Woman Praying After Mass Shooting

The men behind the US’s deadliest mass shootings have domestic violence — not mental illness — in common

Originally published Aug 5, 2019 on BusinessInsider.com

On Monday morning, President Donald Trump made his first public remarks after two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. “Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger — not the gun,” Trump said, arguing that the US must reform mental health laws.

Trump also suggested that mental illness is to blame for the killings that happened at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in Texas in November 2017.

But scientists say the real problem is that violent, impulsive, and angry men are getting their hands on guns.

Many of the shooters behind the deadliest mass shootings in modern America (listed below) committed violence against women, threatened violence against women, or disparaged women.

10 deadliest mass shooting us table

According to the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety, the majority of mass shootings in the US are in some way related to domestic or family violence. A 2018 Everytown report indicates that in at least 54% of mass shootings, the perpetrator also shot a current or former intimate partner or family member.

A former classmate of Connor Betts, the shooter behind the Dayton, Ohio, shooting told CNN that Betts kept a “rape list” for girls and a “kill list” for boys. Another former classmate said Betts would talk about violence and use harsh language about women. On Sunday, Betts shot his own sister dead. 

Perpetrators of domestic violence are legally barred from buying guns, according to federal law. But many have been able to get high-capacity firearms anyway.

The shooter in the Texas church, 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, was kicked out of the Air Force for “bad conduct” years ago. That conduct included assaulting his wife and her child.

The Air Force never reported those details to the FBI, even though the Pentagon requires convicts like Kelley to be added to a federal database for gun-background checks. Kelley also sent threatening text messages to his mother-in-law, who attended the church where the shooting happened on Sunday.

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