JACL Calls for Further Reform after 4th of July Shooting in Highland Park, Illinois

The JACL was shaken by the recent mass shooting at a parade in Highland Park, Illinois this 4th of July that left 6 dead and 38 injured. This attack was one of several mass shootings that occurred over the weekend and marks at least the 308th mass shooting in the U.S. this year, according to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit tracking such incidents. The organization defines a mass shooting as involving four or more people shot, not including the shooter.


The mass shooting in Highland Park took place only 9 days after President Joe Biden signed into law the first major federal gun safety legislation in decades. This bipartisan bill represented the most significant new federal legislation to address gun violence since the expired 10-year assault weapons ban of 1994. The legislation came together in the aftermath of recent mass shootings at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school and a Buffalo, New York, supermarket that was in a predominantly Black neighborhood.


The passage of this legislation shows proof of concept that bipartisan gun legislation reform can be passed, and these tragedies highlight the need for further legislation and stronger enforcement of existing laws. Had the new law been in place, perhaps some of the red flag provisions may have kept the gunman from acquiring his weapons. Although the recently passed legislation represents the most significant gun violence prevention laws passed in decades, it still falls short of what is needed to prevent the mass murders that have become a daily occurrence.


Congress must go further to pass measures including comprehensive background checks and reinstating the assault weapons ban with more stringent restrictions on high-capacity ammunition. These weapons serve only one purpose, to kill and maim large numbers of people in a short amount of time in the waging of war, and deserve no place in the hands of private citizens.