If you had any doubts that America has and may always be the land of the free and home of the guns, look no further than a recent shootout in a Missouri grocery store.
According to reporting from KSDK-5, a man entered the Wellston Food Market, located outside of St. Louis, carrying a rifle under his shirt. Missouri is an “open carry” state.
The man walked out of the store and found himself face to face with another man carrying a gun—but this man was heading inside to rob the store. The robber demanded the man hand over his rifle. The man obliged, then went to his car, got another gun, pointed it at the robber, and began firing.
The alleged robber was shot several times, as were two customers who’d pulled up to the market during the shootout. KSDK reports that police said another man also pulled up to the market, pulled out his gun, and began firing at the robber.
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The man with the rifle fled the scene, as did the third armed man. The alleged robber was taken to a local hospital and is in critical condition, KSDK reports.
According to reporting from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, as of May 18, eight children have died by gunfire and 39 have been injured by firearms across the St. Louis metropolitan area this year.
CNN reports that Missouri is No. 4 on the list of states with the highest gun-death rates, and 48% of Missourians own guns. In St. Louis, there were 50 gun deaths per 100,000 people in 2020.
It’s been just one week since a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, took the lives of 19 kids and two adults, with another 17 people injured in the shooting.
In 2020, there were over 4,000 gun-related deaths in Texas. And according to TX Gunsense, at the end of 2021, nearly 1.7 million Texans had a state-regulated license to carry a firearm.
Between 2009 and 2014, 41% of gun-related crimes in Mexico involved guns shipped in from Texas, TX Gunsense reports. And even though Texas racks up around $16.6 billion a year in costs related to gun violence, Gov. Greg Abbott refuses to restrict gun laws.
Just last year, Texas passed HB 1927, allowing Texans over age 21 to openly carry or conceal handguns without a state-issued license, KSAT.com reports.
Everytown’s analysis of FBI data found that in 2020, the highest gun murder rates were all in cities in states with the laxest gun legislation.
New Orleans saw 48 deaths per 100,000 people in 2020. On Tuesday, a grandmother of 15 was shot and killed at a Xavier University parking lot while walking out of a high school graduation ceremony in New Orleans. Family members told KSLA-12 that 80-year-old Augustine Greenwood was hit by a stray bullet during a shootout.
“I am outraged and saddened by the callousness shown today outside Xavier University. The graduating seniors of Morris Jeff [High School] were there to share in their collective achievements and bask in the brightness of their futures—only to have their optimism ripped apart by gun violence. This has got to stop. ... All our children have a right to be safe and we must do all we can in our power to protect that right,” Dr. Henderson Lewis Jr., superintendent of NOLA-PS, said in a statement.
“This lady went to a graduation; she didn’t sign up to be executed,” New Orleans City Councilmember Oliver Thomas told KSLA. “How many more people could have been injured? Why did this lady have to give her life because she wanted to see her loved one graduate? Why? What was so big about the argument? What was so profound? What was so devastating about the argument that you had to shoot out there?”
The gun lobby argues for their right to have guns under the Second Amendment of the Constitution. But we know that gun violence is a racial issue, born out of white supremacy and the desperation of people in power to stay in power.
“Indisputably, for much of American history, gun-control measures, like many other laws, were used to oppress African Americans,” Adam Winkler, a constitutional scholar at UCLA, wrote for The Atlantic. “The most infamous of these disarmament posses, of course, was the Ku Klux Klan. … A hundred years later, the Black Panthers’ brazen insistence on the right to bear arms led whites, including conservative Republicans, to support new gun control. Then the pendulum swung back.”
“Black Americans are twice as likely as white Americans to die from gun violence and 14 times more likely than white Americans to be wounded,” according to the Brady United website. “A documented 4,084 Black people were lynched in 73 years; 93,262 were shot dead in 14. Like lynching, gun violence is a racial justice issue.”
So forgive me if I’m not in support of keeping the status quo, and in favor of amending the Second Amendment to restrict the number and kinds of guns available in this country. How many children and innocent bystanders need to die before we change these archaic laws?