According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, 16 people were shot last night during a long-planned and city-permitted party at Bunny Friend Park. What the Times-Picayune knows:
All the victims were in stable condition. Ten were taken to the hospital by ambulance and six went to the hospital on their own.
Police have not yet named a suspect or suspects. New Orleans police chief Michael Harrison said he believed there were several shooters.
The shooting took place at an after-party and music video filming that followed the annual Nine Times Social and Pleasure Club second-line.
The second-line had permits and police staffed it "pretty heavily," Harrison said. The music video filming may have been separately organized and did not have a permit.
Witnesses saw a man with a silver-colored machine gun flee toward Louisa Street. Gunfire continued in the park after he left.
It appears to be the largest mass shooting in New Orleans since the Mother's Day second-line of 2013.
As Jesse Walker reminds me, it's not clear that this crime scene, however terrifying, meets the definition of either a mass shooting (there have been no fatalities) or even an active shooting event (since it was a shootout between two groups).
According to the Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence, a pro-gun-control group, Louisiana has some of the weakest gun laws in the country and received an "F" in its 2013 scorecard.
A recent Politico survey of mayors found 90 percent of them agreeing with the statement that "that Congress is doing too little on issues of firearm regulation and gun violence."
"Failure to address an issue that amounts to slow-motion mass murder of American citizens, many of whom are black and brown, is political cowardice. Stand up! Do the right thing," said Mayor Sly James of Kansas City, Missouri.
Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas said she had a simple message for Congress: "Get a backbone—do your job."
In the wake of the New Orleans shooting, expect more calls for gun control as the only way to reduce violent crime. As Thomas A. Firey wrote at Reason.com last month, however, shows that the connection between stronger gun laws and fatal shooting is neither simple nor clear. Firey ran variations on a recent popular piece in National Journal that claimed a clear correlation between the number of gun-related deaths and the number of gun laws at the state level. More laws, the article argued, meant fewer gun deaths. Firey found
In half of the 14 tests, the resulting coefficients were positive numbers, meaning that Isenstein's gun restrictions had no more than a coin-flip chance of yielding the results that gun control supporters expect. Moreover, in all 14 cases, the coefficients were tiny, with nine smaller than +/– 0.1. Those results should make us highly skeptical that the gun laws have any effect—positive or negative—on murder and violent crime.
Since the mid-1990s, there has been an essentially uninterrupted decline in violent crime and gun-related crime (including homicide; suicides, which account for 2/3 of gun deaths, have been relatively flat). That drop continued through 2014, the numbers for which the FBI released a couple of months ago. A number of cities in the United States have seen spikes in gun-related homicides in 2015—Chicago is up 20 percent through the end of September; Houston is up 33 percent; and San Francisco is up 25 percent—but it's also true that many large cities have seen declines as well. Five Thirty Eight's Carl Bialik notes that
Most of these changes aren't statistically significant on a city level. Even amid the national upward trend, and in some of the country's most populous cities, homicides remain, thankfully, a rare event. That means some increases that look large on a percentage basis affect the raw totals only slightly, to an extent that could arise by chance alone. A 20 percent increase in Seattle sounds a lot more significant than an increase to 18 homicides from 15 through Aug. 29. Homicides in Arlington, Texas, through Aug. 31 are down by 50 percent — to four from eight.
Whatever the trendlines, expect presidential candidates such as Hillary Clinton to use the New Orleans shooting as the newest reason to pass simple-minded and ultimately ineffective gun control.