Jeff Sessions Just Tried to Blame Florida School Shooting on Gang Violence

Too bad Parkland, Florida, has been rated one of the country’s safest cities.

In response to Wednesday’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Attorney General Jeff Sessions implied, in a speech to a sheriff’s convention in Washington on Thursday, that cracking down on gang violence could prevent school shootings. 

“When parents once again go to sleep fearful that their kids will not be safe, even when they go to school—parents have told me in gang-infested neighborhoods that children can no longer stand at the bus stop by themselves, they take turns, parents do, of being out there every morning and afternoon,” he said. “So we’ve gotta confront the problem. There’s not doubt about it.”

The problem with the statement is that in this case, the shooter had no known gang ties (though some have reported he was linked to a white supremacist group, Republic of Florida). What’s more, Parkland was just named Florida’s safest city in 2017, according to an analysis by the Washington-based National Council for Home Safety and Security. Located just outside the Florida everglades, and about an hour out of Miami, the city is “an affluent one that’s intentionally designed to mimic a park,” according to the council’s website.

Sessions also said that “effective enforcement” of current gun laws, and “focusing on criminals and dangerous people, mentally ill people” could reduce gun violence. “It is not good if we got gun laws that say criminals can’t carry guns and they never get enforced. So we intend to enforce our laws,” he said.

In Thursday’s address, Sessions notably did not mention stronger laws aimed at preventing the shooter from obtaining the military-style rifle in the first place.

Sessions on Florida shooting: "We've got to confront the problem"

“We’ve got to confront the problem, there’s no doubt about it,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions says of the Parkland school shooting. “We at the Department of Justice are going to make this a priority.”

Posted by CNN Politics on Thursday, February 15, 2018

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In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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