Thoughts and Prayers are not Enough
Debra Schrishuhn for the PDA National Team
FedEx facility in Indianapolis, IN; an apartment complex in Pensacola, FL; West Virginia Avenue NE in Washington, DC; a dice game in Baltimore, MD; Eisenhower Expressway in Chicago, IL; a house party in Wichita, KS; a parking lot in Seattle, WA; a neighborhood in Memphis, TN; a convenience store in Koshkonong, MO; Gasparri Lane in Waterbury, CT; a house party in Allendale, MI; Southwest Loop of 820 freeway in Fort Worth, TX; a cabinet manufacturer in Bryan, TX; a private residence outside Rock Hill, SC; a gas station in Milwaukee, WI; Cornerstone Village neighborhood in Detroit, MI; Emondson Avenue in Baltimore, MD; Bobo’s Bar in Monroe, LA; Patton Park in Birmingham, AL; two private residences in Beaumont, TX; a house party in Wilmington, NC; the parking lot of Roxy’s Nightclub in Tuscaloosa, AL; a private residence in suburban Dallas, TX; Klub Vibez in Quincy, FL.
What do these 24 locations have in common? No, they are not sites of COVID-19 super-spreader events. They are locations of mass shootings since April 1, 2021—defined as injuring/killing at least four people—some resulting in multiple deaths, and some not. We don’t know the precise motives for some of these crimes. What we do know is that the victims, perpetrators, and circumstances cross boundaries of geography, race, ethnicity, class, gender, age, income, education, and political ideology. And we know that these are the outlier examples of gun violence—most gun deaths are suicides and most involve handguns, and a shooting more likely results in fewer than four injuries or deaths.
Gun violence is an epidemic in the U.S. In thrall to the National Rifle Association with disregard for the urgent need for comprehensive sensible gun safety regulation, Republicans (and some Democrats) have stubbornly resisted even the mildest measures to rein in our out-of-control gun culture in the U.S.
On March 11, the House took a small step forward. It passed H.R.8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, with 219 Democratic and 8 Republican votes. H.R.8 prohibits a firearm transfer between private parties unless a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer, or importer first takes possession of the firearm to conduct a background check, excepting certain firearm transfers or exchanges, such as a gift between spouses in good faith. Still, 202 Republicans and one Democrat voted against its passage.
H.R.8 was received in the Senate, and although Majority Leader Schumer vowed to bring it up for a vote, more than five weeks have passed with no action. Meanwhile over 100 people die daily from gun violence.
Please contact your Senators today and demand passage of H.R.8. Your actions make a difference. Act now.
PDA works with allies to advance gun safety regulation. To continue and expand our efforts, we need your generous support.