Following two mass shootings in the space of a fortnight, in which over 30 people lost their lives, US President Joe Biden has called on Congress to make instant change in gun legislation.
21 people (19 of whom were children) were shot and killed in a horrific school shooting in Texas yesterday, and there has already been 213 mass shootings (where four or more people are shot and/or killed) in America this year, including 27 school shootings.
That overall figure rose from just over 300 in 2018 to 692 last year, with both sides of Congress referring to Australia’s response to the Port Arthur massacre in 1996 (where all semi-automatic weapons were banned, and then-Prime Minister John Howard implemented a buyback scheme for guns nationwide).
There has not been a mass shooting in Australia since.
That said, the University of Sydney’s David Smith said that the US has over 70 million rifles currently in action, meaning a “violent backlash” could be enacted towards state governments if an Australian-style buyback or carrying restriction was to be adopted, and that such legislation most likely would not have prevented the Robb Elementary shooting yesterday.
“The gunman had just turned 18, he had gone and legally bought two rifles,” he said.
“Unless he had a criminal record or violent background, a background check would have done nothing.
“The gunman in Buffalo (where 10 African-American people were killed in what appears to be a racially-motivated crime) had passed a background check.”
Legislation that the Democrats want to pass include mandatory background checks and verification of no criminal history or violent mental health issues, but it looks unlikely that the House-passed bills have a chance of passing through the evenly split Senate.
Biden referenced consistent polling from Americans wanting harsher restrictions on guns.
“Why are we willing to live with this carnage, why do we keep letting this happen?”, the President decried yesterday.
“It’s time to turn this pain into action.
“For every parent, for every citizen in this country, we have to make it clear to every elected official in this country: it’s time to act.”
These kinds of mass shootings rarely happen anywhere else in the world.
Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Where in God's name is our backbone to have the courage to stand up to the gun lobby?
It is time to turn this pain into action.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) May 25, 2022
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has been routinely criticised for its stance for gun ownership rights, and staunchly defends the oft-quoted Second Amendment from the US Constitution allowing citizens of the United States to bear arms.
The lobbyist group’s belief that every American has the right to a gun is one of the fundamental issues facing the “freedoms” that the US advertises, as over 30 per cent of all citizens currently own a firearm.
Following the Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut in 2012, the NRA blamed the lack of an armed guard at the school for the tragedy, which received almost universal condemnation from both sides of the political spectrum.
Biden held back tears yesterday in an emotional address to the country, saying he had hoped he “would not have to do this again”.
“Another massacle – Uvalde, Texas … An elementary school.”