LITTLE ROCK - The Democratic Party of Arkansas today released a statement in response to the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, TX which left 26 dead and 20 others wounded.
"This unspeakable tragedy is hard to wrap your mind around," Democratic Party Chairman Michael John Gray said. "It puts a pit in my stomach to think a deranged man wanted to take the life of so many innocent souls simply attending church -- many of them children. My heart is with the family and friends of the victims and the entire community of Sutherland Springs. We are praying for you here in Arkansas, and we are praying that our leaders around the country have the courage to address our gun violence problem now. America is better than this. "
In 2012, the shooter was court-martialed on charges of assault on his spouse and on their child. He received a bad conduct discharge, confinement for twelve months and a reduction of his military status. According to law enforcement officials, Kelley then purchased the rifle used in the shooting at a San Antonio sporting goods store in April 2016.
"As we learn more about this situation, it's becoming clear the shooter had a track record of violence and abuse," Gray continued. "How he was able to obtain these firearms then is outrageous. As we look to address this issue of gun violence, I think we can start by making it a hell of a lot harder for convicted domestic abusers to purchase firearms."