On a typically quiet Tuesday morning, an 18-year-old who’s allegedly been a bullying victim has opened fire on Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, killing at least 19 children and two adults. The 24th of May attack is the worst mass shooting involving an elementary school since Sandy Hook. According to the authorities, the alleged gunman Salvador Ramos purchased two AR-15-style rifles from a federally licensed store in Uvalde, just three miles away from the school where the carnage took place.
Only a week earlier, another mass shooting took place in Buffalo, New York, where a self-declared white supremacist drove for 200 miles and killed ten people at a supermarket in what authorities said was a racially motivated crime. The shooter was another 18-year-old who wanted “to take as many black lives as possible.”
Though the motives for the two attacks are different, the US gun lobby and the easy access to assault weapons by the perpetrators are the common denominators. In a press conference, US president Joe Biden called out the gun lobby and said,
“As a nation, we have to ask: When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?” I’m sick and tired of it. We have to act.
Besides the press conference, the president has also been vocal on Twitter, where he yet again lambasted the gun industry. President Biden tweeted, “It’s just sick that gun manufacturers have spent two decades aggressively marketing assault weapons which make them some of the biggest profits. For God’s sake, let’s have the courage to stand up to the industry.”
The Majority leader of the US house of representatives, Mr. Steny Hoyer, also added his voice into the mix and said in a tweet, “ Congress must do more to end gun violence. During the first week of the June work period, I will bring RepLucyMcBath’s bill to the Floor to establish a national “Red Flag” law to prevent those who pose a threat to themselves or others from being able to legally possess a firearm.” In another tweet, the Majority leader also called gun violence a “ public health epidemic.”
The National Rifle Association (the NRA) has said,
“Our deepest sympathies are with the families and victims involved in this horrific and evil crime. On behalf of our members, we salute the courage of school officials, first responders, and others who offered their support and services. Although an investigation is underway and facts are still emerging, we recognize this was the act of a lone, deranged criminal. As we gather in Houston, we will reflect on these events, pray for the victims, recognize our patriotic members, and pledge to redouble our commitment to making our schools secure.”
The NRA’s guarded statement was met by a slew of angry tweets where Twitter users denied the Lobby’s prayers but instead demanded change. It’s still unknown how much of President Biden’s call of action against the Lobby will come to fruition. Still, President Obama, who also stood up to the gun lobby during his former presidency, has now condemned the gun lobby after the Uvalde mass shooting. Former President Obama said: “ The US is paralyzed by the Republicans and the gun lobby who refuse to prevent mass shootings.”