Over Thanksgiving weekend, the U.S. experienced yet another holiday marred by gun violence. Shootings across the country underscore the deadly effects of America’s lax gun laws — including open carry, permitless carry, and Stand Your Ground laws — compounded with increased gun sales that are putting more unsecured guns in homes than ever before.
Over the long weekend, there were several tragic incidents of unintentional shootings of children, including in Minnesota where a 13-year-old accessed a gun and unintentionally shot and killed a 5-year-old. In Nashville, six family members were shot in their home, killing two brothers, one who was 15 and the other who was 18. There were several shootings in cities across the country, including in Philadelphia where the number of homicides just surpassed the record yearly homicide total of 500 that was set in 1990. There were also two incidents of gun violence at malls on Black Friday, one in North Carolina and one in Washington state. Additionally, TSA continues to detect improperly stored firearms at the nation’s airports, charging a woman for bringing a loaded gun in her carry-on luggage at Boston’s Logan International Airport. And across the country, there were undoubtedly many more incidents of gun violence that never made the headlines.
These shootings came amid record homicide numbers in some cities, as well as record gun violence on school grounds and increased risk of domestic violence and gun suicide. Gun owners can help minimize unauthorized access to firearms by storing their firearms securely — unloaded, locked, and separate from ammunition. And leaders at every level have a responsibility to act on common-sense gun safety measures, including by enacting laws to require secure firearm storage and using American Rescue Plan funds for life-saving violence intervention programs. They must also reject the gun lobby’s relentless “guns everywhere” agenda which continues to fuel our gun violence crisis. As we approach the end of the year, action on these issues is more important than ever — particularly given the increased risk of gun violence during the holiday season.