Officials said mass shootings in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago and Fort Worth resulted in casualties. These shootings happened just before July 4, celebrated as Independence Day in the United States is a sobering reminder of the country’s decades-long struggle to reduce gun violence.
According to reports on July 4, three people were killed and eight wounded in a mass shooting at Fort Worth. On July 3, Eight people, including two children, were shot in a southwest neighbourhood of Philadelphia. On July 2, two people were killed and 28 others injured in a mass shooting incident at a block party in Baltimore. A sidewalk shooting occurred on June 30 night in Chicago, leaving one person dead and three others injured.
Due to these recent events in the US, President Joe Biden has appealed to lawmakers to take action and illustrated the country’s ongoing struggle with gun violence. He denounced the carnage and reiterated calls for tightening the inadequate gun regulations.
In a statement issued by the White House on July 4, Biden urged Republican lawmakers to join him in advancing “commonsense reforms,” such as a ban on assault weapons, widespread background checks, and an end to the legal immunity enjoyed by gun manufacturers.
Biden stated, “Over the last few days, our nation has once again endured a wave of tragic and senseless shootings in communities across America — from Philadelphia to Fort Worth, Baltimore to Lansing, Wichita to Chicago”.
In his statement, Biden said the “epidemic of gun violence” in the US is “tearing our communities apart”. The US has some of the highest gun ownership rates in the world, yet there are more mass shootings here than in comparable nations. The Gun Violence Archive has recorded 346 mass shootings in the US in the first half of this year. Mass shootings are defined as instances of gun violence in which at least four people are hurt or killed. In fifteen of those situations, 16 persons were killed in the previous week.
In his remarks, Biden remembered the seven people who died when a gunman opened fire on an Independence Day celebration in Highland Park, Illinois, one year ago, murdering seven people, as per reports. Biden wrote, “In mere moments, this day of patriotic pride became a scene of pain and tragedy.”
Even as the White House has called for bipartisan action in response to the tragedy, conservative lawmakers have mainly opposed curbs to gun access, invoking the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment of the US Constitution. In Florida, for instance, a law that repeals the prior requirements for training and licencing went into effect on July 1 and permitted people to carry a concealed handgun without permission.
Additionally, according to reports, conservative Supreme Court judges have questioned gun licensing limits in left-leaning states like New York and declared some of them illegal. Conservative lawmakers contend that people can protect themselves by having access to firearms and that efforts to restrict gun ownership have no impact on overall rates of violence. The National Rifle Association (NRA) and other pro-gun lobbying organisations have significant political influence in the US.
In a rare move, Congress passed a bipartisan gun safety law in June 2022, restricting the sale of firearms to people convicted of domestic violence and expanding background checks. Biden signed into law a gun safety package passed by Congress, and while not as sweeping as he requested and did not include a ban on assault weapons, it was the first gun reform bill in decades.
While hailing the legislation as “monumental,” Biden recognised that it did not address more contentious topics like bans on assault weapons and background checks for sales of firearms.