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Three weeks and 33 mass shootings. This is America in 2023.


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At least 10 people are dead and 10 others injured after a mass shooting in Monterey Park, California on Saturday night as the city’s large Asian American community celebrated the Lunar New Year weekend.

Much remains unknown, but the scenes of agony and horror are increasingly familiar in America. In fact, Saturday’s mass shooting joins a staggering number of *32* others in the first three weeks of 2023 alone, according to Gun Violence Archive.

Communities from Goshen, California to Baltimore, Maryland are in shock as others brace for the possibility of such violence in their own backyards.

“A moment of cultural celebration … and another community has been torn apart by senseless gun violence,” Vice President Kamala Harris told a crowd in Tallahassee, Florida on Sunday. “All of us in this room and in our country understand that this violence must end.”

But how that happens with a divided Congress, vastly different policy prescriptions, and a deep-rooted gun culture remains to be seen.

It’s bad, but you watch it.

Gunshot wounds are now the leading cause of death for people under the age of 24 in the United States, according to research published in the December 2022 edition of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

From 2015 to 2020, there have been at least 2,070 unintentional shootings by children under 18 in the United States, according to a report by Everytown. These shootings left 765 dead and 1,366 injured.

An uneven load. A study published late last year in JAMA Network Open analyzed gun deaths over the past three decades – a total of more than one million lives lost since 1990.

The researchers found that gun death rates had increased for most demographic groups in recent years – particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic – but wide disparities persisted. The homicide rate among young black men – 142 homicide deaths per 100,000 black men aged 20 to 24 – was nearly 10 times higher than the overall gun death rate in the United States in 2021 .

Americans are armed like few others. There are about 393 million firearms in private ownership in the United States, according to an estimate by the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey. That’s 120 guns for every 100 Americans.

Although it is difficult to calculate the exact number of civilian-owned firearms due to a variety of factors – including unregistered guns, illegal trade and global conflict – no other nation has more civilian guns. than inhabitants.

About 45% of American adults report living in a household with a gun, according to an October 2022 Gallup survey.

The Gun Violence Archive, like CNN, defines a mass shooting as one in which at least four people are shot, excluding the shooter.

But what defines a mass shooting depends on who you ask.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, for example, cited 2012 legislation defining “mass murder” as “three or more killings in a single incident.”

Mass Shooting Tracker, a crowd-sourced database, defines mass shooting as “a single burst of violence in which four or more people are shot.”

Everytown For Gun Safety defines a mass shooting as any incident in which four or more people are fatally shot, excluding the shooter.

The absence of a firm definition does not help solve the problem. And the squishyness opens up room to interpret the data differently. The conservative Daily Caller, for example, cited a definition of “public mass shootings” included in a 2013 Congressional Research Service report that is so narrow that it identified only 78 between 1983 and 2012. .

A 2019 research paper published in Injury Epidemiology shed light on this issue: “Gun Violence Archive recorded the highest number of mass shooting incidents with 346 incidents in 2017, while Mother Jones recorded only 11 case.”

The conclusion of the authors? “Establishing a definition of ‘mass shooting’ will improve the quality of ongoing analyses. This could lead to improved not only public awareness and understanding of the facts of mass shootings, but also arguments for policy makers in favor of legislation that could ease the burden that mass shootings make. weigh on society.

It certainly doesn’t have to be that way. Countries that have introduced laws to reduce gun-related deaths have made significant changes, according to a previous in-depth analysis by CNN:

Australia. Less than two weeks after Australia’s worst mass shooting, the federal government has introduced a new scheme banning rapid-fire rifles and shotguns and unifying the licensing and registration of gun owners across the country. the country. Over the next 10 years, gun deaths in Australia fell by more than 50%.

A 2010 study found that the government’s 1997 buyout scheme – part of the overall reform – led to an average drop in firearm suicide rates of 74% over the following five years.

South Africa. Gun-related deaths nearly halved over a 10-year period after new gun legislation, the Gun Control Act 2000, came into force in July 2004. The new laws have made it much harder to get a gun.

New Zealand. Gun laws were quickly changed after the Christchurch mosque shootings in 2019. Just 24 hours after the attack, in which 51 people were killed, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the law would change.

Less than a month later, New Zealand’s parliament voted almost unanimously to change the country’s gun laws, banning all military-style semi-automatic weapons.

Britain tightened its gun laws and banned most private handgun ownership after a mass shooting in 1996, a move that saw gun deaths drop by nearly a quarter in a decade.

But American gun culture is a global aberration. For now, the murderous cycle of violence seems destined to continue.

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