Address Gun Violence by Going After the Root Causes

Address Gun Violence by Going After the Root Causes

Newsday LLC/Getty After two weeks marred by numerous mass shootings, the air rings again with calls for gun reform in the United States. These calls, though, differ from past calls for reform: we have today a president and Congress inclined to act. On April 8, President Biden issued a series of executive orders tightening restrictions on untraceable “ ghost guns ,” publishing a model for state red flag legislation, directing the Justice Department to study and report on gun trafficking, and ordering 26 programs to leverage existing grants to combat community violence. Biden’s responses to these recent mass shootings are, to be sure, laudable. But they do not go far enough. While restricting access to guns will save lives, the president and Congress must home in on the circumstances that breed crime and violence — insufficient economic opportunity and lacking social mobility — to truly tackle the epidemic of gun violence ravaging this country. It has gotten even worse during the pandemic, triggering an increased police response. The United States reports the 28th highest rate of gun deaths in the world, with an average of 39 people shot and killed by another person daily. Most of these homicides are instances of daily gun violence, not mass shootings which make up less than 1 percent of all U.S. gun deaths. Black Americans make up the largest share of those killed by guns, suffering nearly 10 times more gun homicides and 15 times more gun assaults than white Americans. This disproportionate […]

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