The United States has seen a staggering 650 mass shootings in 2023, averaging about two per day, making it the second-highest number recorded since the Gun Violence Archive began collecting data in 2014.
The Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit organization, defines mass shootings as incidents where at least four people are injured or killed in a single event, not including the perpetrator. The data is collected from local newspapers and police departments across the country to create a comprehensive national database on gun violence.
In 2021, the US had the highest number of mass shootings with 690 incidents recorded. The number dropped to 647 in 2002 but saw a slight increase this year.
The rise in mass shootings is largely attributable to the high number of firearms in circulation in the US. According to the Small Arms Survey, there are approximately 120.5 firearms per 100 residents, with an estimated 390 million firearms in circulation as of 2018.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem, leading to a surge in gun purchases. This increase means that more US households now have guns compared to previous years, according to Kelly Drane, a researcher at the Giffords organization.
One of the deadliest shootings of 2023 occurred in Lewiston, Maine, where an Army reservist killed 18 people and wounded 13 others in a bowling alley and a restaurant. The gunman, Robert Card, was found dead after a three-day manhunt, having taken his own life in a truck near a recycling plant where he had recently worked.
The brutality of mass shootings often prompts calls for legislative reforms, but such efforts rarely result in meaningful change. President Joe Biden has consistently called for a new ban on assault rifles, but he has faced strong opposition from the Republican caucus that currently controls the House of Representatives.
In conclusion, the US continues to grapple with the devastating impact of mass shootings, with 650 incidents recorded in 2023. The availability of firearms and the challenges of enacting meaningful gun control legislation are just some of the complex issues surrounding this ongoing problem.