Some conservatives on Sunday likened the shooting at a mall in Copenhagen, Denmark, to the gun violence in the United States, criticizing the ‘left’ as they argued that gun laws don’t prevent mass shootings.
“Shooting in Copenhagen Denmark where guns are BANNED? Oooooh child I can’t wait for the Left to explain how that happened!” Florida GOP congressional candidate Lavern Spicer tweeted in response to the shooting.
The Danish police said on Sunday afternoon that a 22-year-old Danish man was arrested in connection with the shooting at Field’s mall south of the city that left several people dead, Reuters reported, adding that authorities could not rule out calling the incident as an “act of terrorism.”
“There are several injured, and what we also know now is that there are several dead,” Chief Police Inspector Soren Thomassen told reporters, but didn’t reveal the suspect’s motive or whether he was known to the police.
Thomassen also said it was too early to identify the exact number of victims, but added that there is no indication that other shooters were involved, according to BBC.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims. I truly hate gun violence and I hate the evil people who wish to disarm the general public and keep them unsafe,” Spicer said in another tweet.
Denmark has restrictive gun laws that are regulated by the Ministry of Justice and the European Commission, according to Gun Policy, an organization focused on gun control and violence.
Civilians are not allowed to own full automatic firearms, while semi-automatic weapons and handguns are only allowed with special authorization. Gunowners are also allowed to own ammunition that is only suitable for the guns they possess.
Those who seek to be licensed gun owners in Denmark are required to demonstrate a genuine reason to possess a firearm, such as for collection or hunting. They also should be no younger than 18 years old and must have passed a background check which looks into criminal and mental health records. Danish authorities maintain records of licensed civilian gun owners who are allowed to acquire, possess, sell, or transfer firearms or ammunition, according to Gun Policy.
Meanwhile, discussions about stricter gun legislation in the United States were renewed after deadly mass shootings in May after 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos shot and killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Furthermore, Payton Gendron, 18, fatally shot 10 Black people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York in what was investigated as a racially-motivated attack.
In response to the heightened gun violence in the country, the Senate passed a gun safety bill last month intended to reduce gun violence. The Senate passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act on a 65-33 bipartisan vote.
The legislation seeks to keep firearms from dangerous individuals, even though gun control advocates pointed out that the bill doesn’t reinstate the 1994 ban on semiautomatic military-style rifles.
Still, some conservatives on Sunday argued that gun safety laws don’t prevent shootings, comparing America’s gun violence to that of Denmark.
Florida’s congressional candidate Willie Montague tweeted: “Praying for the people of Copenhagen, Denmark. Also praying the Left wakes up and realizes that mass shootings are not prevented by gun laws. Denmark makes it nearly impossible to get a gun, yet a mass shooting just happened there.”
A graph cited by Bloomberg in May showed that the United States had the most gun violence compared to other countries with developed economies. The U.S. had a rate of 3.964 deaths per 100,000 people, while Denmark had a rate of 0.141. In 2018, there were a total of 64 annual gun-related deaths, according to Gun Policy.
Echoing his remarks was Virginia Republican congressional candidate Terry Namkung who condemned the attack in Denmark in a tweet: “My heart goes out to the victims of the mass shooting in Copenhagen. Gun laws are incredibly strict in Denmark, but yet this shooting occurred. You can’t legislate away evil.”
“The Left is confused right now. There was a mass shooting in Copenhagen. Copenhagen is in Denmark. Guns are basically illegal in Denmark. Their gun law talking point was just shot to sh*t, literally. Is it Putin’s fault or the NRA?” said political strategist Joey Mannarino.
Meanwhile, the scene in Denmark on Sunday had heavy police presence as shoppers ran out of the mall, according to images cited by Reuters.
One footage captured by tabloid Ekstra Bladet showed a person being carried out on a stretcher into an ambulance. Field’s is one of Denmark’s largest shopping malls, with more than 140 shops and restaurants.
“People first thought it was a thief … Then I suddenly hear shots and threw myself behind the counter inside the store,” Rikke Levandovski, a witness at the scene, told broadcaster TV2. “He is just shooting into the crowd, not up in ceiling or into the floor.”
Mahdi Al-Wazni, another witness, told TV2 that the shooter was carrying a “hunting rifle”, according to BBC.