Recent Gun Law Decisions Show Division Between Public and Government

Recent Gun Law Decisions Show Division Between Public and Government

Last month, the nation witnessed back-to-back mass shootings; at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas and the Tops supermarket in Buffalo, NY, causing another surge in awareness around the topic of gun control.

As we have seen, this is nothing new. Mass shootings and gun violence have only increased in recent years, and this trend is likely to continue. In 2020, 14 shootings took place in a span of five months in Alameda alone. In January of this year, there was an armed robbery attempt in Alameda’s Monkey Thai location.

However, the recent shootings seem to have pushed the discussion around gun control to a breaking point. Because on June 23, the Senate passed a piece of legislation with the purpose of preventing potentially dangerous people from accessing guns. The question: Will it be enough?

Some argue that the only way to effectively end gun violence is by repealing the Second Amendment, which has given Americans the right to carry arms since the creation of this country.

The Second Amendment was created in a time when the world was fundamentally different than the one we live in today. It is important to remember that the Constitution, along with the rest of our country’s foundational structures and laws, were created when the country was a small colony rebelling against massive empires without even a standing army as protection. People had to hunt for themselves, making a gun a necessity in any functional household. Recall the racial setting of the United States as well: as white colonists encroached on the land of native peoples, skirmishes became common. These same white people owned enslaved people as well, and how else would these stolen people be kept in line if not with the threat of a weapon?

The debate over gun control reforms indicates an even larger problem: our country has grown out of its first set of clothes. Laws like the Second Amendment do not apply to our lives the way they applied to the lives of our Founding Fathers.

Previously, we may have thought of making changes to the Constitution or the Bill of Rights as impossible, but the Senate’s historic decision to pass the largest firearms regulation bill in 30 years changes things.

The bill not only requires further background checks and the removal of firearms from those who may be considered a threat, but also includes $15 billion in funding mental health programs and school security measures.

While this accomplishment is monumental in the effort to end gun violence, this negotiation is far less than what its advocates originally proposed. By introducing $15 billion in funding for both mental health support and school security, it leaves ambiguity as to how much is being invested in each area. Strengthening school security merely places a Band-Aid on a wound that has been festering for decades. Even more, the Senate’s decision took place just hours after the Supreme Court blocked a New York law proposing restrictions on who should be legally allowed to carry a gun, showing how deep the division on gun laws runs through our government.

Although the fight is far from over, this marks the first steps in the right direction. Even after the recent horrors of Uvalde and Buffalo, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Stella Madsen is an Encinal High School student