Following the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on gun violence, Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) released the following statement from End Gun Violence Manager Ernest Coverson. The hearing comes one day after 10 people were fatally shot in a Colorado supermarket, and one week after six Asian women were shot and killed by a white gunman in Georgia.
“Today’s hearing proved that now, more than ever, lawmakers must prioritize gun safety solutions. Following yet another mass shooting in Colorado just last night, we are once again reminded that gun violence continues to traumatize communities across the country.
“The COVID-19 pandemic led to an increase in gun violence, along with an unprecedented spike in online gun purchases. In fact, according to recent CDC data, there were nearly 40,000 deaths by gunfire in 2019 alone. Many gun owners, including first-time buyers, were able to get their hands on firearms without undergoing necessary training or background checks.
“States are reopening to a United States that is even less safe than before the pandemic — essentially amounting to a powder keg of greater violence that will only lead to more trauma. While gun violence is a uniquely American issue that impacts everyone’s human rights, community-level gun violence disproportionately affects Black and brown communities and children.
“It’s been 25 years since the federal government passed a gun safety law. There is no key legislation that will end gun violence overnight, but there are steps Congress can take right now to save lives. In our statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee for today’s hearing, AIUSA calls on the Senate to pass the Break the Cycle of Violence Act, which would support on-the-ground groups working to keep communities safe from gun violence. While this measure is no magic wand, it would make a long-term and life-changing impact on marginalized and underserved groups.
“We must start changing course today to make our country safer for those who will come after us.”