What to Know Today

These are the people killed in the Chesapeake, Virginia, mass shooting at Walmart. The six employees were part of the overnight crew — a “family” who “loved each other,” a former co-worker told The New York Times. Lorenzo Gamble, Kellie Pyle, Brian Pendleton, Randall Blevins, Tyneka Johnson, and 16-year-old Fernando Chavez-Barron were working the night of November 22 when their supervisor opened fire. The Washington Post has more on who the victims were, to family, friends, and fellow Walmart employees. 

Democrats again call for an assault weapons ban. After a spate of mass shootings — including the attack on a queer nightclub in Colorado Springs, in which police said the gunman used an AR-style rifle — President Joe Biden on Thanksgiving said that the “idea we still allow semiautomatic weapons to be purchased is sick. … I’m going to try to get rid of assault weapons.” Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut also called for a ban and suggested restricting funding to law enforcement agencies that declare themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries.” In July, the U.S. House passed legislation banning assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines, but the legislation is unlikely to pass the Senate.

People carrying guns at protests mostly represent right-wing views. A New York Times analysis of 700 armed demonstrations since January 2020 found that, at about 77 percent of them, openly armed protesters supported stances like opposition to abortion access and LGBTQ rights, hostility to racial justice rallies, and endorsement of the false claim that Donald Trump won the 2020 election. The Times also found that anti-government militias and right-wing culture warriors, like the Proud Boys, attended a majority of the armed protests.

The rise of the “mass shooting correspondent.” As mass shootings become a regular part of life in the U.S., journalists are becoming increasingly accustomed to covering them — and they’re starting to sound like veteran war correspondents. War correspondence largely developed in the 20th century, in the wake of two world wars and the growth in mass media. While mass shootings are obviously different from war, writes Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent, “the parallels are unmistakable.”

Data Point

>50 percent — the proportion of armed protests that took place in states with expansive open carry laws, between January 2020 and November 2022. [The New York Times]