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Michigan school shooting reveals the epidemic America is ignoring

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Republicans have repeatedly hyped up a phony threat of « critical race theory » when it is school shootings that pose a real danger to the physical and psychological safety of students across the country, writes Julian Zelizer.
When a gunman opened fire at Oxford High School in Michigan on Tuesday, killing four students and injuring seven others with a 9-millimeter Sig Sauer semi-automatic pistol that police said his father bought just four days earlier, it was another tragic reminder that the government has failed to address the need for stricter gun control. The 15-year-old suspect has been charged with one count of terrorism causing death and four counts of first-degree murder. This is not an isolated event. There have been 48 shootings on K-12 campuses this year,32 of them since August 1. School shootings became more infrequent during the pandemic, with students learning remotely from home. Now that kids are finally able to return to the classroom, however, this is the risk — and the terror — they face once again. For decades, the US has faced an epidemic of mass shootings and the list of horrendous school massacres just keeps getting longer. Although Congress passed the first federal gun control law in 1934, the gun lobby has in more recent decades exerted its influence on allies in the House and Senate to prevent tighter restrictions on the sale of guns and ammunition. The issue has also become increasingly partisan, with Democrats generally supporting tougher regulations while Republicans have championed an expansion of gun rights. More recently, Republican state legislatures have been trying to make it easier not only to obtain firearms but to carry them around. Republicans have repeatedly hyped up a phony threat of « critical race theory » when it is school shootings that pose a real danger to the physical and psychological safety of students across the country.

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