Gun violence: United Sikhs for strong controls over unauthorised gun use

United Sikhs, a global, humanitarian aid and civil rights organization working with a multitude of communities in the United States and overseas, has strongly advocated the need for stricter controls over unauthorised use of guns. Quoting  the recent spurt in the mass shooting incidents throughout the length and breadth of the United States, the organisation has also stressed the need for addressing the mental health issues that are generally corelated to the gun violence. Mass shootings in the last decade alone include the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Connecticut, the Sikhs Temple shooting in Wisconsin and Indiana, the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting, the recent  Uvalde, Oklahoma and Buffalo shooting and many others. Manvinder Singh of United Sikhs  said in a statement  that his organisation firmly stands against the senseless gun violence that is ravaging the United States. At least a dozen people have been killed and more than 60 injured in at least 10 mass shootings this weekend  alone in the United States.  His statement follows the recent introduction of Bill C-21 in the Canadian House of Commons that aims to control the guns through legislation by amending various existing laws.

As a global, humanitarian aid and civil rights organization working with a multitude of communities in the United States and overseas, says Manvinder Singh, United Sikhs is deeply committed to pressing our leaders for the safety of everyone, particularly vulnerable communities. “The increasing number of mass shootings and hate violence against our communities has a solution and we together must find it,” states Manvinder Singh, Advocacy Director at United Sikhs. 

He quotes a study of Brady Center that has collected data over five years to table all the gun related violent incidents in the United States. Brady Center, he says, in a renowned advocacy organization for gun regulation, revealed that “every year, 117,345 people are shot; and among those,40,620  people die from gun violence.”  Similarly, every year, 7,957 children and teens between the age of 1-17 are shot in the United States; and among those 1839 children and teens die from gun violence and 992 are murdered.” With the most recent Texas shooting of Robb Elementary school children in Uvalde, undoubtedly, gun deaths have become an epidemic.  

Manvinder Singh also quotes a study published in the American Journal of Medicine in March 2016  which found that Americans are 25 times more likely to die from gun homicide than people in other wealthy countries and not much has changed. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated official mortality data that showed 45,222 firearm related deaths  in the United States in 2020. In 2020, 4,368 U.S. children up to age 19 were killed by guns. 

The growing incidence of mass shootings are convincing evidence that we must rethink collectively the utility of guns in our daily lives. Empirical records of the mass shootings force us to confront the fact that we have no other option as a nation except working towards finding a legitimate equilibrium between the competing and conflicting gun control ideologies, which continue to divide our nation.  

At United Sikhs, he says, while we have a conscious regard for the Second Amendment right to bear arms, we are extremely cognizant of the fact that even constitutional rights are not absolute. We are worried that the deregulation of guns in our nation may be outweighing its constitutional rationale. “Common sense dictates that if mass shootings came to be an American epidemic because reasonable gun controls do not exist, then it may mean that we are not doing all that we can to protect ourselves and our children on a mere principle,” states Wanda Sanchez Day, a civil rights attorney with United Sikhs.  “The wave of mass shootings by persons who should never have had access to guns attests to the need to curb access,” she added.  “Leaders must encourage the use of appropriate technology to its full potential in order to ensure protection for the public; and more importantly, the public mental health epidemic in this country must also be addressed,” she states. 

Manvinder Singh concludes saying that United Sikhs  joins advocates around the country to call for common sense legislation that has as a reasonable aim to control unauthorized use of guns, expands background checks on all gun possession, holds all those who possess them accountable and keeps illegal guns off the streets.  We also call for addressing mental health issues that too often correlate with gun violence and the hate that underlies many of these crimes.