We as a gun violence prevention organization decry the cycle of gun violence in America, with African American communities too often bearing the brunt. The police shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge – followed by the shooting of Philando Castile outside St. Paul – are abhorrent examples of the routinized use of violent, deadly force with guns as a first rather than last resort.
It is important to note that we value law enforcement as allies in working to keep communities safe. They are understandably concerned about the number of guns on our streets and their increased firepower. The escalation of the civilian arms race—with more and more people carrying more and more high-powered guns—is indeed alarming and dangerous, but that can never be an excuse to violate the rights of the civilians they are vowed to protect or to justify disproportionate force.
The arms race on our streets is making our communities more dangerous – not safer – and it is past time to end political posturing and come together to discuss and rationally address all forms of gun violence and its many causes.