At the time of publication of this post, there have been 320 mass shootings in the U.S. so far this year, including the tragic shootings that occurred in a supermarket in Buffalo, NY, killing 10 innocent bystanders, and the school shooting in Uvalde, TX, that led to 19 children and two teachers losing their lives. In the wake of these tragic events, a new bipartisan gun bill has recently been signed into law that includes expanding background checks for gun buyers under the age of 21, federally funded crisis intervention programs, and increased funding for school safety.
While passing this new legislation is a step forward in helping to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous people, gun violence is still on the rise. Here are a few ways we can raise awareness and help those impacted by gun violence in our communities.
Vote and contact local officials
One of the best ways to advocate for continued gun reform is by casting your vote! You can also contact local representatives and get on the record often. Connect with your local congressperson or senator and encourage family and friends to join you in your ongoing effort.
Donate to gun violence prevention efforts
Donating money to verified fundraisers helping families in the wake of mass shooting tragedies offers immediate assistance. You can also donate to national advocacy organizations and local violence intervention programs such as Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action. Before donating, be sure to research how money is distributed.
Gunshot victims are five times more likely to require blood transfusions and 14 times more likely to die as a result of their injuries when compared to other serious life-threatening injuries. However, since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, there has been a decline in the number of people donating blood. Find your local blood donation center and make an appointment. Organizations such as American Red Cross have several local donation centers throughout the U.S. and need to increase supplies to help save lives.
Volunteering in support of gun violence prevention can take on many forms, from canvassing for politicians supporting gun control laws to volunteering at a local organization. Organizations such as Sandy Hook Promise seek volunteers to help raise awareness, fundraise, advocate for gun reform, and assist in other duties as needed. You can also raise awareness in your community simply by starting a dialogue with neighbors or starting a group with like-minded people you can volunteer with and collectively support local communities negatively impacted by gun violence.
Check out other tips for impacting your community, like how to help local organizations by volunteering virtually in our Ideas for Action blog.