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Nick Hanauer of Second Avenue Partners, center, at the 2015 GeekWire Summit
Nick Hanauer of Second Avenue Partners, center, at the 2015 GeekWire Summit

Nick Hanauer has long been a proponent for better gun laws through his organization Civic Ventures. At the GeekWire Summit yesterday, the Oregon community college tragedy, which has claimed 10 lives, was unfortunately a topic of discussion.

“My gang leads gun violence stuff in the state and at the tip of sphere nationally, and yeah, I’m horrible at knowing what to say in these moments, and I almost always say something that leads someone to say, ‘That guy’s an asshole,’ but if you work on this as I do, you take these things extremely personally,” Hanauer told the audience while on stage.

“Those kids dying today — and a lot of kids died today — I take as a personal failure. People in my office are sobbing at their desks today because this happened. It’s very emotional for us, and it’s awful and a national embarrassment. There’s much to be done.”

Nick Hanauer via Civic Ventures
Nick Hanauer via Civic Ventures

Hanauer’s group has worked to alter gun laws in Washington state, asking for “more stringent background checks prior to a gun purchase,” as we first reported in 2013. He has also donated significant funds to the cause, including $1 million to the Washington Alliance for Gun Safety, along with Bill and Melinda Gates, as we reported in 2014.

The shooting continues to trend on Twitter today, where you can see a variety of stats comparing gun deaths to other causes, including terrorism, which President Barack Obama notably pointed out in his speech yesterday has killed a lot fewer Americans than guns.

Obama showed his frustration as he said Americans have “become numb to this.”

“And what’s become routine, of course, is the response of those who oppose any kind of common-sense gun legislation,” Obama said, according to the New York Times. “Right now, I can imagine the press releases being cranked out. ‘We need more guns,’ they’ll argue. ‘Fewer gun-safety laws.’ Does anybody really believe that?”

Nick Hanauer
Nick Hanauer

Hanauer pulled no punches in why gun control laws get stalled:

“The thing is in democracies there is a disconnect between what people want and what elected leaders think they want,” Hanauer told the GeekWire audience. “With respect to gun violence, there was unanimity around common sense in guns in the 1970s, 80s, 90s. Unfortunately, in a legislative democracy, it only takes a couple idiots to stop everything. All you have to do is buy off one U.S. senator, and obviously, this is the craft of the NRA.”

Even though Hanauer was on the GeekWire stage yesterday, he was busy tweeting and retweeting stats about the tragedy, including the below from Fareed Zakaria. And Civic Ventures’ blog also posted about the tragedy, writing that everyone should watch Obama’s speech.

The Washington Post republished a fantastic piece on gun-related and other causes of death stats, including terrorism car crashes and cancer. See that chart that compares guns to terrorism below:

Photo via Washington Post/Gun Violence Archive
Photo via Washington Post/Gun Violence Archive

You can read Hanauer’s full interview from the GeekWire Summit here.

Watch Obama’s speech here:

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