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NAT’L – GUN RIGHTS – We Tracked the Shocking Amount of Gun Violence at U.S. Protests

On the night of July 25 in Austin, Texas, a 28-year-old Air Force veteran named Garrett Foster attended a peaceful protest against police brutality armed with an AK-47 rifle. Garrett, who was white, was there that evening with his fiancée, Whitney Mitchell, a Black quadruple amputee for whom he was also a full-time caretaker. They were with a small crowd of people standing on a busy corner, with signs saying things like “Honk for Justice.” A local journalist was broadcasting the scene live on Periscope, and briefly interviewed Foster. “When did you start carrying?” he asked. “Well, my roommate got arrested, and they stopped letting us march anywhere, so I started carrying,” Foster replied. Hours later, Foster was shot dead. Bystander video shows protesters marching down the street and chanting. A car starts honking, trying to push through the crowd. Someone yells, “Everybody back up!” Seconds later, five gunshots are heard, and people start screaming. Daniel Perry, who is active-duty U.S. Army, later turned himself in, claiming that Foster had approached his car and threatened him. Perry, who was armed with a handgun, says he shot Foster in self-defense, and he is not currently facing charges. In 2020, Americans bought guns in record numbers. They also brought them to Black Lives Matter protests, adding a menacing element to increasingly tense confrontations between protesters, counterprotesters, and cops. These guns are not just for show; an analysis by VICE News shows there have been at least 70 incidents involving guns since George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis in late May, sparking protests across the country. 21 of those incidents left 22 people dead. It’s important to note that of the 10,600 demonstrations in the U.S. tallied by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, 96% were peaceful. But the presence of guns at protests has raised the stakes, and shooting deaths only tell part of the story. In addition to deaths by gunfire, VICE News’ analysis also tallied incidents of “brandishing,” where someone threatens by pointing a gun; random shots fired; shootings; shootings that caused injury; and shootings that killed.  [full article]

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