The United States Senate for the first time in history passes an 80-page bipartisan bill for gun control as a rampage of Gun violence and mass shootings prevail in the US. Terror reigns over the American masses as a constant increment of mass shootings has been witnessed in the months leading up to July 2022.
The gravity of the situation has commanded a sense of urgency after the Highland Park shooting in which 7 were killed and 37 shot on the fourth of July during the independence day parade. The momentous day itself evokes a multitude of emotions yet the most prominent one on 4th July 2022 was fear. Insecurity has seeped into the psychological state of citizens as crowds panic at the sound of fireworks mistaking them for gunshots in Orlando, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Washington.
The mass shooting in Chicago, Illinois, not being the first or the most devastating in the US this year, has highlighted the loopholes in the gun laws of the state. The alleged shooter Robert Crimo,21 years of age was declared by the local authorities to be a ‘clear and present danger’ in 2019 when he threatened to kill his family yet three months later he successfully applied for a gun licence at the age of 19. This incident is a testimony to the impending need for ‘Background checks’ as propagated by gun control advocates. The past few months have presented two high-profile mass shootings that scaled global attention. The first one took place in the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two adults were shot dead. The second one was a racist attack on a supermarket in a majority Black neighbourhood in Buffalo, New York. killing 10 people. A common factor dominates this surging violence wounding the states, the propagators were 18-year-olds in legal possession of assault weapons.
According to the statistics by the Gun Violence Archive, 250 + mass shootings have taken place in the states in 2022.
The culmination of these bloodstained tragedies has resulted in reform desired for decades as 15 republicans voted in favour of the gun control measure resulting in the bill being passed with a majority of 65-33 votes. The triumph is historical as this is the first time reform is bestowed with support to this magnitude by democrats and republicans ( traditionally gun pro advocates ). The bill is also unique for it was passed subsequent to the landmark ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v Bruen by SCOTUS scrapping the century-old New York law ( demanded a ‘ proper cause’ from the applicants for a licence who wished to carry a gun outside of their homes.). Based on the second Amendment SCOTUS declares that it’s a constitutional right of Americans to carry firearms in public for self-defence. The judiciary lays emphasis on the implementation of the archaic law in contemporary times as the nation has developed on the basis and around its core founding laws which entail the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment states, ‘A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.’ The Irony lies in the fact that the law which was introduced for the protection of people is now being used as a weapon by the people and against the people.
In reprimand, the new law incites a strict licensing process to obtain a concealed weapon permit and a list of locations deemed “sensitive” where firearm possession will be illegal. A safety net has been cast over the states demarcating multiple places sensitive that law in its effectiveness poses a restraint on people to carry concealed weapons outside their homes without violating the new law in processing. Moreover, the bill introduces background checks for ammunition, sales gun owners will be required to store firearms in safe places in their residences if minors under the age of 18 are a resident ( the age was previously 16 ). The bill has been carefully crafted keeping in mind the wording of the SC judgement to strengthen the chances of it following through in the court.
An ideological gap is pertinent between the judiciary and the legislature, the pro-gun advocates and the gun control advocates. The question remains: Gun safety or Safety from Guns?
The author is an avid blogger and likes to write on matters of global and legal importance.