Gun violence can be considered a shared experience among those in this day and age. My first experience occurred at the age of 10, when a gunman open-fired an unloaded gun while driving around my elementary school. When I was in middle school, the Sandy Hook shooting occurred, and afterwards, my classmates and I were raised in an era of gun violence, making it a common occurrence. When many of us were in high school, the Parkland shooting took the place, a massacre that affected the whole nation.
On February 14, 2018, a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17.
This past February was the third anniversary of the Parkland, Stoneman-Douglas Shooting. In honor of this horrific day and the lives that were lost, President Biden issued a statement calling for Congress to pass stricter gun laws, including banning assault weapons.
“Today, as we mourn with the Parkland community, we mourn for all who have lost loved ones to gun violence,” Biden said.
The events of Parkland are still fresh in many of our heads, and the little action that followed made this event even more tragic. Today, the gunman is still awaiting trial. Many student and advocacy groups formed as a result like March for Our Lives, who then received a large amount of media attention and publicity.
March for Our Lives has specifically pushed for Biden to appoint a gun czar who would serve in a Cabinet-adjacent position. This would be a role similar to the climate change cabinet position of Biden’s administration. Many feel that this is a necessity, and that gun violence a public health crisis that puts our most vulnerable populations at risk every day.
While on the campaign trail, President Biden promised to take action on gun laws within his first 100 days in office. Biden has met with several gun control advocacy groups in the past couple months, including: Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, and Students Demand Action. After these meetings, Biden released a statement that mentions his intention to keep his campaign promise. This administration has been keen on keeping promises when it comes to COVID-19, that being the hope that it may be so diligent in tackling other issues as well.
It is not only the President that we must push to pass gun violence legislation, but Congress as well. The House of Representatives has put forward countless bills in the past decade to this effect and the Senate refused to pass any of them under the Trump presidency. Now under democratic control, the House and the Senate have the opportunity to ensure that kids across the country are safe from gun violence. It is imperative for our legislators to take concrete steps towards restricting gun sales, banning assault weapons, and mandating strict background checks so that the shadow of gun violence cast across my childhood does not shade future generations.
As a 19 year old, I have grown up in gun violence, but that does not mean that the generation that follows me must be plagued with this same fate. This next generation deserves to live in a country in which an assault weapon does not write our history for us.
By: Aaditi Narayanan