The White House announced on August 19 that President Biden will host the “United We Stand” Summit on September 15 to counter the corrosive effects of hate-fueled gun violence. Biden promised to heal the division and restore the soul of America when he announced his candidacy for the 2020 presidential election. However, such a political commitment has been proved to be an extremely tough task catalyzed by raging COVID-19 pandemic, heated racialism and gun violence, etc.
The challenge of gun control in the US lies in serious political polarization and intensified confrontation between the two parties. Biden and other American politicians fail to take due responsibility for gun violence-related crimes and have not passed any effective reform bills so far for party interests, votes and money.
Scandalous Gun Crimes
Guns are widespread in the United States, resulting in rampant gun shootings. During the Labor Day holiday, there were 12 mass shootings in the US, resulting in 16 deaths and 47 injuries. On May 24, the deadliest US school shooting in nearly a decade happened at Robb Elementary School in Texas, killing 21. At least 10 were killed and three other injured in a mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York State on May 14.
According to a report of THE HILL on September 6, data of the non-profit organization Gun Violence Archive showed that there had been 468 mass shootings with at least 4 causalities in 37 states and Washington, D.C. in the US so far this year, over 1.8 shootings per day on average. Over 30,000 people died from homicide or suicide by guns.
The intensifying gun violence has become a headache for the US government, which has brought great pain to Americans. According to NBC, more than 450 anti-gun violence demonstrations were held across the US on June 11 local time. Tens of thousands of people gathered on the US National Mall in Washington D.C., shouting loudly “We’ve Had Enough!”
Most Americans called on the government to take measures to prevent any more tragedies. Multiple latest polls showed that majority of Americans regard gun violence as one of the most severe social problems. On May 25 local time, THE HILL, citing a new poll, said 59% of the respondents believed that it was “very” or “relatively” important for the US to pass stricter gun control laws, and 34% regarded restriction on gun possession as the top priority of the Congress.
Long-lasting Gun Control Problem
The proliferation of guns and the relevant violent crimes have always been a deep-rooted problem faced by the US. The intensified gun violence and crumbled social security further cause panic among the normal folks who tend to possess a gun to protect personal security. Such a vicious circle results in massive concern about social security and increasing number of guns.
By the end of 2017, the US had about 393 million civilian guns, ranking first throughout the world and far exceeding its population of about 330 million. With less than 5% of the world’s population, the US owns about 40% of the world’s civilian gun cache. Its gun holdings even reached an astonishing 436 million by the end of 2021.
The gun violence in the US can be traced back to the history. The US has long been excelled in solving problems through guns from plundering Indian’s land, expelling the British colonists and launching the “Westward Movement”. Many Americans believe that guns are vital for safeguarding freedom, human rights and security. The National Rifle Association of America was established after the Civil War, facilitating the proliferation of guns as it grew stronger. In the 1920s and 1930s, the rise of gangster culture in the US also resulted in large number of gun violence cases.
At present, the gap of wealth widens, the racist ideas breed, and frequency of hate-fueled crimes and extreme events dramatically increases due to intensified political division and failed social governance under the context of COVID-19 pandemic. Many Americans hold guns for self-protection, which further increases the risk of terrorism and gun violence.
The source of gun culture in the US is the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which stipulates that “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. However, this legitimate right has been deliberately distorted by the extremists. Successive US governments have tried to tackle the gun problem via legalization, but all failed.
On June 25, 2022, President Biden signed into law the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. This is the first time over the past three decades that the US has passed a major federal gun reform bill. According to Reuters, Biden hoped to save the sluggish public support rate before the mid-term election for control of Congress on November 8, and to make successful gun control a part of his election campaign for voters. The New York Times noted that the bill is far behind the level expected by Biden and other democrats. On June 2, Biden called on the Congress to take actions to ban assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, as well as sales of semi-automatic rifles to residents under the age of 21. But his efforts finally failed in absence of the support from the republicans.
US Society Fragmented by Political Polarization
For this bill, experts hold that “Biden administration’s gun control bill is ineffective, as it cannot solve the problem fundamentally. Current gun control policies in the US face a systematic problem and it is meaningless to pass these bills that cannot tackle deep-seated problems”.
Failure of the gun control bill is closely related to the money politics of the US. The National Rifle Association of America, the symbol of the US military-industrial complex, is also known for its enormous influence in presidential election, parliamentary election, and formulation of laws and policies. Gun control has therefore become an important topic in the US bipartisan campaign under the impact of money. After coming to power, the US politicians who take benefits, especially Republican politicians, start to maintain and even strengthen the pro-gun positions. The Democratic Party has no political courage and courage to break the situation that the US politics are influenced by military enterprises. They just show their political postures to win the favor of voters.
In the foreseeable future, the US politics will keep featuring competition between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, as well as political polarization, which will impose tremendous impacts on discussion on public policies for various sThe Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives Americans the right to bear arms, and about a third of U.S. adults say they personally own a gun. At the same time, President Joe Biden and other policymakers earlier this year proposed new restrictions on firearm access in an effort to address gun violence ranging from rising murder rates in some major cities to mass.
The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives Americans the right to bear arms, and about a third of U.S. adults say they personally own a gun. At the same time, President Joe Biden and other policymakers earlier this year proposed new restrictions on firearm access in an effort to address gun violence ranging from rising murder rates in some major cities to mass shootings.