Gun Violence: Recent Shootings Spark Discussion

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In 2023 alone, more than 11,500 people have died at the hands of gun violence (ABC News). With mass shootings on the rise, children, teenagers, and adults have equally been affected by guns and gun laws in the United States. Given our “freedoms” as Americans, the extent of our right to own guns has been heavily debated. President Joe Biden has recognized a need for a response to these persistent mass shootings, to a certain extent, and implemented policy to make efforts to end gun violence in America. Last June he signed a gun safety package into law. This reform, though not as far-reaching as some had hoped, was the first bill passed concerning assault weapons in decades. With advocates for gun reform at the forefront of possible change, progress is certainly of potential for our country’s future. 

Taken as a whole, it can be said that the public is against gun use in America. In a recent CNN poll, 66% of the Americans surveyed wanted stricter gun laws. In addition, 4 out of 10 people believed that current gun reforms are insufficient in reducing gun violence. However, other groups in the United States do not feel the need for more gun reform, with some blaming this epidemic on the “mental health crisis in the U.S.” (CNN). 

 Of the several hundred acts of gun violence this year, a substantial amount have been tied to race and discrimination. On April 13, Ralph Yarl, a 16-year-old, was shot twice by an 84-year-old homeowner. After going to the wrong house to pick up his siblings, the white homeowner shot the African-American boy in an attempt to stop him from “breaking in,” feeling threatened by “Yarl’s size” and inability to successfully defend himself.  The homeowner, Andrew Lester,  faces charges of assault in the first degree and armed criminal action (CNN News). This case has sparked an uprising in the Black Lives Matter movement, which became recognized in 2020, following the death of George Floyd. Chanting “Justice for Ralph” and carrying signs reading,“Ringing a doorbell is not a crime,” protesters have made a clear effort to prevent an individual from experiencing this again. 

Another recent act of gun violence occurred in North Carolina last week, where a 6-year-old and her parents and a neighbor were shot while retrieving a basketball from the neighbor’s lawn. Singletary allegedly fired at a neighbor before approaching a father and daughter, William James White and 6-year-old Kinsley White, who were both seriously wounded. Singletary is now in custody in Hillsborough County, Florida. The victims, father and daughter, are now recovering from the non-life threatening injuries.

Gun violence is a prevalent problem in our country. As more shootings occur, questions arise about whether our current gun policies are sufficient. While there are opposing views on how to address this issue, it is clear that some change is necessary to protect future generations.