America is once again watching the aftermath of another bloody mass shooting.
A gunman opened fire on a subway car filled with passengers during Tuesday morning rush hour in Brooklyn.
As of this writing, 16 people are reported hurt with 10 of them in critical condition. Smoke was seen billowing out of the subway car as people ran out to safety. A massive manhunt is underway for the shooter, who police believe was acting alone.
Florida is no stranger to mass gun violence, with the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland coming to mind. Shortly after the attack in Brooklyn, Gays Against Guns (GAG) responded. Their board secretary, Jay Walker, said, "[Tuesday’s] subway mass shooting and the wave of gun violence in our city in recent months reflect just how vulnerable New Yorkers, and all Americans, are to the over-proliferation of guns throughout our society.”
GAG formed in New York City after the Pulse shooting in Orlando. While New York has strict gun laws, GAG’s Walker says a lack of help at the federal level limits what the state can do. “New York has long had very strict laws limiting the ability of the vast majority of New Yorkers to legally purchase, own, and carry guns; but, due to the absence of effective and comprehensive federal gun violence prevention [GVP] laws, countless weapons are trafficked into NYC on the Iron Pipeline from southern states with weak-to-nonexistent GVP laws. The result is the kind of carnage we saw in Brooklyn.”
Situation Could Get Worse
New York is known for its strict firearms laws, but that could soon change. Their century-old laws are under review by the U.S. Supreme Court. GAG is bracing for a potentially devastating decision.
“If that case, New York State Rifle Association v. Bruen, brought by an NRA crony organization, is decided by the conservative majority on behalf of the plaintiffs, then New York's existing century-old gun laws could be found unconstitutional and be invalidated in one fell swoop.”
Gutting New York’s policy along with federal inaction could quickly make a bad situation much, much worse.
“The presence of such a thriving black market in firearms makes that sad reality all the more deadly,” Walker said. “Rather than just dealing with all of the illegally trafficked guns, we will then also have to deal with a proliferation of legally purchased guns, which can only make matters even more dangerous for every New Yorker.”
Walker said the next development is easy to predict.
“Our worst fear is that we will see an escalating arms race between law enforcement and organized criminals in cities across the country, making all of our communities, but particularly poor and working-class communities of color, far, far less safe than they already are during this current wave of gun violence."
Support From Parkland Parents
In January, GAG held a rally to raise awareness of the looming decision. In attendance were Patricia and Manuel Oliver. They lost their son, Joaquim, at Parkland. At the rally, Manuel Oliver said, “We realized that gun violence goes far beyond our schools. It makes sense for us to meet with other groups. Gays Against Guns does a lot of things the same way that we do them.”
The Olivers founded Change the Ref, an organization dedicated to empowering young people to make social change through education, conversation, and activism.