At the behest of at least one gun-control organization, lawmakers in the House and Senate have proposed a resolution to make June 2nd “National Gun Violence Awareness Day” and the month of June “National Gun Violence Awareness Month.”
The resolution was spearheaded by Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin (D) and Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D), who were undoubtedly swayed to introduce the measure by Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun-control organization funded by billionaire business magnate Michael Bloomberg.
Everytown has been pushing to make June 2nd “National Gun Violence Awareness Day” since 2014. Every year since then, Everytown has been asking its members and followers to “wear orange” to acknowledge, as the website says, “there’s more we can do to end gun violence.”
“We wear orange on June 2 to honor on that day the people whose lives are affected everyday by gun violence in America. We have communities where parents are afraid to let their kids outside to play, to sit on their own front porches or even walk to the corner store. No one in America, no matter your region or zip code, should ever have to live this way,” said Kelly, in a press release.
The wear orange concept was inspired by Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old girl who was fatally shot in the back while standing with friends in a Chicago park on January 29, 2013. On her birthday that year, June 2, 2013, friends and family members of Pendleton gathered in the park where she was gunned down to promote non-violence by wearing orange, a nod to hunters who wear bright orange for safety.
“The determination of Hadiya’s family and friends to find purpose in their pain in working to make all communities safer is an inspiration to me and to all who believe in the right of every child to live free from the threat of gun violence,” added Kelly.
The two men who were connected to the shooting of Pendleton, Michael Ward, 18, and Kenneth Williams, 20, were known gang members. Ward, the gunman, was on probation at the time of the shooting after pleading guilty to aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. In addition to that charge, Ward was arrested for breaking into vehicles, misdemeanor trespassing, and as a minor, arrested for robbery, battery and marijuana possession.
The two men told police that Pendleton was not the intended target. The men apparently confused the group she was standing with as rival gang members.
Perhaps, “National Gun Violence Awareness Day” misses the mark. Perhaps instead of focusing on the hardware, Bloomberg’s group and these lawmakers ought to launch a “Gang Violence Awareness Day.” After all, gangbangers are responsible for much of the violence that is perpetrated in this country, whether that be with guns or baseball bats or knives or chains or any object that can be used to cause harm.
If we shut down the gangs, gang violence will disappear. If we ban guns like so many of these advocates would like, gang violence will still be prevalent.
Senators cosponsoring the resolution include: U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Edward Markey (D-MA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Al Franken (D-MN), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Jack Reed (D-RI).
Representatives cosponsoring the resolution include: Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY), Rep. Charles B. Rangel (NY), Rep. Mike Thompson (CA), Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI), Rep. Joyce Beatty (OH), Rep. Tammy Duckworth (IL), Rep. Alcee Hastings (FL), Rep. Barbara Lee (CA), Rep. Watson Coleman (NJ), Rep. Fudge (OH).