On Monday morning, the National Rifle Association (NRA) tweeted: “The only reason you’re celebrating Independence Day is because citizens were armed.” Less than two hours later, seven Americans were killed as rounds of high-powered gunfire fired down a Fourth of July parade.
The festivities in Highland Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, turned into a living nightmare as Robert “Bobby” Crimo III, a local 22-year-old, allegedly shot up the parade from a nearby rooftop. In addition to the seven dead, thirty attendees were injured and, as recent reports have revealed, a two-year-old was left orphaned.
And as the state of Illinois mourns the sickening tragedy, the NRA has continued tweeting.
And Governor J.B. Pritzker is not having it.
The NRA Tweet
“Since 1950, 94% of mass public shootings occurred in gun-free zones,” the NRA tweeted yesterday. Although the message does not provide the definition of “gun-free zones,” the typical, federal, understanding is a school. As of 1990, the Gun-Free School Zones Act designated them as such. So… is the NRA bragging that most mass shootings happen at schools? Unclear.
The “gun zone” debate presents the idea that making an area “gun free” does not prevent gun violence from occurring there. But according to studies, there is no evidence that those areas are targeted because they are gun-free. Rather, those spots are, inherently, full of (young) potential victims.
Regardless, it was a useless message to share after the massacre in Highland Park. And Governor Pritzker did not hold back: “Leave us the hell alone,” he tweeted back.
Governor Pritzker’s Response
Retweeting the NRA’s original message, the Illinois governor added: “And 100% of mass public shootings happen with guns. As Governor, on behalf of the people of Highland Park — leave us the hell alone.”
As he gears up for re-election, the tweet has gained significant positive recognition across his state.