Just a few weeks ago, in Buffalo, NY, an armed 18-year-old entered a grocery store in a predominantly Black community and killed 10 people, injuring many more. In Uvalde, TX, an 18-year-old entered an elementary school and murdered 19 children and two teachers. Legislators are requesting extra protection for Supreme Court Justice, Brett Kavanaugh, after an armed gunman was found near his home, threatening to assassinate him over his views in a recently leaked SCOTUS opinion. None of this is remotely new. Americans have watched in horror as people armed with guns and large capacity magazines terrorize American communities year after year, with growing frequency.
The U.S. has seen rising rates of gun violence and mass shootings over the past decade, with no substantive action by Congress to address this human rights crisis. Americans are living in fear because their leaders have failed to act to protect their human rights. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in its first Second Amendment case in over a decade, N.Y. State Pistol & Rifle Ass’n v. Bruen, striking down a New York state law requiring individuals to show “proper cause” before being given a permit to carry concealed firearms in public. The results of this ruling could be catastrophic.
Amnesty International USA has repeatedly called upon the U.S. to take action to address the epidemic of gun violence that threatens people’s human rights. At this point, the U.S. has more guns than people, with an estimated 390 million weapons that remain largely unregulated. That is why we filed an amicus brief in N.Y. State Pistol & Rifle Ass’n v. Bruen.
Petitioners in this case argued essentially that all regulation of concealed weapons violates the Second Amendment of the Constitution. What they failed to consider, however, is that the victims and potential victims of private gun violence have rights that their leaders are bound to protect, including the right to life. In our brief, we argued that the failure to adopt common sense gun safety laws is inconsistent with the United States’ obligations to protect the human rights of its people.
Laws like New York’s – which impose licensing requirements on firearm possession and public carry, and thereby help fill a gap in the absence of comprehensive and effective federal gun regulation – are not only consistent with the Second Amendment, but also help the United States comply with its international human rights obligations.
Today’s SCOTUS ruling further erodes the human rights of all people in the United States, and the grim scenes of carnage that horrify will only continue.
We call upon Congress to urgently take action to pass life-saving legislation that prevents people from taking advantage of the nation’s leadership vacuum on this issue and threatening the safety of people across the country.
Contact: Vanessa Parra, [email protected]