Political violence risk on the rise as US elections loom, guns spread
A recently released report highlights the deficiencies in state laws across the United States that are meant to protect voters and election workers from a rising threat of gun violence.
A newly published report underscored the inadequacy of state laws throughout the United States in safeguarding both voters and election workers against the "rising threat of gun violence," a report by the Brennan Center for Justice revealed.
This threat is connected to the escalating trend of loosening firearm regulations, increasing firearm sales, and growing distrust in the democratic process with US political leaders exacerbating the situation at hand.
The report titled Guns and Voting by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law and Giffords, a gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who survived being shut in the head, issues a warning about the significantly altered legal landscape in which the 2024 election will take place.
The alarming rise in gun violence in the #US continues to shatter records, with an average of one mass shooting per day in the first half of 2023, and nearly a dozen mass shootings over the 4th of July weekend alone. pic.twitter.com/HmLzZngnQ5— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) July 8, 2023
In 2010, merely two states permitted individuals to carry concealed firearms in public without requiring a permit or background check, as per the report. Presently, this number has risen to 27 states that allow "permitless carry". While certain states have enhanced their firearm regulations during this timeframe, the Supreme Court's actions have posed a challenge to their capacity to do so, potentially limiting their authority in this regard.
In recent years, both firearm sales and violence in the United States have surged, the report added. With over 42 million guns sold in the years 2020 and 2021, there was a 15% increase in incidents involving firearms, a 34% uptick in nonfatal gun injuries, and a 28% rise in gun-related fatalities between March 1, 2020, and February 28, 2021.
Presently, Donald Trump stands as the leading Republican contender for the 2024 presidential election, despite debates over his involvement in inciting the January 6 insurrection, which might legally disqualify him from running for office again. Trump also confronts four ongoing legal cases, including two related to his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
The anticipated GOP candidate is expected to compete against Democratic President Joe Biden, who is seeking re-election in the upcoming year. While Biden has taken limited executive actions on firearm regulations and endorsed a bipartisan safety measure last year, Democratic endeavors to pass comprehensive federal legislation on gun control and voting rights were met with fierce opposition from Republican lawmakers in Congress, the report detailed.
"With more guns and more political polarization and violence, states need strong laws to limit risk," it asserted.
It provided a comprehensive examination of recent alterations in US gun control laws, the role of disinformation in promoting political violence, and the growth of extremism and firearm-related violence, including incidents of mass shootings.
Despite the bleak warnings accompanied by the many mass shootings, the #US is still plunged in the #gunviolence epidemic, and it doesn't seem that it will stop any time soon. pic.twitter.com/8VSQMpWGOd— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) February 22, 2023
Allison Anderman, one of the co-authors of Guns and Voting and also the Senior Counsel and Director of Local Policy at Giffords Law Center, reiterated the report's plea for action in a statement made on Monday.
"Though American elections have remained safe and secure, both political and gun violence pose significant risks to the safety of voters and people bravely conducting our elections," she said. "The 2024 presidential election brings an unprecedented confluence of factors that heighten these risks."