RALEIGH (May 27, 2022) – Less than two weeks after a white supremacist targeted a Black community in Buffalo, New York and murdered ten people in a grocery store with a semi-automatic weapon, America again faced the horror of mass murder at the hands of a gunman. This time, a shooting in a predominantly Latinx community in Uvalde, Texas, claimed the lives of 19 elementary school students and two of their teachers. These tragedies are another sobering reminder of the cost of inaction by our lawmakers and how the violence embedded in America’s history continues to affect us today. We grieve with those impacted in Uvalde, Buffalo, and across our nation by this unrelenting epidemic of death and despair.

We cannot let gun violence continue any longer when we know remedial steps that would diminish this human carnage.

Firearms are now the leading cause of death among children, surpassing auto accidents in 2020. There have been 27 school shootings and 212 mass shootings this year. The statistics get grimmer: more than 17,000 people have died of gun violence in 2022, and it is only May.

Our children are terrified to go to school. Black communities again face the threat of racist violence—as do Asian communities, most recently targeted in a suspected hate crime in Dallas. And we need only look back a few years to recall the Pulse shooting targeting the LGBTQ community, the Tree of Life shooting targeting the Jewish community, and countless other examples of violence at the hands of a hate-filled person with easy access to semi-automatic weapons.

Our elected representatives can and must pass meaningful legislation to curb this violence, including a red flag law and expanded background checks. Many are growing increasingly outraged at the lack of action.

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy pleaded with his colleagues in the Senate. “I am here on this floor to beg, to literally get down on my hands and knees and beg my colleagues: Find a path forward here,” he said this past Tuesday.

Here in North Carolina, our friends and partners are hard at work advocating for policy reforms that will loosen the grip of gun violence on our culture. We stand with them in their work to bring reform and a future where our schools, grocery stores, salons, places of worship, homes, and streets are not plagued by gun violence.

This must be a bipartisan effort. We ask our lawmakers to enact legislation that will, at last, make meaningful change and break the cycle of tragedy upon tragedy.