One of America’s most notorious mass shootings, the killing of 26 children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., happened nearly eight years ago, on Dec. 14, 2012. Since then, federal gun control laws have barely changed. The gun industry continues to produce assault weapons and high-capacity magazines without additional federal restrictions. Gun sales are on the rise. Mass shootings have also risen this year, even with much of the country under lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed over 280,000 Americans and infected nearly 15 million. Cities and states across the country have prohibited group gatherings while closing down schools, shopping malls, movie theaters, concerts and clubs — the sort of crowded, enclosed venues targeted by gunmen. But shutting down the venues hasn’t shut down shootings involving multiple victims. The Gun Violence Archive found there have been 592 mass shootings this year through Dec. 8, compared to 417 mass shootings for all of 2019, an increase of 41%. The GVA defines mass shootings as a minimum of four victims shot, including killed or injured.
“This was already a public health crisis before COVID arrived — and the pandemic has made things far worse,” said Michael-Sean Spence, director of community safety initiatives at the gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety. “We’re seeing the results of decades of inaction, further exposed by the pandemic.” [full article]