In President Joe Biden’s most recent address, he noted that every day, three hundred and sixteen American citizens are shot, and of those, one hundred and six die. Biden pleaded with the American people and called for change while enacting an executive order, which bypassed Congress to bolster background checks, support violence protection, and target “ghost guns”.
Since his election, President Biden has demonstrated his resolve to “make America great again”. However, unlike his predecessor, he is amenable to the current climate of the world. The President is working to address systemic injustice, legislation, and politics eroding the nation. Biden supporters eagerly await changes to antiquated America; for a country that leads the world, America sure is behind.
Following his address, a Texan gunman shot and injured several cabinet shop workers. Only weeks prior were two mass shootings in Boulder and Atlanta. The President stressed that gun control is an epidemic and needs to stop. The executive order provides the Justice Department with a thirty-day window to propose new legislation to reduce the number of “ghost guns”. Ghost guns are homemade, and therefore, are unregistered and untraceable. Additionally, background checks are not required to purchase gun assembly kits. Biden states, “anyone from a criminal to a terrorist can buy this kit, and in as little as 30 minutes, put together a weapon.” The threat of ghost guns is imminent, reports from Los Angeles Police seizures suggest upward of 40% of firearms are ghost guns. The use of ghost guns is untraceable, encouraging organized and violent crime. The Justice Department is also responsible for the drafting of the “red flag laws” which will enable state courts to remove firearms from those perceived to be a risk to the community.
Many fear the President is fighting an uphill battle as the Second Amendment to the U.S Constitution, in part, affords citizens the right to bear arms, which critics have long argued gun control infringes upon. The American system has normalized the use of firearms, regardless of the years of devastation that has ensued. This inability to regulate gun use has disproportionately affected Black Americans, supporting systemic injustice, oppression, and marginalization. The absence of gun control also enables police corruption and brutality directly aimed at minority groups. Ironically, the necessity to carry a gun for protection is so enshrined in the cultural ethos that it does not extend to everyone in that culture. Instead, it creates the hegemonic narrative that white and protection are synonymous; anyone who does not fit that narrative can be criminalized and punished for enacting the same right to bear arms.
Historically, gun control laws have been blocked by Republicans in Congress. The U.S Senate has a 50-50 split between the two parties, with Vice-President Kamala Harris holding the deciding vote as President of the Senate. However, 60 votes are needed to pass most legislation, which means Republican support is required. Thus, the steps Biden can take to enact even limited gun laws are unilaterally limited in scope.
After making great claims prior to the election, many gun rights activists report the President’s unveiled plans as “grab-bag” attempts. However, Biden assures critics that this is “just the start”. John Feinblatt adds that the Biden administration will “undoubtedly save countless lives.” Amidst the ongoing pandemic, this is a much-needed reprieve and, hopefully, the start of a new era for America. Time will tell whether the country is ready to address years of whitewashing, racism, and corruption.
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