Under the Dome

Fact check: NC Republican says mass shooters often are ‘communist Democrats’

Rep. Larry Pittman of Concord, NC, reads legislation during a debate on March 23, 2016, at the General Assembly in Raleigh.  Pittman said Thursday, May 31, 2018, that he has been apologizing to Democrats for the way his fellow Republicans have shut them out of the budget process, although he said he still planned to vote for their budget because he liked a lot of what it contained.
Rep. Larry Pittman of Concord, NC, reads legislation during a debate on March 23, 2016, at the General Assembly in Raleigh. Pittman said Thursday, May 31, 2018, that he has been apologizing to Democrats for the way his fellow Republicans have shut them out of the budget process, although he said he still planned to vote for their budget because he liked a lot of what it contained. rwillett@newsobserver.com

In the aftermath of mass shootings, Americans are often left wondering the same thing.

Why would someone do something so terrible?

Experts say it’s often a combination of mental illness, adversity in the shooter’s life – and access to guns. In the wake of the Parkland, Florida, shooting, North Carolina state Rep. Larry Pittman took it a step farther.

Pittman speculated on Facebook that the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, had political motivations. In a comment on another user’s post, Pittman suggested the Florida shooter was part of a conspiracy to “push for gun control so they can more easily take over the country.”

He said “many of these shooters turn out to be communist Democrats.” The post was later deleted and Pittman apologized.

PolitiFact wondered whether mass shooters have similar political beliefs, so we looked into it. To see how Pittman’s statement fared on the Truth-O-Meter, go to PolitiFact.com.

Paul A. Specht: 919-829-4870, @AndySpecht

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