MS Risk Blog

Analytical report April: Armed shootings in the United States – Is now the time for gun reforms?  

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Within less than a week of one another in the month of March in the United States, there have been 2 major shootings leaving many innocent individuals dead. The 7th mass killing so far this year, it indicates that the tool (guns) that caused the deaths of the individuals has been amongst the subject of a larger debate once again on how the country can best manage events like these to stop reoccurring. President Biden has brought forward legislation to address the issues around gun ownership in the US, but getting enough support across the Senate to pass any significant laws will prove extremely difficult.

In the state of Colorado, lied a shopping plaza in the north-central city of Boulder. During the afternoon at around 14:30 on 22 March, a gunman took the lives of 10 people including a police officer named Eric Talley, at a grocery store. The attack was live-streamed by witnesses as well as being seen to have been uploaded on to YouTube. It had ended with the police detaining an injured suspect. What is left to be known is the motivation of the attack, nor knowing any other details regarding the other individuals who had lost their lives.

Just less than a week before the attack on Colorado, 8 people of Asian descent were also shot and killed in multiple shootings in Atlanta. At around 17:00 on 16 March , two people were shot and killed at Young Asian Massage in Acworth, Cherokee County. Another two people were taken to hospital and died, as well as many others wounded. Less than an hour later, police were called at a supposed robbery at Gold Spa in north Atlanta. There, 3 women were shot dead, as well as another spa named Aromatherapy Spa they found another woman who had been killed. All 4 of the victims were Asian women. Police had studied CCTV footage from nearby and located the shooter, Robert Aaron Long around 150 miles south of Atlanta where he was arrested during a manhunt. Despite no official motivation being established from authorities for why Long had carried out these attacks, there is a fear that the crimes were racially motivated.

Despite the motivations for both shootings being mixed, it does show the dangers and extreme loss of life caused by shootings in the US. According to the Gun Violence Archive, in 2020, there have been a verified 19,387 homicide-related deaths reported in the country including over 24,000 suicides. Regarding the large number of deaths and loss of life due to the mass shootings from the use of guns in the United States, President Biden has become further motivated to take action.

Starting this month, President Biden has argued for serious gun reforms. Despite the protections reinforced by the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, President Biden has pushed forward a plan to ban assault weapons and high-capacity gun magazines, as well as to end any potential loopholes in background checks when trying to apply for gun licences.

As much as this is important legislation brought forward by President Biden, similar sentiment has been made and repeated throughout various times following major mass shootings in the US where little gets done. Due to the 50/50 split between republicans and democrats currently in the senate, it makes passing any gun control laws difficult, as many Republicans, including former US President Trump feel as if it is impending on their constitutional right.

As a way of avoiding the obstacles involving congress, President Biden has most recently planned to enact an executive order, targeting the banning of homemade “ghost guns” which have no serial numbers and therefore make them difficult to trace. President Biden is expecting to enact these measures through an executive order, essentially bypassing the previous issues he had within congress. He has given the Justice Department 30 days to come up with a new rule to reduce the number of “ghost guns” and further proves that a strong effort is being made in moving in the right direction against the prevention of further mass shootings.