Over and over, we bear witness to these horrors and raise an outraged cry for our elected leaders to keep those weapons out of our schools and off our streets. Each time, those cries fall on ears deafened by the National Rifle Association lobby and a glut of cash from gun manufacturers.
The incident in Uvalde was the 27th school shooting this year and one of at least 944 incidents of gunfire on school grounds since 2013, resulting in 321 deaths, according to the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety. Looking beyond schools, there have been more than 200 mass shootings nationwide so far this year. In Buffalo, New York, an avowed white supremacist gunned down 13 people, all of whom were Black, and three of whom were NYSUT members, at a Tops Friendly Markets store.
Even as guns overtook car accidents as the leading cause of death among children and adolescents in the United States in 2020, Congress still does nothing. Republicans are nearly united in their opposition to gun-safety bills and a pivotal handful of Democrats refuses to part with the filibuster and allow the views of the majority to prevail.
We must break this deadly stasis. The UFT joined the student-led March for Our Lives on June 11 to pressure lawmakers to protect schools, not guns. We have thrown our support behind Gov. Kathy Hochul’s new executive orders to increase law enforcement’s ability to confiscate guns from people deemed a threat to public safety. We are working with the AFT at the federal level to pass life-saving gun-safety laws to require background checks and to ban high-capacity magazines and assault rifles.
We are urging our members to step up and join the fight to end gun violence. If we change nothing, nothing will change.