBS News:

“I think there is something dying inside the soul of this country when we refuse to act at a national level, shooting after shooting. And I do think there is an opportunity right now to pass something significant. I’ve seen more Republican interest coming to the table and talking this time than at any moment since Sandy Hook.”

Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, gave an official response to the shooting that took place in his state: “[It] is our duty as elected officials to evaluate all possible means of making our schools safer to prevent future tragedies and ensure communities across the state—whether they are underserved populations within large cities or rural areas of the state…The state of Texas continues working to better protect and serve all Texans, young and old.”

President Joe Biden gave a speech addressing the horrific incident on May 24th, 2022. He began the speech by saying he had hoped he wouldn’t have to do this again.

President Biden stated that it had been 3,448 days, or 10 years, since the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting, and that since then there have been over 900 incidents of gunfire reported on school grounds.

“As a nation, we have to ask,” Biden said. “When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done? I am sick and tired of it. We have to act. And don’t tell me we can’t have an impact on this carnage.”

In the wake of the school’s shooting, Gov. Abbot gave a press conference on gun regulations at the Uvalde High School. During the press conference, the governor claimed that Texas does not need more strict gun laws.

“I hate to say this, but there are more people who are shot every weekend in Chicago than there are in schools in Texas. We need to realize that people who think, ‘Well, maybe if we just implement tougher gun laws it’s going to solve it.’ Chicago and LA and New York disprove that thesis,” said Abbott. Instead of tightening gun regulations, Abbott proposed to instead focus on measures to improve school safety and mental health care in the state.

During the event, Beto O’Rourke interrupted the governor and confronted him about the school shooting in Uvalde. “This is on you,” he shouted. O’Rourke then approached the stage and addressed all of the officials on the stage:

“You said this was not predictable, but this is totally predictable when you choose not to do anything. You are doing nothing, you are offering us nothing.”

Florida’s Stance on Guns

Florida is a state that is known for being relatively lenient on general gun laws. When it comes to manufacturing, selling, transferring, transporting, licensing, or registering machine guns or fully automatic firearms, the state is relatively silent.

However, Florida does have strict laws when it comes to owning machine guns. The state prohibits any individual from possessing or controlling any machine gun which is, or may readily be made, operable. It does not apply to antique firearms that are lawfully owned under federal law.

Florida Statute section 790.221 states that it is illegal for anyone to own or have in his or her care, custody, possession, or control any short-barreled rifle, short-barreled shotgun, or machine gun. If an individual is found violating this law, they can face a second-degree felony which is punishable with up to a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison. To read more about Florida’s laws on firearms and weapons charges, find our blog here.

While each state has its own laws regarding guns, the continuous pattern of mass shootings in the country may force the surpassing of state legislation and call for federal help.

Following the shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Florida’s legislature passed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Act. One of the major sections of the act created a law that requires all schools to have school resource officers or other security personnel. The act also created the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, which has created reports for the Florida legislature about how to make our schools safer for our children.

What Now?

It is no question that the entire nation has been shaken up by the latest tragedy involving gun violence. Regardless of political affiliation or personal opinions, no one wants to see 19 children murdered while simply attending school. This raises the question, what now? What will be the result of such a travesty?

Although President Biden pushed that there needs to be action taken to prevent any more school shootings, the reality of the matter is that it is still very divided in the U.S. on the legal right to bear arms.

Biden says we have to act, but also has not made any steps to stop gun violence, despite pleas from various organizations. The president is able to issue an executive order that could stop illegal guns at the source. This could happen by clearly defining who needs to have a license to sell guns based on commercial marketplaces or how many guns they are selling.

Currently, the Biden administration is trying to convince Congress to pass tighter gun laws, including placing background checks for firearms purchases, banning semi-automatic rifles, and strengthening gun safety measures.

Karine Jean-Pierre, a White House press secretary, answered questions regarding the administration’s actions for the issue of gun violence: “It is time for Congress to act,” Jean-Pierre stated. “The President cannot do this alone.”

However, since taking office in January 2021, there have been several steps taken by the Biden administration, without Congress. One example is including “ghost guns” to be regulated in the same way as traditional firearms. In addition, creating a strike force which is aimed at cracking down on illegal firearms in major cities such as Los Angeles and New York.

Advocates of gun safety organizations argue that there is still more that President can do on his own. President of gun violence protection group Brady, Kris Brown, offered insight on what he thinks the White House can accomplish: “He should declare gun violence as a public health emergency. We need to tackle this in a way that prevents the violence from happening in the first place and not walk away from it because it’s a public health emergency that happens to involve guns.”

By declaring a national emergency, the president has additional statutory powers to address a crisis. Brown claimed that if the Senate doesn’t pass gun safety regulations under a consideration, then Democrats should lift the filibuster rule that requires 60 votes in the 100-member body to approve the legislation.

On May 29th, 2022, President Biden and first lady Jill Biden paid a visit to Uvalde, Texas where the mass shooting took place. The visit marked the second time a presidential visit took place in relation to a massacre, the first being in Buffalo, New York for the grocery store shooting.

After visiting the school grounds where the mass shooting took place, the Bidens attended mass at a nearby Catholic church. As the two were leaving the church building, an individual in the crowd shouted, “Do something!” at the president.

President Biden’s answer: “We will.”

Written by Karissa Key

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