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Which gun control policies and could prevent mass shootings, according to a gun violence expert

Nearly 300 mass shootings struck communities across the United States in the first nine months of 2019.

The deadly slew of mass shootings in the US pushed a desire for gun control to new heights, with major corporations like Visa expressing a desire for gun control legislation.

The hotly debated topic has surfaced in several state governments that issued executive orders to come to a resolution on the deadly issue.

The Washington Post reported that the White House is preparing to propose its plan to address gun violence as early as next week, but President Donald Trump hasn’t provided many details prior to the impending announcement. Lawmakers and activists have floated suggestions that the gun control plan could include a wide variety of policies, including solutions like universal background checks or enforcing “red flag” laws.

Read more: Gun control really works. Science has shown time and again that it can prevent mass shootings and save lives.

However, Garen Wintemute, the director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at University of California, Davis, said that it will take more than universal background checks and extreme risk protection orders to prevent future mass shootings. The VPRP conducts research that focuses “on the nature and causes and consequences of firearm violence,” he said.

Wintemute told Business Insider he believes it isn’t about one policy taking precedence over the other; rather, it is all of these policies working together in tandem that could have maximum impact on preventing future mass shootings.

“If I had to put one at the top of the list — with an understanding that we’re going to try and work our way down the list — at the top, for me, would be requiring a background check for all purchases and firearms,” Wintemute said, “At the same time, doing what’s necessary to make that policy as effective as possible.”

Here are the advantages and drawbacks of gun control policies on preventing a mass shooting, according to a gun violence expert.

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FBI alert cites mass shooting threat at Hawaii State Capitol

HILO >> The FBI has issued an alert in connection with a post on social media inviting people to a “mass shooting in the Hawaii state capitol” this weekend.

The threat was posted Friday at the bottom of video of Gov. David Ige’s press conference in which the governor urged both sides in the dispute over the Thirty Meter Telescope to halt all threats and hate speech in the dispute over the months-long protests on Mauna Kea.

The FBI bulletin cites a brief Facebook post on Friday that announced: “Mass shooting in the hawaii state Capitol this weekend who’s coming?”

The FBI alert identified George Sopi, 29, as the apparent author of the threat. It adds that “Sopi has made other recent social media posts about violence towards Hawaii Governor Ige and other mass shootings.”

According to the FBI bulletin, Sopi has a criminal history that includes assault, assault against a police officer, and marijuana offenses. The bulletin also said Sopi appears to have access to a firearm.

State Attorney General Clare Connors said in a written response to questions that Sopi has not been arrested by Hawaii Department of Public Safety of state attorney generals investigators.

“State law enforcement is aware of the post from yesterday,” Connors wrote. She added that FBI bulletin “confirms that law enforcement is sharing intel among local and federal partners, and taking appropriate action to investigate and respond.”

Connors did not say whether Sopi has any known connection to the activists on Mauna Kea.

The protest leaders on Mauna Kea brief their fellow activists daily on the importance of sticking to non-violent tactics in their effort to block construction of the $1.4 billion telescope.

However, Ige on Friday cited a number of examples of social media threats and harsh language in connection with the telescope dispute, and urged both TMT supporters and opponents to take more care in what they say and post.

““It’s about how we speak to one another … while we work toward this path to a resolution,” Ige said.

The access road has been closed since July 15, and 38 people were arrested July 17 as they blocked the roadway to prevent construction equipment from reaching the summit to begin site work for the TMT project. Mauna Kea is considered sacred by some Hawaiians, and the protesters believe the construction of the telescope would be a desecration.

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Texas man who plotted mass shooting was upset over his Marine Corps discharge, court documents say

A 19-year-old man who planned a July mass shooting at a West Lubbock hotel that was thwarted by his grandmother was upset that he was considered “defective” by the military when he was discharged for his mental illness, according to court records.

William Patrick Williams faces federal charges for reportedly lying on an application to buy the semiautomatic rifle he planned to use in a shooting, according to a federal indictment filed Aug. 14.

He is charged with a federal felony count of making a false material statement during the purchase of a firearm on July 11, a day before he planned to lure people out of a hotel and shoot them. The charge carries a punishment of up to five years in prison.

Williams’ mental illness, which included suicidal ideation, wouldn’t have disqualified him from purchasing the rifle, under federal gun laws.

The law prohibits people who have been dishonorably discharged or “have been adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been committed to a mental institution.”

Williams’ charges stem from allegedly lying about his address on a firearms transaction form.

Federal officials believe Williams used the address on his driver’s license, which is his relatives’ address, when he filled out the form. But investigators learned that he was actually living with a roommate at a different address after he was kicked out by his relatives, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office.

William Patrick Williams (Lubbock County Detention Center)

According to the court documents Williams entered the Marine Corps with severe depression/anxiety and suicidal ideation, but did not exhibit any signs of it until after he made it through boot camp and basic combat training.

However, his mental illness manifested in the form of cutting himself and he was honorably discharged because of it, the document states.

Williams returned to Lubbock, where he was raised by his grandmother, but was unable to adjust to life as a civilian, the documents state.

Veteran Affairs notified Williams that he was eligible for monthly disability payments because of his mental illness diagnoses with included depression/anxiety, suicidal ideation and avoidant personality disorder.

“Upon receiving these notifications, Patrick was upset that he had been deemed ‘defective’ by the military,” the document states. “These notifications served to worsen his depression and he began to formulate a (plan) to commit suicide.”

On July 10 and 12, Williams bought an AK-47 style rifle, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and 17 magazines, and four knives from Cabela’s, the indictment states.

“Lubbock police officers found an AK-47 rifle, 17 magazines loaded with ammunition and multiple knives at a West Lubbock hotel where William Williams planned a mass shooting(Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office)

He also bought dark clothing including a black trench coat that investigators believed was consistent with an active shooter event, the document states.

Williams reportedly spent the night of July 12 preparing to die, the document states.

However, the next day, Williams reportedly called his grandmother and revealed to her his plan to draw people out of the hotel and shoot them before he was shot to death by police.

Sensing he was homicidal and suicidal, Williams’ grandmother convinced him to allow her to drive him to a hospital where they met with an off-duty police officer working security there to whom Williams gave written consent to search his hotel room, the document states.

There, police seized weapons Williams reportedly planned to use for the mass shooting. They were laid out on a bed so police could take them.

On July 15, the detective worked with the Lubbock Police Department Crisis intervention team to place Williams on a long-term involuntary mental commitment, which was granted by the county judge, the documents state.

“While a long-term mental solution is underway to address Patrick’s mental health needs, affiant seeks the instant warrant to determine if additional state and federal charges are appropriate,” according to the documents.

Williams has remained at the Lubbock County Detention Center since his Aug. 1 arrest on the federal charges, following the mental health commitment.


©2019 the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (Lubbock, Texas). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Virginia Beach to Open Recovery Services Center for Mass Shooting Victims

The center will serve mass shooting victims and their families, first responders and others affected by the Virginia Beach Municipal Shooting.

The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services has allocated a $3 million, three-year grant to the city of Virginia Beach for recovery and support from the May 31st mass shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center where 12 people were killed and four others were injured, according to

Mass shooting survivors fare better over the long-term with access to mental health support and community connections. Survivors experience “ongoing mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety and substance abuse,” according to a 2018 article on the the American Psychological Association website. Further, the National Center for PTSD estimates that 28 percent of people who have witnessed a mass shooting develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and about a third develop acute stress disorder.

According to Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital President Elwood Boone the VB Strong Center will have at least 12 employees and a director. The center will refer mass shooting survivors, victim’s families, hospital staff, city workers and first responders affected to services and also provide long-term resources, such as:

24/7 crisis hotline for mass shooting victims
case management
care navigation of community resources for rehabilitation

The state’s VOCA Victims’ Service Grant Program funding is derived from federal Victims of Crime Act funding, which provided $34 billion nationwide in 2018.

Sentara Healthcare will be operating the center through a partnership with the city. The city is hoping to have the “VB Strong Center” open in October, said Julie Hill, a city spokeswoman.

The U.S. Department of Justice offers victim services grant funding through invitation to communities affected by terrorism and mass shootings. More information is available on the Office for Victims of Crimes website.

Access the original story on Channel 10’s website.

Read more about the city’s recovery after the mass shooting:

Virginia Beach Considers Fate of Municipal Building After Mass Shooting

Virginia Beach Agrees to Third Party Mass Shooting Investigation

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MCH surgeon shines light on staff for handling mass shooting "perfectly"

If you were in Midland and Odessa August 31st, your heart was racing from fear.

But not Dr Cunningham, who says him and his staff at MCH were built for it.

“As far as the OR’s concerned, it went perfect considering the amount of work we had to do. It’s like a symphony or something,” said Benjamin Cunningham, MCH Orthopedic surgeon.

“I don’t know what the oboe player is doing, or the bass drummer, but I’m playing the violin and it’s all coming together. And someone from the outside could see that.” 

The mass shooting lasted over hour, so as victims were rushed in one by one the pressure was on.

“The general process is that if someone is going to die or close to dying they usually get very high priority. And if someone…if they’re going to lose a limb or something of that nature, then they get a higher priority as well,” said Dr. Cunningham.

Dr. Cunningham says the adrenaline worked in everyone’s favor, saving the lives of everyone that they possibly could have.

“The total was probably 24 that came in that we know about. And I think one patient did die, but I think he essentially came in dead and there was no way to revive him. And I think the majority of the people that died, died at the scene or quickly there after,” said Dr. Cunningham.

But what moved Dr. Cunningham the most was the selflessness of his patients. Especially an officer who was in the worst condition of them all, with one eye shot at and his limbs severely damaged.

“I mean all he cared about were his friends and how they were doing, that’s all he talked about. And I saw him yesterday and he’s very thankful but I’m thankful for him and for all the people willing to stand up to someone like that. Because they put a lot on the line,” said Dr. Cunningham.

Although surgeons, doctors and nurses are equipped for the job and gore, Dr. Cunningham says the reward of saving a life makes life worth living.

“Yesterday in clinic I got to see the majority of the patients we operated on and they’re doing great. So that always helps you know when people are doing better. It makes you feel better about being able to have the capacity to do something about the problems in this world,” said Cunningham.

RELATED: Recovering after tragedy: Mental health in the Basin after mass shooting

RELATED: All victims of Midland-Odessa shooting have been released from the hospital

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From Virginia Tech to Borderline: Mass shooting survivor explains the impact of trauma


A survivor of the 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech explains her path to recovery.
Tom Kisken,, 805-437-0255

Michael Morisette approached the Moorpark College stage.

His daughter, Kristina Morisette, a 20-year-old free spirit, was one of 12 victims killed at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks on Nov. 7. On Friday, the Simi Valley man listened as Lisa Hamp explained the fog, pain and loneliness that came after she survived a 2007 mass shooting on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.

At the stage, Morisette told Hamp her words touched him.

“We’re experiencing that trauma here,” he said a moment later.

Hamp told her story at an annual suicide prevention conference. She explained how her life changed in the span of 11 minutes on April 16, 2007.

Conception Boat fire: Crew was asleep as boat fire erupted, NTSB says; all victims identified

She was 21, a junior sitting in a computer science class. The students heard a loud popping noise. It was gunfire. A male student who had opened fire earlier in a dormitory was shooting again.

Hamp’s classmates slammed the room’s door shut, then barricaded it. The gunman shot at the door and then tried to push it down. The students pushed back.

The gunman killed 32 people that day and wounded more than a dozen people. But Hamp and 10 others in Room 205 of Virginia Tech’s Norris Hall kept the shooter out. They survived.

Emotional trauma from the shooting emerged almost immediately, though Hamp hid much of it for eight years before seeking help.

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Lisa Hamp explains how her life changed in the span of 11 minutes during the Virginia Tech mass shooting in 2017. Hamp spoke Friday at Moorpark College. (Photo: TOM KISKEN/THE STAR)

“I started having nightmares,” she said. “They always involved me hiding. And they always involved someone trying to hurt me.”

Fourth of July fireworks sound like gunfire, she learned. So do barbells dropped on the floor by student weightlifters.

She worried the shooting would happen again. She scouted out the rooms she entered, positioning herself in the areas she felt safest.

Hamp pursued two master’s degrees. She landed a job working at the Pentagon. She got married. She bought a house.

What she didn’t do is heal.

“After the shooting happened, it was like a fog came over me and I couldn’t see clearly,” Hamp said.

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She developed post-traumatic stress and an eating disorder. She told herself life would be better and happier if she were thinner.

At its worst, the pain seemed almost insurmountable. She wondered momentarily if maybe the solution was to no longer be a survivor.

“What if I wasn’t here?” she asked, noting the thought pushed her back into counseling and further toward recovery.

Her counselor told her to throw her weight scale away. Once an obsessive runner who used exercise to numb her feelings, she learned how to care for herself by writing in journals, talking to friends and listening to music.

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Lisa Hamp, a survivor of the Virginia Tech mass shooting in 2007, explains her recovery from the trauma. (Photo: TOM KISKEN/THE STAR)

She decided to attend a survivors’ gathering for the 10-year anniversary of the shooting. She said she was told some events were open only to survivors who had been physically injured.

So she organized a separate gathering for the people in Room 205.

Now she’s an advocate who tells her story in hopes it helps others. She talked Friday about how the pain and stress in the days and weeks leading to anniversaries can be harder than the actual date.

Hamp emphasized the importance of finding people who will listen and don’t automatically offer advice.

“We want to be heard and we want to get things off our chest,” she said.

Conception Boat Fire: At memorial for boat fire victims, tragedy moves even strangers to tears

Hamp spoke at a conference designed to empower people to take action to prevent suicide. It was put on by Ventura County Behavioral Health Department, the Ventura County Office of Education and Moorpark College.

Kiran Sahota, a county behavioral health manager and event co-chair, said organizers chose to make dealing with trauma a theme of the event partly because of the Borderline shooting. She cited the Woolsey and Thomas fires too.

“Trauma has really affected our community,” she said.

Morisette’s daughter worked as a cashier at the Borderline. She radiated energy and independence.

“I’m doing OK,” Morisette said Friday, noting 10 months have passed since the shooting. 

Ventura County bartenders asked to serve the question: ‘Are you going to kill yourself?’

He has joined the Campaign to Change Direction, a drive aimed at changing the culture of mental health and making sure people receive the care and support they need. He reaches out to other people who lost loved ones at the Borderline and also to those who were at the bar that night and survived.

“We don’t want anyone to be lost in the shuffle,” he said.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, for both English and Spanish speakers, can be reached at 1-800-273-8255 or

Tom Kisken covers health care and other news for the Ventura County Star. Reach him at or 805-437-0255.

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NSC 2019: Workplace Violence and Mass Shootings

With the prevalance of active and mass shootings in the United States, employers should have a emergency response plan to protect workers.


However, some companies wait to have a plan because leadership doesn’t see the possibility of it happening, said Jack Jackson, SafeStart senior consultant, at the 2019 National Safety Congress and Expo in San Diego.


“We have to talk about it now, rather than later,” Jackson told attendees. “We don’t need to sit complacent in our surroundings and in our own little world because we don’t think it could happen.”


Jackson explained how threats leading to a violent incident in the workplace can happen both on and off the job. A person must plan for both scenarios. Safety professionals can train workers to recognize signs to prevent an incident from occurring.


“We can never say enough about these incidents until we do something about them,” he said. “Either we can plan now, or we can wait for something to happen and then you get to decide.”


He referenced the Aug,4, 2019 mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, in which a lone gunmen killed 10 people. Jackson explained, “Police were able to take down the gunman because they were training and had a plan in the event that will happen.”


During an attack, Jackson alluded to the 3 Fs: Fight, Flight or Freeze. A pre-determined plan will reduce the chance someone will freeze in an active shooting situation. During an incident, a person will fall to the level of training they had to make decisions. Stress limits the ability of a person to perceive information and make a plan. Jackson said following levels of stress can dictate how well someone responds:


White: Not alert, comfortable in surroundings, best for being at home.
Yellow: Relaxed alert, not caught off guard, eyes and mind are on the task you are performing.
Orange: Possible threat. Extra vigilant and aware of what is going on around you, increased heart rate.
Red: Optimal level for tactical and survival skills. Threat has been verified. Fine motor skills compromised. 
Grey:  High heart rate. Physical and mental performance suffers – slow auditory response. Complex motor skills compromised.
Black: System overload. Possible evacuation of bladder and bowels.

An emergency response plan can help someone in an active or mass shooter situation overcome stress and respond accordingly. Jackson also informed the audience about the “Run, Hide, Fight” widespread tactic of reacting to an active shooter incident.


Watch the video to get Jackson’s insight on the “Fight” response of active shooter response protocol.


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Teen jailed for 16 years over mass shooting plot

Image copyright
Gloucestershire Police

Image caption

Kyle Davies was also convicted of possession of indecent images

A teenager who was found guilty of planning a mass shooting has been jailed for 16 years.

Kyle Davies, 19, from Gloucester, tried to buy a handgun and ammunition for £1,000 from a dealer on the dark web.

He was found guilty of attempting to possess a Glock 17 pistol and ammunition with intent to endanger life, following a trial in July.

At Taunton Crown Court, Judge Paul Cook said Davies “had the intention to endanger life in a shooting event”.

During the trial at Gloucester Crown Court, the jury heard the Columbine School massacre gunmen and Norwegian extremist killer Anders Breivik were “poster boys” for Davies.

A package containing the weapon and ammunition Davies had ordered was intercepted in the USA and officers in the UK were tipped off.

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South West Regional Organised Crime Unit/PA Wire

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A Glock pistol and ammunition were ordered online by Davies

The parcel was substituted for a dummy one that was delivered by an undercover officer to his home, where he was arrested.

A search of Davies’s home revealed computer files and notes about mass killers.

He had denied the charges, saying he had bought the weapon to kill himself, yet the court heard he had written out a list of other items he wanted to buy including petrol, a gas mask and body armour.

Davies, who was aged 18 at the time of the offences, had also drawn 77 stickmen to represent the victims of the 2011 explosion and shootings in Norway.

He was also convicted of attempting to evade the prohibition on importing a prohibited weapon, and possession of indecent images.

And he was sentenced to a concurrent prison term of six months after being convicted of two charges of making indecent images of children, relating to 250 images and two videos found on his devices.

The defendant was also handed an eight-year term, to run concurrently with his 16-year sentence, after evading the prohibition on firearms and ammunition imports.

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Deputies can get worker’s comp for Las Vegas mass shooting injuries

Orange County officials voted this week to allow deputies to file workers’ compensation claims related to any injuries suffered during the Las Vegas mass shooting in 2017.

Initially, four deputies’ claims were denied because California and local law limited law enforcement workers’ compensation claims to on- and off-duty incidents within the state.

The Tuesday vote extends to county law enforcement officers who protect civilians or assist local first responders in future domestic terrorism incidents.

Several off-duty officers from Southern California were attending the Route 91 Harvest festival when a gunman fired on the crowd from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay.

Some were shot, while others were injured while leading people to safety.

A bill from Assemblyman Tom Daly, D-Anaheim, that passed in 2018 and took effect Jan. 1 clarified previous law to state that California peace officers injured off-duty while responding to out-of-state crimes and life-threatening emergencies can collect public injury benefits.

“The door was closed. Our officers were shut out because the statute was vague,” said Tom Dominguez, president of the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs, which sponsored the bill.

“Now, the door’s been open, and we’ll go into the workers’ compensation system. These peace officers will be made whole.”

The new policy’s cost to county taxpayers will depend on how many claims are filed and what benefits are awarded.

The bill is permissive, meaning each municipality or county or state agency has to adopt it for it to take effect, Dominguez said.

As far as he knows, Orange County is the first to do so in California. About 3,000 deputies are affected.

He said two deputies who were shot, Marine Corps and Afghanistan War veteran Joe Owen and Mark Seamans, are back on duty and in good spirits.

Seamans helped shield others from gunfire and move people to safety, injuring his leg in the process.

Owen was applying pressure on a victim’s bullet wound and dragging that person to safety when he was shot in the abdomen and thigh.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department gave both men the Purple Heart, along with the Medal of Courage, for their bravery.

“These people have lives, they have families, they have children, they have careers and … it’s unfair to them to put that doubt into their minds when they’re out of the state and an act of domestic terrorism occurs,” Dominguez said.

“They went into it without a second thought and went into life-saving mode.”

Dominguez said it’s a rewarding outcome, as this decision comes so close to the two-year anniversary of the shooting.

“But it pales in comparison to the grief that the families had to endure since this tragedy occurred,” he said. “The victims are spread out all over the place, and it had impact all over the state. This thing hit home.”

Contact Briana Erickson at or 702-387-5244. Follow @ByBrianaE on Twitter.

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Prayer vigil held ahead of mass shooting anniversary at Fort Worth’s Wedgwood church

FORT WORTH, Texas – 20 years have passed since a gunman opened fire at a teen prayer rally at Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth.

Of the seven people who were killed, four of them were teens. The pain is still present today.

Members of the congregation prayed at the church Thursday. Many of them were church members when the shooting happened and remain with the church today and still healing after two decades.

There was quiet reflection in the sanctuary Thursday night. Some of the people praying in the pews are some who lived through the tragedy. Some are too young to remember. All of them are bound together by their belief in God.

David and Tralissa Griffin have been part of the congregation since 1997. They are still praying for healing 20 years after their 14-year-old daughter, Cassie Griffin, was among the seven killed in the shooting.

“Cassie would be 34 years old,” David said. “What would she be doing with her life? Would she be married? You can’t help but think about those things.”

The Griffins believe their bubbly daughter who loved people would have been a social worker. The couple says they’ve been processing her death for two decades and even reached out to mourn with other parents who have also lost children in mass shootings around the country.

“Every year when we get around Sept. 15, I can feel the prayer coverage again,” Tralissa said.

Lining the church hallways are hundreds of letters, cards and emails from around the country offering words of comfort.

“When you have people that have a common faith and the come around you, it makes everything better,” David said.

Twenty years after the tragedy, Pastor Dale Braswell hopes 2019 can be the time for closure and a new chapter for the church.

“That can’t be our defining moment, that we have to have a defining moment of when people go from death to life, spiritually speaking,” he said. “And that’s what we have to be about not just this Sunday but every Sunday.”

A memorial was erected at the church three years after the shooting just outside of the doors where the gunman walked into the church.

On Sunday, Wedgwood is holding a special service where families of the victims are expected to speak. That starts at 9:30 a.m.

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