By Christina Greer
Sigh, there are so many, too many guns in our communities, in our cities, and in our country. It seems like guns have permeated our nation and with the Supreme Court’s latest ruling, I fear guns will soon infiltrate the city of New York.
When I think of other nations, so many democracies make it difficult to own a gun. In Japan, if you are interested in owning a gun, you must go through a lengthy background check, justify your reason for wanting a gun, undergo a psychological screening, and even your neighbors and members of your community are interviewed to assess whether one has the mental fortitude to own such a powerful weapon.
Can you imagine if the United States actually took steps to assess whether or not individuals should own a gun, let alone several guns? Can you imagine if the United States had a robust process to prevent 18-year-olds from owning AR-15s and other assault weapons used in war? Can you think of how safe we would be as a nation if we cracked down on illegal guns and prevented the flow of guns into depressed neighborhoods? And how much safer would we feel if we did not let people stockpile guns and actually go through lengthy background checks to assess whether they needed the firearm and the insane amount of ammunition?
It is so incredibly easy to purchase a gun in the United States, either from a local sporting goods store, a big box store, a gun show, or any shop that feels like making money by selling a weapon to anyone who has the funds.
We know the laws that prosecute individuals who are caught with guns in their possession are often racially targeted toward Black and Latino communities and help feed the prison pipeline and mass incarceration.
However, the recent rulings that strengthen the second amendment are quite frightening as white supremacists see carrying weapons in public as a way to exercise their constitutional right, but as we have often seen, they do so as an intimidation tactic toward innocent people (often from marginalized communities) who are minding their own business and not looking for an altercation.
It is imperative that our leaders make carrying guns in city spaces a thing of the past. We must also pressure them to pass legislation that makes owning stockpiles of weapons of destruction more difficult.
We have two more elections ahead of us in New York this year — on August 28 for the Congressional primaries and State Senate races and November 8 for the general election between Democrats and
Republicans — and we must do our research to make sure candidates uphold their promises to protect the communities most affected. As we have sadly seen, guns can affect any family in the blink of an eye.
Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” and the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC.