The store that sold Florida shooter his gun just sent a powerful message to Republicans and NRA

Guns are the problem. There’s no discussion to be had, no debate to wage. All arguments to the contrary are made in bad faith. The other side knows that mass shootings happen because of easy access to guns, but they argue otherwise because their hobby is more important to them than the lives of everyday Americans.

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Yes, there are other issues at play. We don’t spend enough as a country on mental health. We have a toxic masculinity problem wed with a white entitlement problem that turns vile young men into killers. The underlying cultural issues must be addressed. But guns are the lynchpin.

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Were it not for easy accessibility to firearms, a young man wouldn’t be able to enter a store, purchase an AR-15 — that is to say, a gun designed to kill enemy combatants on a battlefield — take it to a school and murder children. Guns themselves don’t kill people, sure, but they make it much, much, easier.

The horrific mass shooting in Florida this week was made possible because of a semi-automatic rifle. It’s a story that has become nauseating familiar. The evil man who perpetrated the massacre purchased his gun legally from Sunrise Tactical Supply.

Now, the owners of the store are taking action. Michael and Lisa Morrison, the proprietors of Sunshine, have announced they will be closing their establishment indefinitely reports The New York Daily News.

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Douglas Rudman, the couple’s lawyer, said that they were both “shocked” and “mortified” by the shooting. Additionally, they are advocating for new legislation that would create more transparency when it comes to people with mental health issues buying guns.

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Rudman explained that nothing about the shooter raised the owner’s suspicions and that they followed all the legal protocols including a background check, clearances, and a five day waiting period. It’s a completely believable statement, and it just goes to underline how weapons can easily pass into the hands of people who cannot be trusted with them.

“They condemn in the strongest possible fashion anyone who uses any weapon in anger and violence. They’re good family people who would never advocate violence toward anyone,” said Rudman. “They feel strongly about supporting measures that would require the disclosure of allegations of mental illness to agencies that govern the approval of firearm sale. These measures will be a first step toward taking firearms out of the hands of those who would use them for such reprehensible attacks.”

The FBI and ATF recently visited the store. The owners have dismantled their weapon displays out of respect for the victims of the tragedy.

“Out of respect for those affected by this horrible tragedy, Sunshine Tactical will remain closed until further notice,” said Rudman, explaining the couples’ rationale.

While its admirable of the couple to close the store for now and push for mental health legislation in regards to firearms, they don’t go quite far enough.

AR-15s need to be made illegal. The only legitimate reason for owning one is sport shooting and that is not enough to justify the recurrence of incidents like this. If forced to choose between allowing people to own these guns for fun or saving the lives of children no patriotic American can genuinely argue for the former.

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Robert Haffey

Robert Haffey is a political writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.

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