The death rate from mass shootings has ticked up slightly in recent years, even as deaths in single-victim incidents have decreased, according to a recent analysis of FBI crime data by the Huffington Post. The worst recent mass shooting came in July in Aurora, Colo., where a gunman killed 12 people and injured 58 during a midnight screening of a new "Batman" movie.
Gun-control advocates seized on the mall shooting as a possible result of the expiration in 2004 of a national ban on assault weapons.
"Santa Claus could have been shot in the mall," said Penny Okamoto, executive director of Ceasefire Oregon, in an interview with the Portland Tribune. "If you're sick of this, you should call your legislators to tell them to fix the laws so that assault weapons don't end up in the hands of felons."
Many versions of the AR-15 were banned under the assault weapons law, but it's not known if the gun used in the Clackamas mall shooting was one of them.
Police said Roberts had no criminal record and had stolen the AR-15 from "someone he knew."
Does the collected response by shoppers at the Clackamas Town Center indicate that Americans are becoming less daunted by senseless violence and, perhaps, better ready to react? Those who back broad gun rights under the Constitution's Second Amendment suggest a shift may be under way in people's readiness to respond.
In blocking Illinois's ban on concealed weapons, the last such law in the nation, Seventh US Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner on Tuesday implied that self-defense readiness in public is not only protected by the US Constitution, but may be good social policy. An awareness "that many law-abiding citizens are walking the streets armed may make criminals timid," he wrote in his ruling.