The United States has surpassed 100 mass shootings in 2023, a disturbing milestone that underscores the heavy cost of inaction in Washington and state legislatures across the country.
America reached the bleak number by the first week of March – a record time, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive, which, like CNN, defines a mass shooting as one in which at least four people are shot, without the shooter being included.
Last year, the US hit 100 mass shootings on March 19, according to the GVA, nearly two weeks after this year’s date. The previous year, 2021, also had a late date in March, and from 2018 to 2020, 100 giants weren’t until May.
“Americans are tired of worrying whether they or their families will be the next victims of a mass shooting. Our kids are tired of being told to ‘run, hide and fight,’” said Kris Brown, president of Brady: United Against Gun Violence, an organization that seeks to reduce gun violence in the US.
“These regular American tragedies must be a call to action for our political leaders. We need decisive change in US gun laws and regulations. The cost of political inaction to prevent gun violence is becoming tragically clear,” Brown said.
But this follows passed last year’s bipartisan gun safety law, there has been little political momentum in a divided Congress for more gun safety legislation, even as the rate of mass shootings has increased.
“While fatal and non-fatal firearm injuries are on the rise, there has been no real legislative response following acts of gun violence to support individuals or the communities in which they live. And there is little evidence that prevention measures, like active shooter drills, have actually reduced harm,” Mark S. Kaplan, a professor of social welfare at UCLA, told CNN.
“Real solutions and tools – including bans on the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines – are available now that can make a difference, but only if our elected officials act to implement them,” a he said.
But America’s relationship with gun ownership is a unique one, and gun culture is a global outlier, complicating legislative efforts.
There are about 120 guns for every 100 Americans, according to the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey. No other nation has more civilian guns than people. And about 44% of US adults live in a household with a gun, and about one-third personally own one, according to a November 2020 Gallup survey.
Nearly a third of US adults believe there would be less crime if more people had guns, according to a Pew survey from April 2021. However, multiple studies show that when people have easy access to firearms, they tend to there are more gun-related deaths, including by suicide, homicide and unintentional injuries.
Meanwhile, mass shootings continue to drive demand for more guns.
No wonder, then, that the US has more deaths from gun violence than any other developed country per capita. The rate in the US is eight times higher than in Canada, which has the seventh highest rate of gun ownership in the world; 22 times higher than in the European Union and 23 times higher than in Australia, according to Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation data from 2019.
“For survivors of gun violence, this is an extremely painful milestone, and it gets earlier and earlier every year,” said Liz Dunning, a spokeswoman for Brady whose mother was shot and killed while answering the door of her home in 2003. But survivors are taking more action, demanding that our lawmakers stand up to the corporate gun industry and take comprehensive measures to reduce the recent spate of mass shootings.”
Gun violence activism has become a central part of Democratic politics, with President Joe Biden repeatedly lamenting the inability of Congress to pass “sensible” measures after this year’s mass shootings.
Democratic Representative Maxwell Frost of Florida, the first member of Generation Z to be elected to Congress, has focused his 2022 campaign on ending gun violence in the United States, finding support among young voters who grew up of the “mass stock generation,” as he sought. calls it.
“We’ve seen these things and we’ve been thinking our whole lives as young people, in middle school, middle school and elementary school, why? Why is this happening? Why haven’t we fixed this? And now we’re in a place where we can vote and we can run, and we’re going to do it,” Frost said upon winning the Democratic nomination.
Last year’s bipartisan gun safety bill — supported by 14 Republicans in the House and 15 in the Senate — represented the most significant new federal legislation to address gun violence since the 10-year ban on assault weapons expired. in 1994. But he did not succeed. ban on any weapons and fell far short of what Biden and his party advocated for — and what polls show Americans want to see.
A majority of the public (66%) favored stricter gun laws, a July 2022 CNN poll found, with more than 4 in 10 saying the recently enacted gun legislation did not go far enough to change things.
But many Republicans, who now control the US House, have cited a mental health crisis in the United States as the cause of America’s gun violence problem, who have little interest in the government trying to control access to guns.
Mental health challenges have increased during the pandemic and violence has increased, but an analysis by researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that guns made those incidents far more deadly. Between 2019 and 2021, all of the increase in suicides and most of the increase in homicides came from gun-related incidents. The gun suicide rate increased by 10% while the non-gun suicide rate decreased.
The CNN poll, conducted a few weeks after mass shootings at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, found that 58% of Americans believed that stricter gun control laws would reduce the number of guns. – related deaths in the country. That was up from 49% in 2019 and similar to the 56% after the 2018 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
But until lawmakers on Capitol Hill demonstrate this majority, further gun safety legislation appears out of the question and the deadly cycle of violence continues.