America’s gun violence epidemic
June 1, 2018 -- Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in December 2012 – in which 20 children and six adults died – the U.S. has seen more than 2,080 mass shootings which have resulted in over 2,700 deaths.
America’s relationship to gun ownership -- enshrined as a right in the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution -- is at the centre of the debate over gun control in the U.S.
However, it is the regular occurrence of mass shootings that reignites America’s debate over gun control. There have already been 143 mass shootings in the first five months of 2018. Members of Congress offer “thoughts and prayers” in response to each atrocity, but the gun lobby consistently blocks policy attempts aimed at stemming gun violence.
At the heart of the gun lobby is the National Rifle Association which helped Republican Donald Trump to the presidency with $30 million of support.
Legislation to expand FBI background checks on gun sales from firearms dealers to private and internet sales, and a ban on weapons sales to suspected terrorists, have all been rejected. Likewise has President Barack Obama’s memorandum to block gun sales to people with mental health problems -- President Trump repealed this as soon as he took office.
Now, in Trump’s budget for 2019 which begins in October, federal funds for background checks, including domestic violence records, are to be cut from $73 million to $61 million. Meanwhile, Americans continue to face tragedies involving guns.