IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 26, 2022
Contact: Sahiba Kaur | Media Relations Manager | email@example.com
UVALDE, TX- On May 25, 21 people were killed by a gunman who opened fire in a small-town elementary school in Uvalde, TX. Among the dead, 19 have been reported to be children along with two adults. We have heavy hearts after this horrific act of violence, and cannot fathom the indescribable pain parents, family members, and the community are experiencing as they mourn this immense loss.
This attack happened only days after a gunman opened fire in a grocery store in Buffalo, NY, killing ten innocent shoppers in a predominantly Black neighborhood. Though we are heartbroken by these consecutive acts of hate, we vow to take action and condemn gun violence of any kind by urging Congress and every state legislature to enact gun regulation measures as swiftly as possible.
The Sikh American community is no stranger to the pain and suffering experienced by gun violence. In April 2021, a gunman opened fire in a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, killing eight innocent lives, including four Sikh Americans. Ten years ago, on August 5th, the Sikh congregation in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, suffered, at the time, the deadliest mass-casualty attack on a house of worship in the U.S., killing seven Sikh worshippers.
The Uvalde shooting is the deadliest school shooting on American soil since Sandy Hook, which will also mark its ten-year anniversary this December. Washington’s inaction in the past decade is out of step with the will of the American people: a poll by Morning Consult and Politico conducted before the Uvalde shooting found more than 59% of respondents believed it was ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ important that elected leaders pass common-sense gun safety laws.
There are measures the Senate can and should take now to advance the cause of gun safety after the events of the past few weeks. H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, would close the loophole that allows a private seller to opt out of conducting the same background checks on potential buyers that licensed sellers must conduct. H.R. 8 has cleared the House and has yet to receive a vote in the Senate, despite nearly a quarter of Americans reporting they did not undergo a background check when purchasing their most recent gun.
There are other common-sense gun safety measures that have bipartisan support and have been implemented in several states, like red flag and yellow flag laws. These laws create a mechanism for people close to high-risk individuals – family, friends, teachers – to report the risk to authorities, who can seize the firearms with sign-off from medical professionals and/or judges, depending on the individual state. Red flag laws have been shown to work in several states, and have been praised as effective mitigators of incidents of mass violence by representatives of those states, including by Republican Senators like Mike Braun of Indiana.
We call on every sitting United States Senator to vote to send the Bipartisan Background Checks Act to the desk of the President. We also call on all sitting members of Congress to craft and pass national red flag legislation to allow state and local authorities to work with community members and seize firearms before they are used to commit mass murder.
Each and every individual in the US feels the threat of gun violence, and refusing to recognize this as a clear public health issue is complacency as the problem continues to become more complex, more tragic, and more uniquely American. Therefore, we urge members of Congress to pass the above legislation and encourage all our supporters to do the same.