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An 'absurd' law will put the Louisville shooter's gun back on sale, mayor says

Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg speaks at a press conference on Tuesday at Metro Hall in Louisville, Kentucky.
Michael Swensen
/
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Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg speaks at a press conference on Tuesday at Metro Hall in Louisville, Kentucky.

Welcome to the NPR series where we spotlight the people and things making headlines — and the stories behind them.


A gunman killed five people and injured at least eight more at a bank in downtown Louisville on Monday. A law says the rifle used in the shooting will go back into circulation — something the city's mayor says is absurd and dangerous.

Who is he? Democratic Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg.

  • In conversation with NPR's Juana Summers on Wednesday, Greenberg described how a Kentucky law would force authorities to send the assault rifle used in the attack to auction, ensuring that it would be back in use again, despite its role in the tragedy.
  • Greenberg is also urging legislators in Kentucky to allow for more local control on issues like guns and public safety, saying autonomy is key to addressing the root cause.
  • What's the big deal? This isn't Greenberg's first encounter with gun violence, nor is he the first public figure to have a personal tie to a mass shooting.

  • During his bid for the mayoral office in 2022, a man entered Greenberg's campaign office in Butchertown, Kentucky and began shooting. Though nobody was injured, Greenberg says he came close to being struck by a bullet.
  • Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear also shared that he was close personal friends with one of the victims killed in the Louisville attack this week, joining Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, who revealed one of the victims of the Covenant school shooting last month was close friends with his wife.
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says he considered one of the five victims one of his "closest friends."
    Luke Sharrett / Getty Images
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    Getty Images
    Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says he considered one of the five victims one of his "closest friends."

    What's Greenberg saying?

    On receiving more legislative independence:

    I do think that cities like Louisville that have unique gun violence epidemics, should have the autonomy to figure out what we want to do to reduce gun violence.  

    On the auction law regarding the rifle:

    We have a law that this assault rifle that was used to murder five people, and that was used to lay in waiting and shoot at rescuing officers that came to the scene, that gun under Kentucky law will one day be back on the streets. Because right now under Kentucky law, confiscated guns are required to be turned over to the state who in turn is required to auction off these weapons. That is wrong. That is absurd. That is dangerous. And so hopefully everyone, regardless of party affiliation, agrees that this weapon should never be back on the street and we can work together to change that law.  

    On the future of policy changes and gun control in his state:

     I am cautiously optimistic today. First, I know that my friends of all political parties agree that they never want to see harm like this happen ever again, to anyone, whether it's in Louisville and Kentucky, or anywhere in America or this world. And so I'm hopeful. And based on some of the outreach that I've had over the past 24 hours since I called for this change, I am hopeful that we can sit down and work together and talk about our differences on these issues. 

    A resident places flowers at a memorial outside of the Old National Bank following this week's mass shooting.
    Michael Swensen / Getty Images
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    Getty Images
    A resident places flowers at a memorial outside of the Old National Bank following this week's mass shooting.


    Want more politics? Listen to Consider This on how a new majority on Wisconsin's Supreme Court could impact reproductive health.


    So, what now?

  • Greenberg is calling for unity with state legislators to take "meaningful action" on gun control. "Arguing is not a strategy. Doing nothing is not a strategy." 
  • A recent national poll has found that more than half of Americans have dealt with gun violence in their personal lives. 
  • There have been 147 mass shootings in the U.S. this year alone, according to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), which defines a mass shooting as an incident with a minimum of four victims shot (either injured or killed), not including the shooter. 
  • Read more:

  • Louisville authorities release police body camera footage from the shooting 
  • Nickolas Wilt was shot in the head on his fourth shift as a Louisville police officer 
  • Treating gunshot victims so frequently takes an emotional toll, Louisville doctor says 

  • Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Manuela López Restrepo is a producer and writer at All Things Considered. She's been at NPR since graduating from The University of Maryland, and has worked at shows like Morning Edition and It's Been A Minute. She lives in Brooklyn with her cat Martin.