COVID-19 continues, while gun violence never went away! The public and media just awakened, while neighborhoods and communities, from DC, Chicago, Atlanta, to LA, were in its midst. Many politicians, according to Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, attempt to blame this increase on Black Lives Matter protests and gun safety laws, but we know better. In fact, COVID-19 has exacerbated existing situations that contribute to skyrocketing gun violence in America, especially in the Black and Brown communities. All of this started before George Floyd’s murder. Recent gun violence is a likely result of factors, such as lack of opportunity in these areas of disadvantage and ongoing economic crises; gun violence intervention programs experiencing horrific challenges and losing resources with an expanding workload; and crime trends always increasing during warm weather days of summer. Let’s support these Black and Brown communities, not with more police, but with grassroots support.
“Policing”—US House passed H.R. 7120, Justice in Policing Act (116th Congress, 2020): a bipartisan comprehensive policing reform bill. However, the US Senate did not have the votes to bring their streamlined bill to the floor. By the time you receive this newsletter, Congress will be back from its recess. We are hearing there will be a new push for action in the Senate. Republican Tim Scott (SC) is working with Democrats Kamala Harris (CA) and Cory Booker (NJ) on a workable bill with House members. Fingers crossed! (Policing and gun violence go hand in hand.)
What “historic” gains in Virginia this legislative cycle! However, the gun rights groups kept on pushing its far right agenda, and extremist groups still tried to block implementation of the “background checks” legislation in Virginia. But the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence could fortunately report that a Virginia judge denied the request of gun rights groups to overturn this legislation. We thank the state’s Attorney General, Mark Herring, for his successful legal defense.
— Ellen McGovern, Chair, Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention