Opinion: We Need to Reform the Reality of Gun Violence in America

A man holds a gun in both hands. As media coverage has shifted to giving the latest updates on COVID-19, awareness surrounding gun violence in America has fallen despite mass shootings rising (Photo via Wikimedia Commons).

With most of the country in lockdown last year, gun violence seemed to be at a low for the U.S. The switch to remote learning eliminated the possibility of school shootings, which usually draw immediate and national attention, and news sources worked to provide around-the-clock updates on COVID-19. 

Perhaps unintentionally, mass shootings were given minimal attention.

This lack of coverage translated to lack of awareness. In the era of COVID-19, gun violence became a secondary priority as media outlets rushed to push out the latest news on the virus. As a result, many have been disillusioned to believe that gun violence has disappeared.

In reality, the opposite is true. 

Recent data from the Gun Violence Archive shows that the number of multiple-victim shootings spiked last April and has been high since. Evidence for increased gun sales at the start of the pandemic might serve as a partial explanation. In March 2020, the FBI conducted more than 3.7 million background checks for individuals purchasing firearms. 

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have already been 163 mass shootings this year, and more than 13,000 lives have been lost. Just two weeks ago, America mourned the loss of eight people who were killed in a shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis. Days later, a Black teenager was shot and killed by a police officer in Columbus, Ohio, within hours of Derek Chauvin’s conviction. 

President Joe Biden made an announcement earlier this month denouncing the recent events, calling gun violence in America an “international embarrassment.” He introduced several new measures to tackle this “embarrassment,” but they don’t meet all of his campaign promises and are unlikely to make it through a Republican-majority legislature. 

Later this week, Biden is expected to announce a ban on menthol cigarettes, so it’s uncertain how long gun violence will remain a priority. 

Until firm plans for resolution are made, it’s unlikely that we’ll see a decrease in gun violence, particularly given recent data provided by the Gun Violence Archive.

Gun violence is a problem in Albion just as it is everywhere else. Last December, a 22 year-old man was shot and killed in the downtown area, prompting a police investigation. Police described the situation as a “domestic confrontation.”

Mauricio Perez Garcia, president of Albion’s chapter of College Democrats, spoke on behalf of his organization to detest the violence seen around the country.

“One should ever feel unsafe within their community. As we continue to see a rising number of murders due to gun violence, we can no longer be contempt with our current lax regulations regarding guns,” Perez Garcia said.

Cameron Hall, president of College Republicans, did not respond in time for publication of this article. 

As the pandemic has shown, gun violence is a persistent and perpetual problem in the United States. There’s no way around this reality: Without reform, innocent people will continue to have their lives and liberties stolen from them.

About Olivia Grantham 7 Articles
Olivia is a junior at Albion College, where she's pursuing a major in Creative Writing. In addition to being a staff writer for the Pleiad, she's a Transfer Mentor at the Cutler Center and the Fiction Editor for The Albion Review. Olivia is also part of the Poetry Club and spends her free time lip-synching to loud music.

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