April 15, 2021 marked another violent day in America: mass shootings claimed nine lives and injured 21 more. Four shootings occurred in four different states on that day, bringing pain and fear to the many victims and their families’ lives. With such unbounded violence taking innocent lives, increased regulatory control is overdue.
Regrettably, this day of mass shootings is only a statistic due to dozens of other months with increased gun violence. Multiple shootings happen each day in the United States, with the annual rate skyrocketing. Mass shootings occur when three or more people are killed by an active shooter in a public place, according to the Investigative Assistance for Violent Crimes Act of 2012.
Compared to the 269 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2014, 2016 saw a rise to 382 cases, and 2020’s cases spiked drastically to 611. As of March 2021, 126 mass shootings have already occured, an increase of 44 cases compared to March 2020.
We might have shuddered with our mouths wide open when we heard the tragic news of a shooting outside a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, where 10 people lost their lives to a man with an assault rifle. We might have grieved with the Asian community as deranged gun-owners emptied lead into the bodies of eight Asian men and women only last month in Atlanta.
But our condolences and prayers only do so much. Eventually, these shootings become another statistic. When a mass shooting joins the list of the 150 shootings that have already occurred in the U.S. this year, we can only wait for the next one.
With the country losing hope for a safe environment and searching to be free of worry, citizens remain plagued with fear. We’ve seen a rise in shootings with no halt to the violence. The issue brings attention to a wildly controversial topic: gun control.
President Biden has taken a clear stance on gun control, actively pushing for more national restrictions. Currently, Biden is pushing to pass two bills for the sake of “banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines, repealing gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability, and investing in evidence-based community violence interventions.”
Since assault weapons are present in many mass shootings, a bill that restricts assault weapons is incredibly necessary. An assault rifle allows a shooter to fire at multiple targets much faster, and has no actual use except for hitting said targets. While it would be difficult to limit or completely eliminate handguns, it should be clear and obvious that there is no need for any citizen to own an assault rifle.
However, banning assault weapons is just the beginning of gun control; Biden’s plan outlines multiple points to increase accountability. Holding manufacturers accountable, buying back assault weapons, reducing stockpiling and tightening up the methods of allowing a gun purchase will hopefully reduce innocent deaths and meaningless killings.
Although Biden’s plan seems effective, I think that Congress should take more aggressive action to decrease shootings in our country. Ownership should be limited to a specific number of people, as the widespread gun access that is currently offered allows for easy weapon acquisition to almost everyone.
Regulation is only half the battle. Mental disability is often a factor in mass shooters. Offering more services towards those with mental issues and dedicating awareness and counseling to those in need are key to preventing shootings, in addition to the prevention of possession and sales to such individuals.
After a string of shootings that left us speechless in their wake, we realize again and again―with every day―that this danger won’t go away by itself. When the right to bear arms overshadows the people’s right to live, the line must be drawn.