As the world watched Joe Biden being sworn in during his presidential inauguration on January 20, a sense of hope washed over America. Two months later, it seems that comforting sense of optimism has slowly begun to erode. The reason being the string of mass shootings occurring within the US - some reportedly linked to a wave of anti-Asian hate crimes.
Not only have these attacks sparked discussion surrounding the recurring injustices regarding race and misogyny, they’ve also shed light on gun control legislation within the US.
While studies have shown gun supporters are unwavering within their views, new research indicates racial disparities might be at play regarding the rates of gun ownership and beliefs surrounding guns.
According to the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), White Americans are more likely to own firearms and oppose gun regulations than any other group.
For white Americans, firearms signify a crucial element to their identity, often equating the fact with being a good citizen. This ideology is nothing new. Historians have traced these lines of thinking back to the American Revolution. In 1775, all one needed to fit the part of a good citizen, was vote and prepare for military readiness. Flash forward to the 21st century and not much has changed.
Studies suggest many White Americans still share the belief that by owning guns and supporting gun rights, they’re exemplary law-abiding citizens. You don’t need to be a renowned historian to understand how distorted that concept is.
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“To them, guns are potent political symbols. For many people, especially White Americans, guns are integral to who they are as citizens and what it means to be a good citizen,” The Washington Post’s, Alexandra Filindra wrote in a report.
“Our data also show that Whites, and especially White men, are the demographic group most likely to associate gun ownership with good citizenship,” said the report. “Specifically, our 2015 nationally representative survey of 1,900 Americans, conducted by YouGov, found that 43 percent of Whites but only 23 percent of African Americans view owning a gun as a sign of good citizenship. “
Roughly 40,000 people were killed in incidents involving firearms in the US in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Following last week’s shooting in Colorado, President Joe Biden said the incident should motivate Washington and the nation to double down on gun legislation.
During an address last Tuesday, President Biden said he would do everything in his power to keep Americans safe, by pushing for a pair of House-passed gun reforms.
“I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common sense steps that will save lives in the future,” Biden said. “This is not - it should not be - a partisan issue. This is an American issue,” he added. “It will save lives, American lives. We have to act.”
We need to address these shootings for what they are: domestic terrorist attacks. Democrats and Republicans need to work together to install effective gun safety measures throughout our country. How many more innocent lives need to be taken in order for lawmakers to open their eyes?