STEPHANIE RUHLE (HOST): This morning, stark and upsetting new numbers coming out of New York City: 53 people shot from Friday to Monday, four of them dying from those gunshot wounds, including a 1-year-old baby boy, Davell Gardner Jr. He was shot and killed during a cookout in Brooklyn on Sunday. His grandmother asking, “When is this going to end?" This morning, there are still no arrests in that case. And in Atlanta, Georgia, a 9-year-old boy, Javonni Carson, who was struck in a drive-by shooting last week. He is now at home recovering, his mother telling reporters he was making a TikTok video with his siblings when he was hit by gunfire.
This sharp spike in shootings plaguing many cities across this nation as they deal with a pandemic, an economic crisis and social unrest. Shannon Watts is the founder of Moms Demand Action, a grassroots movement fighting to end gun violence in the United States. Shannon, I want to start there. What is your reaction to this uptick in shootings we're seeing across the country?
SHANNON WATTS (FOUNDER, MOMS DEMAND ACTION): It's absolutely tragic, and it's so heartbreaking. In many ways what we're seeing is a perfect storm, right? The pandemic has exacerbated the root causes of gun violence and it’s created unprecedented challenges for community violence-prevention groups and now it's summer, which is the time of year in many cities when gun violence has historically risen.
We know that there are solutions to gun violence in America. We haven't even tried trying, really, as a country. Here we are, having this conversation about gun violence, and yet I rarely see people talking about the potential solutions, like funding community violence programs, passing stronger gun laws. Every high-income country is dealing with this pandemic right now. Only America is giving easy access to arsenals and ammunition to civilians. And, clearly, this uptick that we've seen in gun sales over the last few months is exacerbating the crisis.