A Frightening Rise in Mass Shootings - How Will the Biden Administration Respond?
Over the last four months, Americans have seen a significant rise in the number of mass shootings across the country. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 133 mass shootings in the United States since January, 2021. On March 16, a gunman opened fire in three Atlanta-area spas killing eight people, most of whom were of Asian descent. Six days later, another gunman killed 10 people in a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado. Thus, as the number of mass shootings continues to increase, the issue of gun regulation has gained more and more attention over the recent months. On April 8, 2021, President Joe Biden announced new gun reform executive actions, saying in a press conference that “gun violence in the country is an epidemic. And it’s an international embarrassment.”
In a White House announcement, President Biden’s administration stated that it would pursue six initial actions without Congress’s approval. Despite the slim Democratic majority in the Senate, the President has announced his gun reform executive actions as a call for change and lawmakers will work to pass effective legislation. Some of Mr. Biden’s executive actions include requiring the Department of Justice to implement regulation on “ghost guns,” or makeshift gun kits that do not include serial numbers, which make them difficult to trace. In addition, the Department of Justice will have to limit access to stabilizing braces, which help make certain semi-automatic rifles shoot more accurately. According to the White House, the gunman that killed 10 people in Colorado had used a stabilizing brace. Hence, President Biden said in a statement: “Whether Congress acts or not, I’m going to use all of the resources at my disposal as president of the United States to protect Americans from gun violence.”
Another part of the President’s plan is to invest in community-based outreach and violence intervention programs, which several gun reform advocates say are the most effective tools in battling gun violence. President Biden also wants to demonstrate “red flag” legislation for states to pass; the legislation is a concept that would allow family members or law enforcement to petition a court to ban people in crisis from buying weapons. The White House stated that it’s hoping Congress will pass similar legislation on a federal level. The President also nominated David Chipman, a gun safety advocate, as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Key facts about gun violence in America:
- 40,000 Americans die from gun violence every year, which averages to 100 Americans per day.
- The United States accounts for 4% of the world’s population, but 35% of global firearm suicides.
- According to Giffords.org, a site that provides facts and information about America’s gun violence epidemic, “America has the weakest gun laws and the most guns.”
- The United States is said to own 393 million firearms.
- Americans are 25 times more likely to be killed in a gun homicide compared to people in other high-income countries.
- According to the Gun Violence Archive, more than 11,000 gun deaths have occurred in the U.S. since January.
- Almost every American will know at least once victim that died to gun violence in their lifetime.
- In 2017, 39,773 Americans had lost their lives to gun violence; with this new statistic, gun deaths had reached their highest level in at least 40 years.
March For Our Lives, the organization founded by the 2018 Parkland, Florida school shooting survivors, praised President Biden’s new plan for gun reform following Thursday’s announcement. The organization said in a statement, “Young people have called for bold, forceful action to end this crisis and we are encouraged to see the administration begin to fulfill some of its campaign promises, especially in the wake of a series of preventable gun tragedies.” They added: “Even so, there remains more to be done. We’ve called on President Biden to issue executive orders that close the boyfriend loophole, and hold gun manufacturers accountable by revoking licenses from manufactures who break the law.”
March For Our Lives also asked the president to appoint a Director of Gun Violence Prevention to ensure “the understanding that this crisis disproportionately impacts our most vulnerable populations, and requires the full weight of our government to bring innovative, comprehensive solutions.”
John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit organization that advocates for gun reform, said in a statement: “Each of these executive actions will start to address the epidemic of gun violence that has raged throughout the pandemic, and begin to make good on President Biden’s promise to be the strongest gun safety president in history.” Hopefully, as President Biden and legislators work to enact change, Americans will see a decline in gun violence and finally understand the importance of gun safety.