NEW YORK – The Juneteenth holiday weekend marked yet another deadly weekend in the U.S. as gun violence killed and wounded hundreds of people across the country. Gun violence continues to be the leading cause of death for children, teenagers, and college-aged people. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there were at least 538 shootings this weekend in which at least 193 people were shot and killed.
A snapshot of the weekend’s gun violence:
- On Friday, a mass shooting in Sequatchie, Tennessee left five people, including three children, dead, and a sixth person was wounded. Authorities believe the shooter had a history of domestic violence as a judge had previously granted their estranged wife – one of the victims of yesterday’s shooting – an order of no contact after they threatened her with a gun.
- In California, eight people were shot and wounded in Carson at a gathering early Saturday morning. The victims ranged in age from 16 to 24 according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
- At the campgrounds of the Beyond Wonderland music festival at the Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington state, two people were shot and killed and several others were wounded in a mass shooting Saturday night.
- In Mifflintown, Pennsylvania, on Saturday morning, two state troopers were shot, one fatally, in a multi-scene shootout.
- In Illinois, one person was killed and 22 more were wounded during a shooting at a Juneteenth celebration in Willowbrook, early Sunday.
- On Sunday morning, a teenager was shot and killed and 11 other teens wounded in a mass shooting in downtown St. Louis. According to police reports, the victims were all between 16 and 19 years old.
- Six teenagers — including four minors — were shot and wounded Monday afternoon near Milwaukee’s Juneteenth celebrations.
“Juneteenth weekend is an acknowledgment and celebration of Black liberation and yet, once again it was a weekend in America that was marked by hundreds of shootings, tearing apart families, communities, and celebrations across the country,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, Executive Director of Moms Demand Action. “This violence is not inevitable – but it is the result of generations of systemic racism that have forced Black communities to bear the brunt of America’s gun violence epidemic. We know that we still have a long way to go to end gun violence – particularly its impact on the Black community – and we will not stop fighting until everyone in America lives in a future free of gun violence and that every community can thrive.”
Juneteenth is a federal holiday that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans; it is celebrated on the anniversary of the order by Major General Gordon Granger proclaiming freedom for enslaved people in Texas on June 19, 1865 — two years after the Emancipation proclamation was issued. The holiday serves as a reminder of the hope and joy the future holds. Black Americans disproportionately bear the burden of gun violence in the U.S. — experiencing gun homicides at 12 times the rate of white Americans, experiencing gun assault injuries at 18 times the rate, and experiencing nearly three times the number of fatal police shootings of white Americans.
To save lives, lawmakers at every level must take meaningful action to prevent access to guns by those who are a danger to themselves or others, invest in community-based violence intervention programs that do life-saving work in the nation’s hardest hit communities, and reject any efforts to pass gun-lobby-backed bills that would weaken lifesaving gun laws.
As several state legislatures continue their state legislative sessions, lawmakers have the opportunity to pass life-saving gun safety laws. California is currently advancing a bill to strengthen its gun safety laws after they were threatened by the Supreme Court’s ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen. Tennessee is preparing for a special session during which they should work to pass an Extreme Risk law. Delaware is considering legislation that would require individuals to have a permit prior to purchasing a gun.