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'Words do not protect us': Washington lawmakers react to mass shootings

Two mass shootings over the weekend have reignited the gun control debate among lawmakers throughout America, including those in Washington.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, have reignited the gun control debate among lawmakers throughout America, including those in Washington.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who is also running for president, sent out a series of tweets following the shootings.

“In fewer than 24 hours our nation has endured at least two more mass gun violence murders. We’ve passed 250 mass shootings so far this year. This should not be normal, and it doesn’t have to be,” Inslee wrote.

Multiple social media users have shared claims that the United States was already nearing 250 mass shootings for 2019.

The claim is technically true but requires context. The FBI defines a mass killing as any instance in which three or more people are killed, not counting the suspected killer. If you follow that definition, there have been about 31 shootings in 2019 that would qualify as mass killings.

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Inslee’s Twitter thread continued with demands for action from Congress and President Donald Trump.

He wrote, in part:

"Words have failed us. Words do not protect us. While we send thoughts of strength, comfort and condolences to the victims, survivors and families of El Paso and Dayton, we also demand action from our Congress and our president

Every day that passes without action is another day we fail to prevent families and communities from experiencing profound loss and tragedy. Not just from mass shootings, but from all forms of gun violence including suicides, domestic violence, homicides and more.

We can do this. We can stand up to the NRA. Washingtonians have come together time and again to act against gun violence. It’s time for Congress to do the same." 

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) also called for gun reform on Twitter in the wake of the shootings.

“I am heartbroken for El Paso, Dayton, and every other community in our country that has experienced the horror of gun violence. The House has acted on common sense gun reform. There is absolutely no excuse for delay in the Senate,” she wrote.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who represents Washington’s 5th District, shared her condolences for the shooting victims, saying her heart breaks for the grieving families and communities in both states.

“I’m anxious for more answers, and like so many Americans, I’m angry. As we wait to learn more, one fact is clear—violence motivated by white nationalism is terrorism. It’s evil & has no place here,” she wrote on Twitter.

Lisa Brown, who challenged McMorris Rodgers for her current position, fired back at the representative on Twitter.

“I’m angry, too, at you, for your voting record, against background checks, against Dreamers, against LGBT rights, over 95% with POTUS. Trying to have it both ways with ultra-conservative voters and moderate talking points,” Brown wrote.

Brown currently serves as Washington state’s Director of Commerce.

Washington Rep. Dan Newhouse also expressed his sympathies via Facebook while extending gratitude to law enforcement, first responders and community members who supported the victims and their families.

“I fully support the investigations being conducted at the local, state, and federal levels. This is a heartbreaking day for America. As we wait to learn more, we must all unite to speak against violence spurred by hate,” Newhouse wrote on Facebook.

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