Since the 1994 assault weapons ban expired in 2004, Congress has failed to enact any major gun violence prevention legislation. Fed up with inaction after countless school shootings, students such as Aarika Roy took it upon themselves to push legislators to act on rising gun violence.
Aarika Roy pictured in June 2022. (Photo credit: Aarika Roy)
Aarika’s parents immigrated to the United States from India to give their family a better life. Instead, Aarika and her peers face the ever-looming threat of gun violence tearing through their school hallways. From a young age, Aarika feared for her own mother’s life while she worked as a schoolteacher. After the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, she experienced her first lockdown drill at age 6, not knowing if it was real or practice. From Sandy Hook to Uvalde, 98 students and faculty members have lost their lives from school shootings, and thousands have endured the trauma—without any significant legislative changes. Aarika and her peers had enough and decided to organize a rally to end gun violence and call on Congress to pass legislation to protect the nation’s schools. After planning and recruiting people through social media, turnout soared from 100 to 500; many cars honked in support, and Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) herself joined to speak. In the aftermath of the tragedy at Uvalde, the Biden administration passed America’s first major federal gun safety legislation in nearly 30 years.
To my peers and I, the gun safety bill is a crucial part in the safety of our youth in our schools, not only for our age group, but for generations to come. We understand that it won’t please everyone, but without it, we will fall deeper into our current cycle of gun violence.
Under President Joe Biden, Congress overcame a decadeslong stalemate to enact the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. By making it harder for guns to fall into the hands of dangerous individuals and investing in school mental health resources, the legislation is an important first step toward protecting America’s schools and communities.
Read more on how laws passed under Biden have helped Americans
This collection features stories from Americans across the country whose lives and communities have benefited from the legislative and executive actions passed under the Biden administration.