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The Maastricht Diplomat

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Fighting climate change with CO2

“America is killing itself, as the Republican Party looks the other way.”. The heading of “Le Monde” on Wednesday 25th explains well the feeling of this Sunday Summary. It is impossible to ignore this week’s tragedy as it is difficult to explain it. After the one in a grocery store in Buffalo and the one in a church in California, another mass shooting shocked Americans and the rest of the world. The school shooting in Texas accounted for the loss of 19 children and two teachers, which are in addition to the victims of the 213 mass shootings that occurred so far this year in America (The Guardian). The matter around gun violence in the US rises once again, how many more victims before a change is made?

Annually increasing shootings in the US have brought Americans to question the issue of gun control several times, but no changes have been made. While researching for this article my first wonder was why they just don’t make guns illegal, as probably many people thought. Unfortunately, the solution is not that easy. The NRA (National Rifle Association) is the largest gun owner association in the US. Its strong lobby is pushing against gun-control laws, with a budget of $3m only to influence gun policies (BBC). Its influence is also given by the voting choice of its members, which are usually driven by gun-related issues only. Such strong lobbying power is, among others, one of the reasons why banning guns is out of discussion in the US.

However, hundreds of people gathered in Houston to protest against the NRA's annual meeting, which happened precisely three days after the mass shooting in Texas. Among others, the video of the Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr condemning gun violence became viral. “I’m not gonna talk about basketball” he announced at the beginning of the press conference. Kerr explained in an emotional speech his position regarding the new HR 8 bill. The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 would expand background checks on people buying guns in the country. The coach asked the senators directly to put the lives of people and children in front of their own desire for power.

What seems to be a shared thought on restricting gun laws, is instead different from reality. In 2020, according to polling by Gallup, the lowest level of support for stricter gun laws since 2014 was recorded. In fact, only 52% of the Americans taking part in the survey parted for stricter gun laws. The challenge to explain the complexity of America’s gun violence issue increases from a European perspective. The history and differences of each State and their relationship with guns matter when talking about the implementation of gun laws. What I want to point out here however is not what the solution is, but what the solution is not. The possibility of arming teachers in order to protect kids in school from mass shootings gives the same feeling as trying to stop climate change by emitting more CO2. If the problem of gun violence is given by the free circulation of guns, more guns cannot be the answer. The idea of guns equals more protection should be eradicated. Moreover, the school shouldn’t be a place for guns. Allowing guns into schools would be a loss for all the values that schools should represent.


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