“Never Again,” Again


Officers stand outside of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Credit: Nuri Vallbona/Reuters

Two weeks ago, there was a shooting at the McDonald’s on Richmond Highway–right here, where we live–where some kids nearby West Po heard the shots. That was after a few weeks where it seemed there were mass shootings everywhere, Nashville, TN, Allen, TX, and the anniversary of Uvalde, TX. This comes not even two months after two other separate shootings in Baileys Crossroads. It feels like every time you look at the news, there’s another group of people killed. This plethora of shootings has been a growing trend within the past three years. With 2023 set to be a record breaking year for gun related deaths, it’s worth wondering how we’ve gotten here.


As with most things from the past years, the answer can be found in the chaos that was 2020. From the major pandemic to the Black Lives Matter riots, many people felt the need for self protection. For many Americans, buying a gun seemed to be the best option. Gun sales shot up in 2020, a 64% increase from the previous year. 


It also wasn’t just mass shootings that went up. Over COVID, all forms of gun related deaths increased. As social isolation and economic disparities ravaged the country, non-suicide related gun deaths increased 25% from 2019 to 2020. As people lost their jobs and grew farther away from loved ones, they became more susceptible to 


The obvious main reason is lack of legislation. To buy a gun from a licensed dealer in the United States, all that is needed is a 6 page document called Form 4473, which lists the potential buyer’s personal information to be put through NICS, or the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. If the system finds that the buyer has never been convicted of a felony, or any other misdemeanors listed by the state, that person is free to purchase a gun. Out of all 300 million NICS background checks since 1998, less than 0.5% have resulted in denials. These statistics don’t even include the number of guns sold by unlicensed dealers, which don’t require any form of background check.


Though individual states have made moves towards stricter regulations, and Biden signed in a gun safety bill last year that established red flag laws, bans people with a history of domestic abuse from owning a gun, and expands background checks for 18 to 21 year olds, it has clearly done nothing to stop the recent splurge in mass shootings. There is a need for a nation-wide crackdown on guns, and the best way to start is contacting your Senator. You can contact the office of Senator Mark Warren by filling out this form, or Senator Tim Kaine using this form