By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
Gun violence is entirely too common in America. Advocate groups and individuals across the nation have been calling for common sense gun laws, and earlier this week, the president joined them.
President Joe Biden gave a speech laying out his gun violence prevention agenda on Thursday, April 8. The agenda consists of six action steps that will address what Biden called, the gun violence public health epidemic.
“Gun violence in this country is an epidemic,” he said, adding that 316 people are shot every single day in this country.
In addition to the daily shootings, there have been several recent mass shootings recently. And it begs the question, when will it be enough? What will be the final shot that enables Congress to act and establish common sense gun laws?
Many advocate groups aren’t asking for the eradication of the Second Amendment, which grants U.S. citizens the right to bare arms, instead they’re asking for common sense gun laws including background checks and ‘red flag’ laws.
According to the BBC News, the United States saw 14,400 gun-related homicides in 2019. The news outlet calculated that 73% of homicides in the U.S. in 2019 were gun-related killings compared to 39% in Canada and 22% in Australia.
Mother Jones, a news outlet that has a mass shootings database, has noted several mass shootings in 2021 so far as of April 1. While groups disagree how many people need to be shot or killed for it to be considered a mass shooting, the weapon of choice remains the same.
A pinned tweet by Moms Demand Action, a national grassroots group under Everytown For Gun Safety, from April 1 read, “More than 100 lives are taken and some 230 are wounded by gun violence each day the Senate does not take action.”
Following Biden’s remarks, the White House Briefing room published a fact sheet detailing the six starting steps in Biden’s plan.
The steps are as follows: The Justice Department will issue a proposal to stop the production of “ghost guns”; the Justice Department will issue a proposed rule that makes it clear when a stabilizing brace turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle; the Justice Department will publish model “red flag” legislation for states; the Biden-Harris Administration will invest in community violence interventions; the Justice Department will issues an annual report on firearms trafficking and the president will nominate David Chipman to serve as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
“My job, the job of any president, is to protect the American people,” Biden said. “Whether Congress acts or not, I’m going to use all the resources at my disposal as president to keep the American people safe from gun violence. But there’s much more that Congress can do to help that effort and they can do it right now.”
He stated his beliefs that the Senate should pass three bills that have already been passed by the House, which will close loopholes that allow people to buy guns. The first requires background checks for any gun purchase be it at a gun show or online. The second is to close the “Charleston” loophole, which allows a gun purchase to go through if the FBI doesn’t complete the background check within the three days. And the third is the Violence Against Women Act, which prevent considered by the court to be an abuser for having guns.
Biden acknowledged that more work needs to be done while expressing his belief that progress is possible.
“No matter how long it takes, we’re going to get these passed,” he said. “We’re not going to give up. We have an opportunity to fulfill the first responsibility of government: to keep our people safe. And in the process, we can show the world and show ourselves that democracy works, that we can come together and get big things done.”