We have seen an increase in mass shootings in the USA as this decade has progressed. Here's a quick count as of this incident in Omaha, Nebraska:
- 2001: 0
- 2002: 0
- 2003: 1
- 2004: 0
- 2005: 2
- 2006: 3
- 2007: 4
When the story broke, I thought the news media was incorrectly calling the rifle used in the crime as an AK-47. Some of the first stories called it an SKS rifle, and I assumed that was correct. But knowing that the young shooter fired over 30 rounds, and as the video footage shows, it was indeed an AK-47. A military weapon in the hands of a disturbed, suicidal 19 year old boy had catastrophic consequences. And the gun can be legally purchased today thanks to the expiration of the 1994 federal assault weapons ban.
And the fans of old communist-designed rifles continue to encourage gun owners to stock-up on them before Congress eventually reinstates the ban.
The SKS, if you recall, is one of the least expensive military weapons you can buy today (sometimes as cheap as $50). Dubbed the 'poor man's deer rifle,' it preceded the AK-47 by two years. And it was a popular weapon to modify and reuse in the 1990s by members of the militant anti-abortionist / 'patriot movement,' as the Reverend Matt Trewhella famously told an audience in 1994:
This Christmas, I want you to do the most loving thing. I want you to buy each of your children a SKS rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition.
Since then, our favorite conservative blogger in Raleigh has written advice on how to survive a mass shooting in a shopping mall. Guns, real estate, and premium backyard charcoal grills seem to be his specialities