The police chief who responded to the Buffalo mass shooting hit back at the Republican argument against tougher gun control measures, saying the guard shot and killed during the massacre was the proverbial “good guy with a gun.”
Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia testified before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday morning, where lawmakers heard from victims and witnesses the latest deadly mass shootings that have shattered families and communities in recent weeks.
Commissioner Gramaglia spoke of Aaron Salter Jr., the warden of the Tops Friendly Market, who was one of 10 black people killed in the May 14 racially motivated massacre in Buffalo, New York.
Mr. Salter, a retired Buffalo police officer, was armed and working with security at the store that day when the shooting unfolded.
But he had “no chance” against a shooter with a legally purchased AR-15 – a firearm known to cause a high “body count,” the commissioner said.
“It’s often said that a good man with a gun will stop a bad guy with a gun,” he testified.
“Aaron was the right man and was no match for what he was up against: a legal, multi-magazine, high-capacity AR-15.”
He added: “He didn’t have a chance.”
The commissioner testified that the gunman – 18-year-old Payton Gendron – should never have been able to get hold of the AR-15 that killed 10 black people in the attack.
“Assault weapons like the AR-15 are known for three things: how many bullets they fire, the speed at which they fire those bullets, and the number of deaths,” he said.
“This radicalized 18-year-old adult should never have had access to the weapons he used to carry out the attack and laws must be passed to ensure it never happens again.”
During his testimony, Commissioner Gramaglia said the “epidemic of gun violence” is “ravaging our nation” and has “devastated communities across the country,” including his home community of Buffalo.
“Our communities are hurting and we must continue to support them, their loved ones and our brave first responders,” he said.
“No city should have to go through this and it’s time to make changes to a system that leaves blood on our sidewalks every day,” he added.
In all, 13 people were shot and killed by the self-proclaimed racist and white supremacist Gendron during the May 14 mass shooting in Buffalo.
The 18-year-old gunman was able to legally purchase an AR-15 and body armor before driving into the predominantly black neighborhood and innocent shoppers opening fire.
Ten black people were killed in the horrific attack, while three other victims who were shot survived.
The massacre came just 10 days before 19 young students aged just nine to 11 and two teachers were shot dead in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
Days later, four people were killed in a mass shooting at a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
In all three cases, AR-15s were used and the gunmen bought the weapons legally.
In recent weeks, dozens of Americans have also been killed in mass shootings across the country.
The House Committee on Oversight and Reform convened the hearing Wednesday morning as Democrats and Republicans debate gun control measures again and calls for tougher gun laws to stop the epidemic of gun violence.
House Democrats said the hearing was called to address “the urgent need to address the epidemic of gun violence.”