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In Georgia, it is now easier to buy a gun than to vote.

There is no waiting period in Georgia to buy a gun. In the most recent mass act of violence in Atlanta, Georgia, the perpetrator could purchase a firearm within hours of carrying out violence. In fact, reports state that the terrorist did purchase the weapon the same day he killed eight people. Yet, there is no same-day voter registration in Georgia.

You cannot wake up in the morning, decide you want to be a voter and go to the nearest polling location. But you can wake up in the morning, drive to the nearest gun shop and buy a gun. Who can vote, how they can vote and when they can vote are more heavily regulated than the sale and ownership of weapons. The right to bear arms and the right to vote are constitutionally protected, yet only one of these rights is expanded.

Why is it that our elected officials and public servants excuse the behavior of violent white supremacists and refuse to pass legislation to prevent further atrocities? These same people are willing to pass a full slate of legislation against voter fraud without any proof. After a mass shooting, legislatures mostly have no concrete action to make it harder to buy a gun. Yet, the Georgia legislature has been willing to pass a slate of legislation altering the voting system and, in effect, making it harder to vote without even having proof that voter fraud is a pervasive problem. These same legislators are trying to create a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist, all the while ignoring a very real and existential problem for vulnerable communities in this country.

It always goes back to the race of those carrying out the alleged "crimes" and the race of those affected by these "crimes." Following the 2020 election, the narrative on the right devolved from shock to downright disbelief that it was possible so many low-income and minority voters could turn out for an election. If it wasn't possible, then how did it happen? By fraud of course. The "perpetrators" of these alleged crimes were urban, low-income and minority voters; the "victims" were white rural voters who were cheated out of an election.

As of February 2021, 33 states have introduced 165 restrictive bills related to voting rules and regulations. At the same time, the courts, FBI and the Department of Justice have found zero evidence of voter fraud. Yet, our country has witnessed atrocity, after atrocity, after atrocity, at the hands of gun violence, from Sandy Hook to Las Vegas, carried out by white men. And in some cases, the victims have been Black, like in Charleston; gay, like in Pulse nightclub; or Asian American, like the most recent shooting in Atlanta.

When a life is viewed as being not worth as much as the life of those taking it, the response will logically fall short of justice. Violence against Asian Americans is nothing new in America — from Japanese internment to the Chinese Exclusion Act, Asian Americans are continually used as a scapegoat for the problems plaguing our country. Although the U.S. has had over a year to contain the coronavirus and failed to do so, the narrative on the right has continued to be that China is to blame for all of America's problems. In fact, studies have shown that whenever our elected officials or leaders used language such as the “China virus” or “kung flu,” there was a correlating rise in hate crimes. Even the sheriff that held a press conference March 16 to discuss the shooting in Atlanta has been found to be guilty of this. Images from his Facebook page show he was promoting a shirt that read "COVID 19, Imported from Chy-na". Could this have something to do with the fact that he excused the shooter's behavior as having a "bad day"?

We cannot normalize any kind of violence against minority communities. We must hold our elected officials and leaders accountable and not let them resort to fear mongering. Let us work together to solve the real problems this country faces, which includes gun violence.