Supermarkets in Buffalo and in Boulder, a birthday party in Colorado Springs, a synagogue in Pittsburg, a musical festival in Las Vegas, a Waffle House in Nashville, and a nightclub in Orlando are only a few examples of where mass shootings take place in the United States. School shootings are not unusual either: Sandy Hook Elementary School and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are just two recent examples.
There have ben212 mass shootingsso far in 2022 alone. At this point, American gun violence is expected.
On May 24, the cycle of gun violence continued when 19 children and 2 adults were murdered in a school shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. The students of Robb Elementary were attending their last week of school before summer break when a gunman opened fire on the students and teachers. The gunman, now identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was a student attending a nearby high school. Ramos shot his grandmother in her home before arriving at the school.
Now, state representatives and legislators are investigatinghowthis cycle can be broken.
Are Texas Laws to Blame?
In 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbottsigned a law that eliminated license requirements for Texans to carry handguns. In other words, anyone over the age of 21 became eligible to obtain a handgun, as most restrictions were taken away.
Governor Abbott considered the bill last year to be “the strongest Second Amendment legislation in Texas history.”
When the law was implemented, gun rights advocates were concerned about the potential impact of the bill on the already surging gun violence.
Senate Democrats Push for Legislation
“Nowhere else do little kids go to school thinking that they might be shot that day,” Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut said in a speech.
Only a few hours after the shooting, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, moved quickly to bring to the floor legislation that strengthens background checks for those obtaining guns.
The bills would increase criminal background checks and lengthen the waiting period for gun purchases“flagged by the instant background checksystem to allow more time for the F.B.I. to investigate.” Although passed by the House in 2019, these measures have been blocked by Republican senators. Even after the massacre in Texas, it is still uncertain and unclear as to whether or not Republican senators have changed their stances on the matter.
“What are we doing?” said Senator Chris Murphy on the Senate floor. “Why do you spend all this time running for the United States Senate? Why do you go through all the hassle of getting this job, of putting yourself in a position of authority, if your answer is that as the slaughter increases, as our kids run for their lives, we do nothing?”
“It’s Just Sick”: President Biden Reacts To The Shooting
When addressing citizens following the massacre, President Biden asked, “Why? Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen?”
Biden continued to comment on how “it’s just sick” that weapons are so easily available in the United States without necessary background checks and additional procedures.
In his speech, Biden called out gun manufacturers and their representatives in Washington. The president encouraged politicians to take action against the recurring gun violence.
However, Biden did not present any gun control proposals, and he did not request for Congress to come together to vote on any specific legislation.
“The gun manufacturers have spent two decades aggressively marketing assault weapons, which make them the most and largest profit,” Biden stated. “For God’s sake, we have to have the courage to stand up to the industry.”
Has Much Changed Since Sandy Hook?
On December 14, 2012, 26 people ,including 20 students and 6 adults, were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School located in Newtown, Connecticut. The shooting, the worst elementary school shooting in American history, sent shockwaves throughout the country.
Now, a decade later, parents of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting deal with the news of the shooting at Robb Elementary School. Neil Heslin, whose son died in the 2012 shooting at the age of six, explained, “I guess it’s something in society we know will happen again, over and over”in an interview with The New York Times.
Mr. Heslin continued to explain that he “felt compelled” to watch the coverage. “It’s almost like an instant replay of Sandy Hook,” he added.
Unquestionably, the Robb Elementary School shooting will ignite debates surrounding gun control. The question is whether elected officials will finally decide enough is enough.