May 25, 2022

US Activists Wear Orange in Honor of Gun Violence Victims | Voice of America

Activists in the United States are hoping to see buildings across the country bathed in orange on Friday to commemorate National Gun Awareness Day to honor victims and survivors of gun violence. 

The Wear Orange campaign seeks to raise awareness about gun violence and encourages people to dress in orange clothing on Friday and for organizations and businesses to light their buildings in orange — the color hunters wear to protect themselves and others from an accidental shooting. 

Organizers say that in 2020, #WearOrange trended nationally on Twitter with more than 150,000 Americans taking part, along with more than 300 businesses. They say more than 100 buildings and landmarks, including 11 stadiums, turned skylines orange last year.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, events this year and last year are taking place virtually. Organizers are looking toward social media and encouraging supporters to post pictures of anything orange. Support last year came from musicians, actors, athletes and politicians, including then-presidential candidate Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama.

Biden Moves to Curb US Gun Violence

US leader: Mass killings are ‘a blemish on our character as a nation’

The Wear Orange campaign and National Gun Awareness Day began in 2015 to commemorate the death of Hadiya Pendleton, a high school student from the South Side of Chicago. 

Pendleton marched in Obama’s second inaugural parade in 2013 and the following week was shot and killed on a playground in Chicago. Shortly after her death, Pendleton’s friends decided to commemorate her life by wearing orange. The campaign was born on June 2, 2015, what would have been Pendleton’s 18th birthday, and now takes place on the first Friday in June.

A study in May by the Pew Research Center found that guns are deeply ingrained in American society and the national political debate.

The research found that about a third of U.S. adults own a gun, and 44% say they live in a household with a gun. The rates of gun ownership vary based on political affiliation, sex and geography. Gun ownership rates are higher among Republicans than Democrats (50% vs. 18%); men than women (45% vs. 18%); and those living in towns or rural areas (48%) versus those living in suburbs (25%) or cities (23%).

FILE - Several types of weapons, including AR-15 style rifles, are displayed at a gun shop in Virginia. (Photo: Diaa Bekheet)
FILE – Several types of weapons, including AR-15 style rifles, are displayed at a gun shop in Virginia. (Photo: Diaa Bekheet)

Pew found that about half of Americans (48%) saw gun violence as a very big problem, with the rest saying it is either a moderately big problem (24%), a small problem (22%), or not a problem at all (6%). The attitudes differed significantly according to race, with 82% of Black respondents saying it is a very big problem, compared to 58% for Hispanic respondents and 39% for white respondents.

Americans are divided over gun control laws, with 53% favoring stricter gun control, according to the research. There is agreement between Republicans and Democrats for some gun policy proposals, including restricting gun access from the mentally ill (85% of Republicans and 90% of Democrats support this). However, other proposals are politically divisive, such as creating a federal database to track all gun sales, supported by 86% of Democrats but only 43% of Republicans.

Gun violence in the United States accounted for 39,707 deaths in 2019, the latest year for which data is available. According to figures from the U.S. Centers and Disease Prevention, the gun deaths included 23,941 suicides and 14,414 homicides.

Mass shootings are statistically rare, accounting for fewer than 1% of all firearm homicides in the United States. However, such shootings are becoming more deadly, and they create fear in the minds of the public, especially when the shootings take place in everyday locations such as schools, stores and workplaces.

A History of Mass Shootings

Who commits public mass shootings? What motivates them to kill? With the help of a landmark database, VOA examines the social, psychological, emotional and environmental factors that contributed to these rare crimes.

In the decade beginning in 2000, an average of nine mass shootings occurred each year in the United States. During 2020, when much of the country was under coronavirus lockdowns, the number of mass shootings sharply declined, with only two recorded during the year.  

The Congressional Research Service defines mass shootings as one event in which four or more people are killed with firearms, not including the gunman, and at least some of the shooting deaths occurred in a public place and in close proximity to each other. And finally, the killings are not attributable to an underlying criminal activity, like a robbery, or commonplace circumstance, like a romantic triangle.

Now that coronavirus restrictions are lifting across the country, mass shootings are again on the rise, with at least five taking place so far in 2021.

in U.S.
Related Posts

Senate Republicans Set to Block US Voting Rights Bill | Voice of America

June 22, 2021

June 22, 2021

Republicans in the U.S. Senate are expected to block the advancement of a major voting rights bill Tuesday. The Senate top’s...

From Uzbekistan to Inspecting American Bridges: An Engineer’s Story | Voice of America

May 30, 2021

May 30, 2021

About 40% of the more than 617,000 bridges in the U.S. are at least 50 years old, and of that...

Democracy Imperiled Biden Warns, as He Pays Tribute to Nation’s War Dead | Voice of America

May 31, 2021

May 31, 2021

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – “Democracy itself is in peril – here at home and around the world,” U.S. President Joe Biden...

Former Police Captain Eric Adams to Be NYC’s Next Mayor

November 3, 2021

November 3, 2021

Democratic Party candidate Eric Adams, a former police officer, is New York City’s next mayor. Following Tuesday’s election, which he...

Biden to Return Diverted Border Wall Money, Spend Down Rest | Voice of America

June 12, 2021

June 12, 2021

Former President Donald Trump’s signature border wall project would lose much of its funding as well as the fast-track status...

George Floyd’s Family Holds Rally Marking One Year Since His Death | Voice of America

May 24, 2021

May 24, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – Members of George Floyd’s family, and others who lost loved ones to police encounters, joined activists and...

In the Absence of In-Person Classes, Dentistry Courses Use Virtual Reality | Voice of America

June 21, 2021

June 21, 2021

While virtual reality-based simulation is commonly used in medical education, its use in dental education is still limited. Two university...

Infrastructure Bill Would Upgrade Aging US Waterways System | Voice of America

June 6, 2021

June 6, 2021

UTICA, ILLINOIS – It’s a routine sight on the Illinois River: towboats slowly pushing barges carrying everything from salt and...

Bidens Announce Death of ‘First Dog’ Champ | Voice of America

June 19, 2021

June 19, 2021

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden on Saturday announced the passing of their German shepherd Champ,...

US Defense Secretary Backs Change in Military Sex Assault Prosecution | Voice of America

June 23, 2021

June 23, 2021

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday said, for the first time, that he will support long-debated changes to the military...

California to Extend Eviction Ban, Pay Back Rent for Tenants | Voice of America

June 26, 2021

June 26, 2021

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – California will extend its ban on evictions and cover back rent and utility payments for people who...

Ransomware Hits Hundreds of US Companies, Security Firm Says | Voice of America

July 3, 2021

July 3, 2021

A ransomware attack paralyzed the networks of at least 200 U.S. companies Friday, according to a cybersecurity researcher whose company...

American Actor Ned Beatty Dies at 83 | Voice of America

June 14, 2021

June 14, 2021

NEW YORK – Ned Beatty, the indelible character actor whose first film role as a genial vacationer raped by a...

Biden Admin Halts Oil Drilling in Alaska Wildlife Refuge | Voice of America

June 2, 2021

June 2, 2021

WASHINGTON – US President Joe Biden’s administration announced Tuesday it was halting petroleum development activity in the Alaska’s Arctic National...

Florida Governor Announces Start of Python Challenge | Voice of America

June 29, 2021

June 29, 2021

Florida’s governor has announced the start of Python Challenge in Everglades National Park. The python removal will start July 9...