by Elise Yu
The past summer saw many devastating mass shootings throughout the United States.
Virginia Beach, VA: On May 31, “a civil engineer for the Public Utilities Department in Virginia Beach, opened fire inside a municipal building adjacent to City Hall.” Twelve people were killed.
Gilroy, CA: On July 28, a nineteen-year-old opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. He killed three people, including a six-year-old boy and thirteen-year-old girl. According to CNN, “The gunman…had a shotgun, a clown mask and wilderness survival items in his car, according to a newlyreleased search warrant… the [FBI] has opened a domestic terrorist investigation into the shooting due to a list of potential targets that was found while searching the shooter’s digital media.”
El Paso, TX: On August 3, a 21-year-old from Allen, Texas opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, killing 22 people. The LA Times reports that the shooter, “may be linked to an antiimmigrant manifesto that appeared on the website 8chan in advance of the shootings that warned of an “invasion” of Latino immigrants. The attack left at least 26 people wounded.”
Dayton, OH: On August 4, a gunman killed nine, including his sister, and injured approximately 27 others during a shooting spree in the historic Oregon District of Dayton. The gunman was killed by police. Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said that without the quick response from law enforcement, “hundreds of people in the Oregon District could be dead today.”
Odessa, TX: On August 31, a gunman shot over 20 people, including a state trooper, and killed seven people in random attacks in Odessa and Midland. “He was eventually killed during a shootout with police outside a movie theater.”
Following these tragedies, companies and lawmakers took action and responded to these devastating events.
CVS, Walgreens, and Wegmans have all requested that customers not openly carry guns in their stores. In a statement, CVS said that they “support the efforts of individuals and groups working to prevent gun violence.” Similarly, Wegmans said that they are, “joining other retailers in asking our customers to no longer openly carry firearms into our stores other than authorized law enforcement officials.”
In response to the shootings in Texas, Texas governor Greg Abbott said, “I have been to too many of these events as governor,” he said. “I am tired of the dying in Texas. Too many Texans have lost their lives. The status quo in Texas is unacceptable and action is needed.” Abbott signed nine new laws loosening gun control.
The Guardian writes, “The new laws allow more armed marshals to patrol Texas schools. They permit citizens without a license to carry handguns in the middle of disaster zones, and they give the green light to licensed weapons being stored inside cars in school parking lots.
“Another new rule clears the way for licensed handguns to be carried inside churches and other places of worship. The law comes into effect almost two years after the massacre at Sutherland Springs where 27 worshippers were gunned down as they prayed inside their Baptist church.”
The Guardian states that Abbott’s new gun laws are based on the NRA’s slogan that “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
Conversely, “the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution this week declaring the National Rifle Association a domestic terrorist organization.” An article by the New York Times discusses how Supervisor Catherine Stefani responded to the resolution two days following the Gilroy Garlic Festival Shooting. The article states, “’The N.R.A. exists to spread pro-gun propaganda and put weapons in the hands of those who would harm and terrorize us,’ Ms. Stefani said in a statement. ‘Nobody has done more to fan the flames of gun violence than the N.R.A.’”
Stefani points out that the United States has a gun homicide rate 25 times higher than any other high-income country, and that there are approximately 393 million guns in the United States. This means that there are more guns than people in the US.
The New York Times reports, ““Every country on earth has video games, movies and mental health issues, and yet only the U.S. has gun violence at elementary schools, at the movies, at Walmart,” Ms. Stefani said. “The difference is guns. No other country has so many assault rifles on their streets.”” In response to the Supervisor’s strong rhetoric, Amy Hunter, an NRA spokesperson, said, “This is just another worthless and disgusting ‘sound-bite remedy’ to the violence epidemic gripping our nation.”
With all of the recent shootings on US soil and the drastically different reactions from different politicians, gun control continues to be a pressing issue throughout the United States.