National Gun Violence Awareness Month: Don’t Give Up the Fight

By Published On: June 2nd, 2023

June is National Gun Violence Awareness Month, and we cannot let ourselves become numb to this devastating crisis.

We’ve reached a dismal point in the United States where when someone brings up a mass shooting from the past, it’s sadly common to ask in response, “Wait, which one was that again?” But while the increasing number of horrific mass shootings grab the most attention, there are even more instances of gun violence that don’t make national headlines—because if they did, every daily newspaper would need a dedicated section to attempt to cover all of the stories. 

June is National Gun Violence Awareness Month, which isn’t as much about raising awareness of the problem since most Americans are well aware of the issue. Rather, it is intended to help reignite the spark in our country’s fight to end the senseless deaths and injuries caused by guns every day. 

And, if we’re being totally honest, we could probably all use a little kick in the pants when it comes to advocating for gun reform. With 120 gun-related deaths per day in this country, the fight feels exhausting. And, despite our passion for change, many of us (myself included) are losing hope for a future free of gun violence.

Weary as we may be, June offers us an opportunity to shake off our disillusionment and keep trying. These staggering numbers prove that gun reform is as crucial as ever:

Given these statistics, it’s no wonder why an overwhelming majority of voters are in favor of common-sense gun laws. And there is evidence that these laws work to reduce gun violence. Data shows that states with the strongest gun laws have lower gun violence rates than states with laxer laws. Still, smaller governments all around the country continue to introduce bills and pass laws that allow for easier access to guns and less accountability. The federal government is not doing much better; after the 2022 mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Congress passed a bill that President Biden signed a law that did the bare minimum to address the problem. And since then, it’s been nothing but crickets on the issue from Capitol Hill. 

It often feels like the very people we have elected to represent us are actively working against our best interests when it comes to gun violence. Day after day, we hug our kids at school drop-off like it’s the last time we’ll ever see them; we mentally plan out escape routes and locate hiding spots in public spaces—or we avoid these places altogether; we keep to ourselves, careful not to anger someone who may be carrying a concealed weapon; we wonder if our children or we will be shot for simply ringing the wrong doorbell, turning around in someone’s driveway, or mistaking someone else’s car for our own. 

Meanwhile, our elected officials offer us their well-rehearsed thoughts and prayers with every headline-worthy tragedy. Our representatives speak to us as if their hands are tied—suggesting our only hope is in a higher power—while they continuously vote against gun reform and quietly rake in donations from the National Rifle Association (NRA).  

Yes, this fight is tiresome, but it’s one we absolutely can’t walk away from. We cannot allow ourselves to become numb to the fact that every single day, 120 of our neighbors are dying because of gun violence. If we give up now, we surrender to this life of fear and tragedy, which is simply unacceptable.

This year, let’s use National Gun Violence Awareness Month as an opportunity to dust ourselves off and rejoin the mission. Start by adding some orange to your outfit June 2 through 4 to honor victims and survivors of gun violence and call attention to the gun crisis. Then, contact your representatives to urge them to pass gun reform legislation (in fact, set a reminder to contact them monthly). Also, consider joining an organization like Moms Demand Action, which advocates for common-sense gun laws nationwide. And no matter what, never underestimate the power of your vote and show up to the polls at every election.