Op-ed: Gun Violence in America – Will This Ever End?


Image by Samantha Ordanes

Gun violence in America reaches new highs every new year. The government claims that it is devastating, yet their “progress” seems to be doing nothing to stop this carnage.

A six-year-old boy, a dog, and a divorced man. What do these things have in common? Well, all three have been involved in separate shooting incidents where they have been the shooter.

Only 3 months into 2023 and, according to the Gun Violence Archive, America has already experienced over 7,000 firearm-caused deaths. Additionally, the Gun Violence Archive has reported 269 unintentional shootings have taken place in America.

A map created by the gunviolencearchive.org showing the amount of firearm-caused deaths that have occurred in America and where they occurred between January 1, 2023 and March 7, 2023. (Image by Samantha Ordanes)

One of these unintentional deaths involved a dog stepping on its owner’s hunting gun and shooting him dead. Another case involved a 6-year-old shooting his teacher in Virginia. It should never be possible for a child to get a hold of a gun and shoot someone but in America apparently it is.

I want to say that these along with other accidental shooting deaths could have been prevented if gun control laws became stricter, but I’m not sure if I fully believe in that statement. But you don’t need me to tell you this. You’ve watched the news, heard someone talk about it at work or school, and you may even know someone who has experienced a shooting.

This is the problem. Shootings have been a common topic on the news. Shootings are as popular a topic as a new Taylor Swift new album or Kim Kardashian’s new boyfriend.

“Shooting at Monterey Park 10 killed and 10 injured,” my mom told me the morning of January 22nd. I looked at the TV which was broadcasting the news and it showed a road with shops on either side closed off with yellow police tape. I immediately recognized the area as the place where I used to get dim sum all the time and the bakery I used to buy from when I went to my mom’s work.

A memorial created outside of the Star Ballroom Dance Studio for those who lost their lives in the Monterey Park Shooting on January 21, 2023. (Image by Zedembee and Wikimedia Commons)

Authorities reported that the shooter responsible for the devastating Monterey Park shooting was a 72-year-old divorced man who was familiar with the area. He, along with his ex-wife, used to volunteer at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio which was the location of the shooting. It was disgusting hearing that a shooting took place somewhere I found comfort in as a child, but sadly this is a relatable feeling for so many. Ultimately, the Monterey Park shooting sparked another gun control discussion in California.

The original California common sense safety laws were originally effective with Governor Gavin Newsom stating that, “we have a 37% lower gun death rate than the national average,” in a press conference discussing how California plans to strengthen its gun laws. However, a new bill passed by the Senate has been introduced to update the regulations of the already existing California common sense safety laws. These updates include, modernizing “the standards and processes for obtaining a public carry permit in California,” according to the California state website.

A graph created by everytownresearch.org showing the tragic impact firearms have on youth. Innocent young lives have to suffer the consequences of so many violent shootings as it is the number one cause of death in children and teens in America. Their families have to mourn over the fact that their child was a victim to the so many young lives that are taken by firearms. (Image by Samantha Ordanes)

But is this updated California gun law enough? The government has been so absent in all of this that so many shootings have happened and so much death has occurred that frankly I can’t see America without guns and this terrifies me.

If I have kids, am I going to have to experience the fear that my mother felt when she dropped me off at school the day of the Sandy Hook Shooting? Are my kids going to ride the same rollercoaster of emotions that I did when my Filipino grandmother told me she was going to the grocery store during the height of the AAPI hate crimes? Are my kids going to feel the same anxiety I have when I hear loud booms outside my house? Will any of the government’s (slow) progress ever be enough?