Why Have There Been So Many Mass Shootings?

Photo shows Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf at a rally to end gun violence. Photo Credit: "Governor Tom Wolf" on Flickr; Courtesy of Creative Commons

18-year-old gunman Payton Gendron planned a massacre motivated by racism and the ideology of white supremacy at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo on May 14. Gendron targeted those apart of the Black community and live streamed this massacre for a small group on Discord, a platform used for texting, calling, and video chatting. He took the lives of 10 people that day. This is one of the 200+ mass shootings that have occurred in the U.S. in 2022.

27 of these shootings took place in schools. At Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas,  Salvador Ramos, an 18-year-old gunman, killed 19 elementary students and 2 teachers less than two weeks later on May 24. Ramos bought his gun just days after his 18th birthday along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition thanks to Texas’s new gun ownership law. He was shot at the scene of the crime hours after entrance and died almost immediately. Friends and relatives say the 18-year-old was bullied over a childhood speech impediment and suffered a traumatic childhood, which resulted in him violently lashing out at peers and strangers over the years.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is facing growing criticism due to his inaccurate account of law enforcement reports about what took place during the Uvalde school shooting. The state’s Democrats have begun calling the FBI to look into the events as their suspicions grow over why Abbott decided to release the unverified information.

“If I were the governor, when you have something this terrible affecting so many lives, I would want to make sure my information is rock solid,” Democratic State Representative Richard Raymond commented. In the past, Abbott has supported an increase of training and funding for school security, but has resisted efforts to implement stronger gun restrictions. Abbott has instead pushed to loosen gun regulations and even signed a law in 2015 allowing Texan students to carry handguns on college campuses as well as a law in 2021 allowing Texans to carry concealed handguns without a gun license or training.

American basketball coach Steve Kerr, who lost his father when he was 18, shared his opinion on the recent mass shootings across America during a press conference. “When are we going to do something. I’m tired, I’m so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. I’m tired of the moments of silence. Enough!,” Kerr expressed angrily. “There [are] 50 senators right now who refuse to vote on HR8, which is a background check rule that the house passed a couple years ago,” Kerr stated. “I ask all of you senators who refuse to do anything about the violence and school shootings and supermarket shootings — I ask you, are you going to put your own desire for power ahead of the lives of our children? And our elderly? And our church goers?”

During a House hearing, Florida Congressman Greg Steube (R) displayed his collection of firearms, stating they would be banned. “Here’s a gun I carry every single day to protect myself, my family, my wife, my home. This is an XL Sig Sauer P365, comes with a 15-round magazine. Here’s a seven-round magazine which would be less than what would be lawful under this bill…it doesn’t fit. So this gun would be banned,” Steube stated.

People in the Syracuse community also expressed their views on gun regulations and the recent shootings. “I believe that the recent rise of mass shootings in the U.S. is a result of the failure of our government to enforce strict enough gun regulations,” J-DHS sophomore Charles Arthur Moynihan III stated.

Kanami Laclair, another J-DHS sophomore, commented, “I believe that there need to be very strict gun laws. How come you have to go through such a long process to get your driver’s license, but not when you want to buy a gun? Currently, a person who is 18 can buy an assault rifle with little to no background check. This absolutely blows my mind. If the government wants to protect their children and their people, why aren’t they making stricter gun laws? The loose gun laws we currently have are a huge reason why mass shootings occur.”

Solvay High School student Kendra Pierce remarked, “People should be allowed to own a gun with a permit. They should only use their guns for self defense and nothing else.”

Aaliyah Dalto-Young, another Solvay High School student, added, “I feel as if people should be allowed to own a gun with a permit at maybe around age 21 because most people who get a gun at a younger age may use it for not safe and non-self defense ways, but the people who do get a gun at age 21 should only be able to own one if they don’t have any mental issues or have been in a mental institution.”

President Joe Biden stated, “There have always been limitations on what weapons you can own in America. For example, machine guns have been federally regulated for nearly 90 years. And this is still a free country. This isn’t about taking away anyone’s rights. It’s about protecting children. It’s about protecting families. It’s about protecting whole communities. It’s about protecting our freedoms to go to school, to a grocery store, and to a church without being shot and killed.”

Mila Morgan is a sophomore at Jamesville-Dewitt High School. In her free time, she enjoys reading, drawing, and attempting to bake with friends.