For the hundreds of Second Amendment activists who attended the past weekend’s Gun Rights Policy Conference in Phoenix, Ariz., everybody came away with something beyond the stack of free books and bumper stickers, and among those things was knowledge of a little-publicized report from the U.S. Secret Service about how at least some mass shootings might be prevented, and it’s got nothing to do with gun control.
This year’s conference theme was “Freedom Now,” and that became the chant of many in the audience more than once during the event. The conference is co-sponsored by the Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
According to Mark Barnes, principal at Mark Barns & Associates, the 16-page report was published in July, and he thinks it should be required reading by everyone on Capitol Hill.
Titled “Mass Attacks in Public Spaces,” the report was prepared by the staff of the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC). According to Barnes, “the primary role of the Secret Service is to stop the threat.”
None of the information or recommendations “comes down to gun control,” Barnes told the audience of several hundred activists who gathered at the Sheraton Crescent hotel for the two-day event that a number of extreme gun control proposals have already been introduced on Capitol Hill, but he does not believe any of them will pass.
Included in the report is the notation that, whatever the motivation behind mass attacks, “similar themes were observed in the behaviors and circumstances of the perpetrators, including:
- Most of the attackers utilized firearms, and half departed the site on their own or committed suicide.
- Half were motivated by a grievance related to a domestic situation, workplace, or other personal issue.
- Two-thirds had histories of mental health symptoms, including depressive, suicidal, and psychotic symptoms.
- Nearly all had at least one significant stressor within the last five years, and over half had indications of financial instability in that timeframe.
- Nearly all made threatening or concerning communications and more than three-quarters elicited concern from others prior to carrying out their attacks.
Unfortunately, Barnes explained, the dialogue in Washington, D.C. doesn’t appear to care about prevention. It is focused on firearms.
Over the weekend, with some two-dozen panel discussions covering an array of subjects, rights activists learned several strategies about dealing with this myopic political approach. It boils down to activism and putting the energy necessary into making things happen or changing things that already have happened.
Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation and chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, opened this year’s conference, the 34th annual event, with a dire warning: “The war against gun rights has gone nuclear!”
But he and other speakers reminded the audience that one heat-of-the-moment bit of candor from Democrat presidential candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourk—who told people during the recent televised candidates’ debate, “Hell, Yes, we’re going to take your AR15, your AK47”—may have created a watershed moment. The cat, many say, is out of the proverbial bag.
“Beto O’Rourke did us a great big favor,” Gottlieb observed.
Henceforth, he said, the public can see how extreme the Democrats’ agenda has become.
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