In the US, Guns Get More Rights Than People

Ravi Baker, Reporter

It seems like every day we’re hearing about another death caused by gun violence. According to CDC data, guns are the leading cause of death in the U.S. for people under 20. There have been 173 mass shootings and 16 mass murders in the United States (as of April 24, 2023), according to the Gun Violence Archive. There were 690 mass shootings in the US in 2021, and 647 in 2022.

After the most recent shooting in Nashville, Tenn., many Republicans deflected from the issue of gun violence., making outrageous claims that the shooting was caused by the hormones the transgender suspect was taking during their transition, turning the very serious concern of gun violence into more fuel for their bigoted rhetoric against the LGBT community. Shortly after this shooting, two Tennessee lawmakers (Reps. Justin Jones, D-Nashville, and Justin Pearson, D-Memphis) were actually expelled after holding a protest on the House floor calling for gun control (although both lawmakers have since been reinstated).

Every shooting, no matter how big or small or how many lives are lost, signifies the incompetence of our country to address this issue. It represents our country’s failure to tend to the people we are meant to protect and govern, and in the worst cases, to the next generation of great minds that will never get to grow up in the world we’ve created for them.

The lawmakers who collect so much of their fundraising from the NRA and who attend their conventions dawning rifle lapel pins in place of the American flag need to be held accountable. Issuing messages of “thoughts and prayers” to avoid scrutiny won’t reverse the damage that’s been done, it won’t bring back the dead and it won’t make the public forget what you stand for. Lawmakers are more focused on restricting and banning books and drag performances, while little is being done to prevent further shootings.

Half of U.S. states allow citizens to openly carry a gun without a permit, including Kansas. Simply requiring mental health and background checks, licenses and restrictions on what kinds of guns one can own are small steps to fixing the gun violence issue. If we want to see a change, we have to make it happen. We need to continue rallying, protesting, and voting until something is done, because we can’t afford to let these tragedies continue.