30 years after SF's deadliest mass shooting, survivors continue to fight for gun control

ByLena Howland KGO logo
Saturday, July 1, 2023
Fight for gun control continues decades after SF's deadliest shooting
30 years after San Francisco's 101 California Street Shooting, survivors continue to fight for gun control.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Saturday, July 1, marks 30 years since the 101 California Street shooting that left eight people dead in what's known to be the deadliest mass shooting in San Francisco history.

It happened at a law firm at 101 California Street and later sparked gun control legislation across the state.

Before the Route 66 Music Festival shooting, the Pulse nightclub massacre and the Uvalde school shooting, came 101 California.

VIDEO: Advocates march across Golden Gate Bridge for gun violence prevention awareness

Several hundred people rallied and marched across the Golden Gate Bridge, to bring visibility and awareness to the issue of gun violence.

"There was a man walking towards us with what looked like professional attire, khaki pants, a white shirt, what I thought were suspenders, later to learn it was really gun holsters and he walked up to the young man right in front of us and shot him," survivor Michelle Scully Hobus said.

Hobus, who was visiting her husband, John Scully, at the Pettit and Martin Law Firm for the day, remembers running back into an office to hide.

Scully, even tried to push a filing cabinet to block the door.

"John was laying on top of me, really trying to protect me and I remember just looking up and seeing the gunman shoot and then looking up and seeing the barrel of the gun and just putting my head down until the shooting stopped," she said.

Hobus, took five bullets to the right side of her body and before she could get on the phone with 911 operators, her husband said his final words.

"John looked up at me and he said, 'Michelle, I'm dying, I love you,'" she said.

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The shooter killed eight people, including her husband, before turning the gun on himself.

"When our incident happened 30 years ago, it was big news, it was unusual, it was shocking and now, unfortunately, it seems like it's become part of our landscape," she said.

In the months and years that followed this shooting, Hobus mobilized with victims' families and other shooting survivors to demand stricter gun control on the state and federal levels.

"The legislation that came out of the passion and the survivors of 101 California Street is very powerful federally, things after that, really went back down to the states and I think California was shown to be the leader in passing gun safety laws," Brian Malte, Executive Director of the Hope and Heal Fund said.

The Brady Bill was passed on the federal level, which established America's national background check system for gun sales.

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And later, a 10-year assault weapons ban was passed through Congress. It expired in 2004.

Despite that progress, Malte says we need to look beyond just legislation.

"So if we're not tackling easy access of guns in the home, if we're not tackling intimate partner violence and firearms for those in crisis, we're not really addressing mass shootings in its totality," he said.

With more than 300 mass shootings across the country this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, 2023 is on pace to become the deadliest year for mass shootings in recent history.

"It's a worse landscape than it was in 1993 and 1994 when we were trying to pass legislation," Hobus said. "We have done a great job in California, but on a national level, I think it's worse than it was 30 years ago."

And today, even 30 years later, she says their fight is far from over.

"I just don't get it," she said. "I really think we have to wake up and put child locks on guns, safe storage on guns, mandatory background checks and get rid of these high-capacity magazines."

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