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Why the Buffalo Shooter Favored New York for His Attack

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

On Saturday, an 18-year-old gunman opened fire at a Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, New York, killing 10 people. The suspect, who identified himself as a white supremacist, drove three hours to the predominantly black neighborhood to carry out the attack.


While it has not yet been confirmed, the alleged killer, Payton Gendron, left a 180-page manifesto that details his beliefs and plan for the shooting. In it, he said New York was ideal given its restrictive gun laws, which meant there was a good chance his victims were sitting ducks or if they weren't, hardly had the capacity to stop him. 

In a section about why he chose the Buffalo market, Gendron explained “NY has heavy gun laws so it would ease me if I knew that any legally armed civilian was limited to 10 round magazines or cucked firearms.”

He also came back to this point about New York’s gun laws in another section.

As my colleague over at Bearing Arms noted, what the gunman wrote about the state's gun laws, plus the reason he chose the firearm he did, "should play an interesting role in the debate going forward."

After all, this is someone who intentionally targeted a population because he knew that they would be disarmed. He also used a firearm in hopes of sparking an even more intense gun debate.

Of course, the fact that such a weapon is already heavily restricted in New York and that was clearly not enough to prevent him from obtaining it in the first place.

So it looks like the Buffalo shooting was a cascade of gun control failures.

Only, they’re not exactly failures, are they? No, “failure” is simply when something doesn’t work correctly. This goes beyond that. This was someone purposefully taking advantage of the laws and how New York creates an environment where no one could be lawfully carrying a firearm.

There wasn’t going to be anyone to stop the shooter when he arrived at the grocery store. (Bearing Arms)


There was one person who tried, however. Aaron Salter Jr., an armed security guard who was a retired member of the Buffalo Police Department, shot Gendron, but the suspect was wearing a bulletproof vest. He returned fire and killed the former officer. 

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