A Watershed Moment for Gun Control in America?

Dr. Munr Kazmir
4 min readMay 27, 2022

George Floyd galvanized lawmakers and voters to support policing reform. Will Uvalde and Buffalo do the same for gun control?

Photo by Maria Lysenko on Unsplash.

The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis by then-police officer Derek Chauvin was, sadly, not unique.

Granted, most of America had- blessedly- never seen a snuff film prior to May 25, 2020. Most hoped never to do so and hope never to do so again.

But George Floyd, as gut-wrenching as his death was to watch, was hardly the first unarmed man killed by excessive force while in police custody.

In 2018, as an example, contacts between police officers and members of the public numbered upwards of 61.5 million. Out of those, police kill a grim average of 1,000 people per year, most years. A small percentage of the 1,000 are unarmed, 77 out of 1,136 people killed by police officers in 2021, for instance. Most are armed suspects actively trying to kill police officers or others; 73 police officers were killed last year while on-duty, a number up by almost 60%.

George Floyd wasn’t the first Black man killed by police, either; he wasn’t the first man to be killed by a police officer later found guilty of murder in the case, though most officers involved in fatal force cases aren’t prosecuted.

George Floyd wasn’t even the first unarmed person slowly and agonizingly suffocated under the weight of a police officer’s knee.

But the death of George Floyd, public as it was, was a watershed moment for policing reform in America. Because of that horrifying video, more people flocked to the cause of Black Lives Matter than ever before, elevating the organization from a small, struggling non-profit to a household name.

In the wake of Floyd’s death, Republicans and Democrats attempted significant criminal justice and policing reform measures. Former President Donald Trump issued an executive order aimed at policing reforms in June of 2020.

President Joe Biden has since gone even further, signing an Executive Order this week as we passed the second anniversary of the death of George Floyd.

“Two years ago, the murder of George Floyd exposed for many what Black and Brown communities have long known and experienced —…