Mass shootings, such as the one that killed eight people at a spa in Atlanta or the eight that died in the Indianapolis FedEX facility days later, seem almost commonplace these days. (In the interest of intellectual honesty, I concede that these deaths account for a very small fraction of the nation’s gun deaths but still yield a devastating effect.)
Mass shootings never stopped during the pandemic; in fact, it was quite the opposite. As COVID-19 spread across the country, infecting and taking thousands of lives last year, we had one of the deadliest years due to gun violence in decades. Now, after a plea from Americans for a more hopeful 2021, gun violence continues to plague us. .
A mass shooting is defined as an incident where four or more people, not including the shooter, have been shot or killed.
A mass shooting is defined as an incident where four or more people, not including the shooter, have been shot or killed. According to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit, there have been 185 mass shootings so far this year, as of May 8th. Now the U.S is currently averaging more than one mass shooting a day, continuing a trend since researchers began tracking them in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in 2012. Last year, there were 610 mass shootings identified, the most in any year since the organization began tracking in 2014. If this rate continues, the U.S is likely to have 511 mass shootings, the most of any year between 2014 and 2019, but this number could potentially increase, given that these tragic events are more likely to occur in the second half of the year.
Similarly, there were about 20,000 Americans lost due to gun violence in 2020, the most of any year in two decades, causing the highest one year increase in homicides since the U.S. started recording this data. Another 24,000 Americans died from shooting themselves that year as well. Currently, the U.S is on pace for approximately the same number of Americans to die from gun violence as last year, with 15,083 lost so far.
“Gun violence is an epidemic in America. But we should not accept it. We must act. God bless the eight fellow Americans we lost in Indianapolis and their loved ones, and we pray for the wounded for their recovery.”
In a statement, President Biden exerted pressure on Congress to begin to pass gun reform in response to the growing number of deaths and mass shootings. “Gun violence is an epidemic in America. But we should not accept it. We must act. God bless the eight fellow Americans we lost in Indianapolis and their loved ones, and we pray for the wounded for their recovery.”
More recently, the Justice Department proposed a new rule that could expand the definition of what’s considered a firearm in order to close the loophole which prohibits Americans from purchasing ghost guns, ones that can be assembled easily through kits and are not affected by gun regulation on the federal level. This is the latest effort from the Biden administration to lower the number of gun-related deaths in this country. Last month he ordered the Justice Department to find a solution for ghost guns within 30 days to prevent criminals who otherwise may not pass background checks from purchasing a gun.
"Criminals and others barred from owning a gun should not be able to exploit a loophole to evade background checks and to escape detection by law enforcement.”
Aftering announcing this groundbreaking proposal, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a statement, “Criminals and others barred from owning a gun should not be able to exploit a loophole to evade background checks and to escape detection by law enforcement.” He went on to say, “This proposed rule would help keep guns out of the wrong hands and make it easier for law enforcement to trace guns used to commit violent crimes, while protecting the rights of law-abiding Americans.”
The concern involves the ease and frequency with which criminals buy the kits containing every component and direction needed for constructing a firearm in only 30 minutes. When these firearms are found at crime scenes by law enforcement, more often than not, they cannot be traced since there is no serial number. Gun retailers cannot sell kits that contain the necessary parts to construct a gun without a background check, and such weapons must include a serial number on specific parts. Any 3D printed guns or firearms without serial numbers that are intended to be sold now require federally-licensed dealers to add the serial numbers needed.
For too long, gun violence has plagued our streets. A better, peaceful future now seems promising as President Biden and others are making efforts to more tightly regulate the distribution of firearms.