Dana Loesch, a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association (NRA), called for an end to gun-free zones if people cannot be kept safe within them, following reports about a mass shooting in Jacksonville, Florida.
"A horrible tragedy. End gun free zones or have the security in place to keep people safe in them," she tweeted.
On Sunday night, a gunman killed two people and injured nine at a video game tournament at Jacksonville Landing, a marketplace in downtown Jacksonville. The shooter, who eventually killed himself, was identified by police as David Katz, a 24-year-old gamer from Maryland. He reportedly opened fire after losing the competition.
Jacksonville Landing's rules of conduct prohibit the possession of firearms on the property, even if they are legally owned and carried, with the only exception being made for law enforcement officers.
Loesch's statement added fuel to the ongoing debate over gun control in the United States, provoked by a long series of mass shootings across the country. She was accused of capitalizing on mass murder by some users, who mocked the NRA's policy of promoting gun rights.
Your legacy will be supporting mass murder for $$$$.— Angie (@g8r1521) 26 августа 2018 г.
Your flippant responses to those decrying this senseless tragedy are truly pathetic. Your support of deadly policies of guns in America are bought and paid for by special interests. Kids are needlessly dying and more guns are not the answer. Have you no shame, no morals?— K (@KAFearless) 27 августа 2018 г.
You're way out of line. Gun free zones are needed to keep firearms out of certain places and make everyone safe. If schools have gun free zones, then many other places should have this policy in place. It's about time you started minding your own business for a change.— Brian Hudson (@sixninebrian) 27 августа 2018 г.
Why do you even bother. Three words on the tragedy, then right into the gun shilling. Just do the gun shilling: we all know that's your bread and butter.— chulesee (@chulesee) 27 августа 2018 г.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, which defines a "mass shooting" as an incident in which four or more persons are shot or killed, the US has seen as many as 233 mass shootings in 2018 as of August 26 compared to 346 the year before.
The National Rifle Association is a nonprofit organization that advocates gun rights. Earlier this month, reports surfaced that it had filed a lawsuit against New York, claiming that the state's governor, Andrew Cuomo, had been illegally attempting to coerce financial companies into not doing business with it.