PRE-ELECTION ADVISORY: BAN GUNS AT AND NEAR POLLING PLACES

PRE-ELECTION ADVISORY: BAN GUNS AT AND NEAR POLLING PLACES

The human rights organization calls on governors nationwide to ban guns at and near polling places to ensure the safety of voters, poll workers and community. Amnesty International USA issued an unprecedented pre-election advisory today, warning of the heightened threat of gun violence facing people in the U.S., and the potential for armed intimidation of voters, as they head to the polls. The human rights organization pointed to a historic surge in firearm sales across the United States throughout 2020 as a signal of elevated risk, with the pandemic, mass unemployment, and a rise in white supremacist violence all contributing factors to potential unrest. Reported plans to recruit tens of thousands of partisan election monitors in battleground states, many of them likely to be armed, add further potential for violence and could result in abuses of the rights to life, health and security. One senior administration official even urged the public to “buy ammunition ” in the lead up to the election, after President Trump suggested sending armed law enforcement to the polls. Amnesty warns that Black and Latinx voters are particularly vulnerable targets of armed intimidation, and urges governors nationwide to take immediate action to protect every person’s safety while they vote. These precautionary measures would also protect tens of thousands of poll workers, who will be putting themselves at great risk already by volunteering to work in a crowded environment during a pandemic. “The United States’ uniquely permissive gun laws are pouring fuel on the flames of […]

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