By Olivia Shrager
On the 4th of July weekend 2023, a holiday paying tribute to the founding of our nation, 22 horrific mass shootings took place across the US. Between Friday evening and Wednesday morning, at least 20 people were killed and 126 people were injured. 4th of July shootings occurred in at least 14 states: Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland (twice), Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Texas (twice).
On July 1, one incident in Baltimore, Maryland occurred at a local block party celebrating the holiday, tragically resulting in the death of an 18-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man, leaving 28 others injured. Victims ranged from ages 13-32. It is chilling to be reminded of the reality of the safety of our fellow citizens on a day that is supposed to celebrate liberty in our nation.
In regards to a similar situation in Shreveport, Louisiana, local councilmember Tabatha Taylor yearned, “A family event that has gone on for years in our community has been disrupted by gunfire because somebody decided to pull their guns and do this. Why, why?”
These 4th of July shootings are not isolated incidents. There have been 360 mass shootings in 2023 so far. Over 22,076 people have been killed from gun violence in America since January, at least 781 of those being teens and 143 being children. Statistics like these are a shocking reminder that gun laws in America need to change in order to protect human life.
In the wake of the tragic shooting incidents on 4th of July weekend, California Governor Gavin Newsom's announcement regarding the 28th amendment to the US Constitution has an even greater importance. Newsom has been a vocal advocate for gun control and is now pushing for a constitutional amendment that will strengthen his efforts. On June 8, 2023, Newsom announced his proposal for a new amendment, advocating for the pressing need for comprehensive gun control measures. The amendment aims to establish a framework for gun control, such as having universal background checks, raising the firearm purchase age to 21, instituting a firearm purchase waiting period and prohibiting the civilian purchase of assault weapons. By advocating for a constitutional amendment, Newsom is seeking a long-lasting and nation-wide solution to address the pressing issue of gun violence.
Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer commented, “This bold but fair resolution calls on other states to join us in protecting some of the most effective ways of reducing gun violence.”
The 4th of July shootings serve as poignant reminders of the urgent need for comprehensive gun control reforms in the United States. Governor Gavin Newsom's proposal for the 28th amendment, announced on June 8, 2023, represents a significant step towards achieving effective gun control laws across the nation.
Only through concerted efforts and legislation, like Newsom’s, can we hope to create a future where tragedies like the Baltimore shooting become a thing of the past. As we honor the lives lost in this recent shooting, we must remember to work towards laws, like the 28th amendment, that will prevent the tragedy of the lives lost on 4th of July this year.