To the editor:
On May 24, 19 children and two teachers were murdered by a 18-year-old gunman in the deadliest U.S school shooting in a decade. The tragedy took place on a Tuesday morning at Robb Elementary School in the town of Uvalde, Texas, and it happened just over a week after the racially motivated shooting in Buffalo, which left 10 people dead.
The country has experienced a total of 233 mass shootings in 2022, only five months into the year. In the midst of these tragic events, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering issuing a ruling in a New York gun rights case that would examine the regulations of an individual’s right to carry a firearm outside of their residence.
Currently, in New York, there are limited concealed carry licenses, restricted for people going hunting or shooting, or who need special self-protection. The predictions are that this ruling will overturn this city law.
It shocks the conscience that the highest court in the land, tasked with ensuring the American people the promise of equal justice under law, is posed to expand access to guns, in the wake of the deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook.
There have been hundreds of mass shootings in just the first half of this year, and we are terrified. We are scared for our lives and the lives of our children. For Americans, when it comes to gun violence, we no longer think it will never happen to us.
Extremist justices are right now deciding the fate of a longtime New York law banning open carry. Greater access to guns is a promise of more deaths caused by guns. This is why the United States is the only country in the world where shootings of this scale happen.
And not occasionally, but frequently. So frequently that children in preschool are taught how to try and save their own lives in the event that an active shooter enters their classroom.
Since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, more than 3,500 mass shootings have affected our country, and laws proposed to regulate gun access have been constantly blocked by right-wing extremists who use the Constitution’s Second Amendment right to bear arms as an excuse for unregulated access to guns.
I dare gun rights advocates to contend that our Founding Fathers would allow for a citizenry to be armed with weapons that have the capability to rip through the human body, exterminating life with a single shot. It is absolutely impossible that at the time that our Constitution was written, the authors could conceive of weapons like the AK-15.
A shot from a musket is not a death sentence. A shot from an AK-15 and similar military-grade weapons is certain death.
It is long past time to take action to stop the massacres. Who will have the courage to do so?
It should not take “courage” to enact common sense gun safety laws, but that is the state of our country today. Our children are dying. Our friends are dying. Our families are dying.
New York state legislators have taken responsible action to stop the madness, and our Supreme Court threatens to upend it all, and continue the endless cycle of mass death caused by guns.
Our federal representatives must do something. Anything. Once and for all.
The author is a city councilman representing an area that includes Riverdale, Kingsbridge and Spuyten Duyvil