In response to recent mass shootings the majority of Americans are calling for gun reform, yet politicians continue to ignore the calls.
By Riley Mulcahy
Last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic first started, there was a silence in America. This silence became a welcomed respite for a country that has struggled to contain gun violence for decades, however with states beginning to open up; there has been a resurgence of mass shootings in America. Many news outlets define the term “Mass Shooting” as a shooting that involves four or more victims. Just in 2021 alone, there have been more than 120 mass shootings across the country, and we are not even five months into the year.
America has a domestic terrorism problem, and the solution is not as tricky as politicians in Washington want you to believe. There need to be universal background checks, a ban on assault, military-style weapons that are often used for shootings, and more education on mental health. Republicans argue that humans are responsible for the shooting, not the gun. Although this sounds logical in theory, that is where it ends. We do not hear reports of mass stabbings or mass beatings that result in dozens dead. People struggling with mental illness should not have access to guns, and the general public should not have access to firearms that have one use: to kill enemies without the need to reload your weapon.
Even when little kids have died from gun violence, there is a lack of action amongst politicians. In 2012, Americans thought that maybe a gunman going into Sandy Hook elementary school and killing innocent students might affect some change. However, the most action that there has been in regards to Sandy Hook is conspiracy theorists such as Alex Jones going after victims and calling them “crisis actors.”
When high schoolers took action after the 2018 Parkland High School shooting, there was a feeling that something might happen. Instead, students again were attacked and told to “learn CPR instead of marching” by disgraced former Senator (R-PA) Rick Santorum. The process of enacting meaningful change will ruffle a few feathers, but Santorum’s statement is not a few feathers. Sadly, it shows how America views the Second Amendment and guns in this country, that firearms and the protection of assault-style weapons are more important than innocent children’s lives.
How do we go forward? Although there are actionable steps, it has been discouraging to see Washington’s lack of legislative progress. Gun control is needed in a country that cannot control Americans by shooting innocent Americans, and we have reached that point. Even though Democrats won back the government in 2020, if we do not end the filibuster, any meaningful laws will be at the hands of the Republicans, hands that have blood on them. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a Democrat, came out in the last weeks denouncing any filibuster reform, which means gun reform will likely die on the Senate floor. Even though he lost the election, Minority Leader McConnell is smiling. He knows that he has the votes to block gun reform, which considering the NRA’s influence in Republican politics, is a massive win for him. The minority party should not have the power to change the American people’s will, especially when there are lives at stake.
The majority of Americans want gun reform. Eighty million people voted for Biden under the pretense that real change would finally happen with gun reform, correcting America’s racial inequalities and an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. When everyone is struggling, there is a need to become bold in protecting American citizens, not shy away from it due to old archaic and racist rules such as the filibuster and the electoral college. America has the right to vote for America’s vision every four years, and the current administration mustn’t take responsibility for granted.
Victoria Vidales '21,