When are we going to get serious about gun control?

8/22/2019, 2:58 p.m.
Where does one even start? The United States is averaging roughly one massive shooting per day.
Gun violence/shooting Stockvault/Val Lawless photo

Where does one even start? The United States is averaging roughly one massive shooting per day. What these tragic events are consistently showing residents (and the rest of the world) is that no one is immune to the horrors of gun violence. Some of the worst mass shootings have taken place while individuals were doing the most mundane activities. Those worshipping in a mosque, church, temple, or synagogue, the young and elderly, families shopping or young adults clubbing or enjoying time with friends at a bar or simply young people going to elementary or high school—it is now abundantly clear that our elected officials in Washington, D.C. refuse to take this issue seriously. Even after one of their own Republican colleagues was shot while playing a friendly game of softball with his colleagues and another Democratic colleague was shot at a campaign event, legislators in D.C. continue to drag their feet when it comes to substantive gun control.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has on more than one occasion blocked potential legislation that has successfully passed through the House in a relatively bipartisan fashion. His inaction and downright obstinance to any sort of comprehensive gun legislation pertaining to assault weapons, background checks, or right to carry laws clearly illustrate the power of the NRA. After each tragedy, McConnell makes a speech that essentially says, “This is not the time to discuss gun legislation.” Instead, he implores the nation to continue offering thoughts and prayers to family members. For the Majority Leader, it is never a good time to discuss legislation, because he has no interest in doing his job and figuring out a way to protect his fellow Americans.

The diverse communities who have been affected by the tragic and unnecessary gun violence—whether due to guns in cities and communities or assault rifles in the hands of white supremacists —does not seem to affect McConnell or many of his Senate Republican colleagues. Far too many bills have died in the Senate at the behest of the Majority Leader. And as I watched twenty Democrats debate in Miami and Detroit in hopes of becoming the next Democratic presidential nominee, I wondered how more effective some of their ambitions would be if they stayed in the Senate, ran for Senate, or supported and helped fund those interested in dedicating their lives to public service.

I don’t have a solution to what feels like an epidemic. I do hope state legislators across the country will lead the charge and pass bipartisan laws to curtail the use and purchase of assault weapons. We must not become immune to these tragedies and the lives lost due to the inaction of our elected officials.

Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” the co-host of the new podcast FAQ-NYC, and the host of The Aftermath and The Counter on Ozy.com.