by Daniel Shen ’23
Published May 2nd, 2021
Firearms and their role in society is a staple issue for Americans. While the Second Amendment states that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” many question this right, sparking fierce debates.
This is particularly evident in the government. According to a Pew Research Center poll in April, only 20% of Republicans said that gun laws should be stricter, as compared to 81% of Democrats.
In the White House, President Joe Biden, a Democrat, has continued to push for more gun control measures. Biden’s role as president has afforded him the power to address these issues significantly. On April 8th, Biden gave a speech in the Rose Garden, announcing, “Gun violence in this country is an epidemic.” Labeling gun violence an “epidemic” brings to mind the Coronavirus outbreak, allowing him to convey the issue’s relevancy and severity to his supporters.
According to the Gun Control Archive, there have been 142 shootings since Joe Biden has taken office (shooting defined as an event where at least 4 people were injured or killed with a gun). This is an incredibly high number and could be damaging to his image, especially among Democrats pushing hard for gun reforms and expecting change. Biden is thus fighting hard to control the amount of gun violence for the rest of his presidency.
One of Biden’s proposals is an almost $5 billion investment over 8 years to add community violence intervention programs. Biden is also urging Congress to pass two bills which will strengthen background checks for potential gun buyers and close the infamous gun show loophole, where sellers at gun shows and private sales are able to get away with not doing background checks.
Both of these bills are supported by many, but they need 10 votes from Republicans to pass. So far, many Republicans have come out against Biden’s gun control measures. For example, on Fox News, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) stated, “[Biden] doesn’t believe [the 2nd Amendment is] actually in the Constitution, he clearly does not believe in the right to keep and bear arms.” Passing these bills will prove difficult because of the lack of Republican support, but Biden is working hard to make it happen.