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Deadly Sacramento Shooting Renews Gun Reform Debate

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The deadly mass shooting in downtown Sacramento is reigniting calls for more gun control in California.

The state already has some of the strictest restrictions. But, gun rights advocates are blaming elected officials for not being tough on crime.

There's been a widespread outcry from Sacramento to the nation's capital.

At last check, Sacramento investigators tell CBS13 the three men they arrested are facing several charges including illegally having a gun.

The department also said they found a stolen handgun altered into a weapon capable of automatic gunfire. Then, it located a machine gun, though it remains unknown if it's connected to the carnage.

All these deaths, all these murders are preventable – every single gun death is preventable without infringing upon the second amendment," said Alex Barrio, the director of Advocacy for Gun Violence Prevention at the Center for America Progress

Barrio says there needs to be federal legislation to curb further gun violence.

CBS13's political analyst Gary Dietrich explains any legislation has to target a question.

"What can actually be done that would've impacted a situation like this one?" Dietrich asked.

The CBS13 investigative team dug uncovered that 15 out of 23 mass shootings in California involved legal guns – not including Sunday. The investigation also revealed at least four guns in the past years were obtained illegally.

Gun rights groups say tighter restrictions don't affect those willing to break the law.

The California Rifle and Pistol Association issued the following statement:

Like many others we are waiting for the full details. We don't know if gang activity is to blame for this tragedy, but we do know that an illegal firearm was found at the scene and once again lax enforcement of the many gun laws in California is called into question. Until elected officials get serious about consequences for criminal activity and untie the hands of law enforcement these kinds of incidents will continue to occur. CRPA calls on elected officials to stop political grandstanding with more gun control laws and enforce the laws that are already on the books.

Behind the fiery debate, doctors are sounding the alarm.

"It's a public health issue because thousands of people die from violence every year," said Dr. Garen Wintemute of UC Davis Health, an emergency department doctor and director at the Violence Prevention Research Program

In August 2020, Dr. Wintemute conducted an online survey looking at violence.

"What you'll learn is nearly two-thirds of adults in California have that direct day-to-day experience of some form of violence," he said.

He further explained firearm violence is not merely confined to interpersonal violence since an overwhelming number of deaths are caused by suicide.

Mass shootings, while tragic, make up about one percent of gun violence, he said.

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