It seems that regardless of who sits in the White House in Washington, the sad reality of gun violence remains an intractable problem for Americans. Over the past weekend, a series of mass shootings across the US left at least a dozen people dead and a further 70 injured, with countless families suffering from the loss of loved ones or simply counting their blessings that they can recount tales of survival now.
Many Americans have an enduring affinity for weapons, cherishing their constitutionally enshrined right to bear arms – a legal curiosity that dates back to the American Revolution and is now wholly endorsed by supporters of the National Rifle Association. For many, the dichotomy that exists between guns and an opposition to affordable healthcare remains a paradox of American society.
Scale of the problem
The shootings last weekend took place in Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana, South Carolina, Virginia Texas and Minnesota. So far this year, some 7,500 have died in gun violence, and there has been a 23 per cent increase in gun violence this year, advocates and analysts say. Those figures are hard to fathom, but they also represent the scale of the problem that needs to be addressed.
As Vice President, Joe Biden worked on the gun control portfolio. Whatever advances that were made then had been rolled back during the Trump administration. Now, as President, it’s time for Biden to seriously tackle the scale of American’s love affair with guns.
Since coming to office, President Biden has had many issues to confront. Coronavirus and the need to vaccinate as many people as possible has been a pressing priority, so too opening up the US once more, making sure that jobs were secure and that the economic foundations of his nation were secure.
The issues arising from the November election and the events that unfolded on Capitol Hill also needed his time and energy, so too prioritising a domestic agenda that resets the diversions of the past four years.
But President Biden has proven himself thus far to be a man of actions. And right now, gun control is pressing – and the families of those 7,500 victims this year are calling for action.
Never again should killers have easy access to weapons, never again should they be able to arm themselves to the teeth or use high-powered weaponry that are meant for the battlefield. Now is the time for action.