While much of the nation is still reeling from news about two 21-year-old men who in less than a week apart, used a legally purchased firearm to massacre people in the United States, preliminary reports about multiple shootings over Friday night into Saturday morning, suggest that five people are dead and at least 22 others wounded on Chicago’s South Side, in New Jersey’s Edgewater Park, at the Virginia Beach oceanfront, and at a social club in the Fishtown area of Philadelphia.
The mass shootings in Colorado and Georgia are showing how hard it can be to prevent a tragedy, even while everyday bloodshed in communities all across America are giving new urgency to efforts to enact gun restrictions.
“President Biden inherited a vexing advance of gun homicides, suicides, domestic violence, mass shootings, and armed political violence that are all rising, but he was chosen to get results for the American people,” said Lisa McCormick, a New Jersey gun safety advocate.
“In the first three months of 2021, almost 10,000 Americans lost their lives to gun violence,” said McCormick. “Every American is concerned about the rising violence but Black and Brown communities are experiencing a disproportionate share of the tragedy, sorrow and pain associated with this traumatic crisis.”
“Gun violence killed eight people near Atlanta, Georgia, and 10 more people were killed in a Boulder, Colorado, grocery store only days ago but we cannot fail to recognize that this epidemic threatens Americans anytime, anywhere,” said McCormick. “Twenty seven more people died or were injured—two of them here in New Jersey—in a single night.”
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) extended sympathies to the survivors and families affected, following a difficult week in the nation, but once again the organization called on Congress to take meaningful action to to address this ongoing devastating epidemic.
“Our nation has mourned the past week following the highly publicized shootings in Atlanta and Boulder,” said Lauren Footman, CCSGV director of Outreach and Equity, who is based in Greater Philadelphia. “We saw a return to the all too familiar media coverage and to the back and forth political football debate about our nation’s gun violence epidemic.”
“If the past is prologue, the next step of the process is the media moving on to the next topic du jour and the American public losing interest in the issue until the next mass casualty shooting tragedy unfortunately and inevitably occurs. As an organization and as a nation, we must not let that happen,” said Footman.
“Neither Virginia Beach nor Philadelphia or Chicago will trend as hashtags with the word ‘strong’ attached to them. Flags across the nation will not fly at half-mast to remember the lives killed in these shootings, or in shootings in other cities across the nation,” saidFootman. “Three people are dead and multiple others remain in critical and life-threatening conditions this morning. These are not statistics, they are Americans.”
“And they are a reminder that this debate and the absolute need for true policy discussions around the ease and availability of guns, meaningful violence interruption program investments at the local, state, federal level, and a nationwide framework of strong evidence-based policies put into law to reduce gun violence and save lives,” said Footman.
“The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is one of many gun violence prevention and social justice organizations to sign on to a letter calling on the Biden administration to not hesitate and take immediate action on gun violence prevention. We are encouraged by preliminary reports of executive orders being readied by the president’s team — including a national investment in violence interruption programs and policies. But we must do more.
The background check expansion that passed the U.S. House and awaits action in the Senate must be a top priority, said McCormick.
“A functional, universal background check system is the bare minimum — but there are other evidence-based gun violence prevention policies that can be put in place at both the state and federal level,” said McCormick. “We cannot accept 40,000 dead Americans as the cost of gun ownership or simply say the Second Amendment won’t let us save lives.”
“#TheTimeisNow to finally address and end gun violence in all of its forms,” said Footman.