The United States has seen 258 mass shooting incidents in the 225 days of 2019, according to data published Wednesday by the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive. That's more than one a day on average, meaning it's likely that this grim statistic will be outdated before the ink is dry on this page.
Earlier this month there were three mass shootings in the span of a week in Gilroy, El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. The latter two incidents happened mere hours apart; we went to sleep mourning the loss of 22 people gunned down at a Walmart and awoke to the horror of another mass shooting and mirrored scenes of police processing crime scenes, of tarps strewn over bodies and panicked loved ones waiting for news.
In the days since, politicians and activists throughout the country have called for action with a renewed fervor. More than 250 mayors, including Mountain View Mayor Lisa Matichak, have signed a letter to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, calling on them to reconvene the Senate to pass bipartisan gun safety legislation. The House of Representatives in February passed two bills, HR 8 and HR 112, that would strengthen background checks. HR 8 would require background checks for all firearm purchases, prohibit unregulated sales and increase law enforcement's ability to trace guns, while HR 112 would extend the background check review period deadline from three days to 10.
Locally, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution urging Congress to pass legislation banning assault weapons commonly used in mass shootings. The federal ban would target guns used in the six deadliest mass shootings in the country over the last decade, weapons used to kill more than 200 people and injure nearly 1,000, according to a joint statement by the supervisors. (Supervisors also agreed Tuesday to explore an ordinance for the safe storage of firearms, which would set requirements for keeping guns in a locked container in unincorporated area homes.)
We echo these calls for action and urge those on Capitol Hill to pass a federal ban on assault weapons and existing legislation to close background check loopholes.
The federal ban is necessary for a myriad of reasons, one of them being that it would prevent people from being able to go to another state to purchase semi-automatic and automatic weapons as the Gilroy gunman reportedly did. The proliferation of these guns in mass shootings, combined with how wholly unnecessary they are on America's streets, makes the concept of a ban a no-brainer, as is the proposal to strengthen the background check system. We also support efforts at the local level to address gun safety through a storage ordinance, which would help keep firearms out of the wrong hands and potentially prevent further tragedies. As the supervisors said, this isn't just a matter of common sense — it's a moral imperative that lawmakers take action to reduce the bloodshed.
Although we're grateful to see local leaders speak out against this senseless violence, it will be up to those in the Senate to go beyond thoughts and prayers and pass gun reform. We cannot let National Rifle Association lobbyists stand in the way of stemming this crisis.