A 4th of July parade in Chicago had six people killed and two dozen injured in the most recently reported mass shooting. The Gun Violence Archive now counts 322 mass shootings in 2022, which is almost as much as last year by only a few.
There were 692 mass shootings in 2021, which was the highest number since 2014 when the Gun Violence Archive started collecting this information. So far, we’re on track to reach a similar number this year.
The ease of access to firearms and assault rifles is obviously a factor, which led President Biden to sign one of the most significant gun laws in years, though it still falls short of their initial goals for gun legislation. The law demands stricter background checks for people between ages 18 to 20, forbids convicted domestic abusers from acquiring firearms, as well as enables judges to take guns away from people that are deemed dangerous to themselves or their community.
However, assault weapons with high-capacity magazines are still fairly easy to acquire for people over the age of 18 (or 21 in certain states) without mandatory background checks. The appeal to raise the age required to purchase firearms across the board didn’t go through as well.
There is no consensus on why mass shooting occurrences are becoming this frequent, though it’s not surprising that there is a direct correlation to firearm sales. Almost 9 million firearms were sold in the U.S. this year up until now. Last year, 20 million guns were sold in the U.S.
This inflated number of sales can be explained partly by the election – when a pro-gun control candidate is likely to win, opposers tend to buy guns as a precaution. But this is not what experts consider to be the only reason.
The uncertain economical state of the country during the pandemic lead to some of the highest numbers in gun sales ever recorded. This leads to many inexperienced people having access to guns, whether they were bought by them directly or by someone they know.
While gun violence isn’t a unique problem in the U.S., our country certainly stands out as an abhorrent example. According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, when it comes to gun deaths per 100.000 people, the United States is number one with 3.9. Second and third places are Cyprus and Bulgaria with 0.6 and 0.5, respectively, placing the U.S. far ahead.
This means that over 70% of mass shootings in developed countries happen in the U.S. alone.
While gun control seems like the most logical answer to prevent further casualties, there’s a huge disconnection between what the population and politicians want. Though a loud portion of the population is against gun control, even gun owners agree that stricter gun laws would save many lives.
As for the motives that would lead someone to start a mass shooting, these are most commonly ideological, fame-seeking, or vengeful. Shooters often pick crowded areas like restaurants or events where a lot of people congregate to cause the most damage, while school shooters that are usually younger most often do it for revenge.
While stricter gun laws will help, it will take a lot more to prevent such an absurdly high number of mass shootings in the U.S.