The United States is no stranger to gun violence. As a new school year starts, schools across America have continued practicing for active shooters. According to a Washington Post analysis of data from the Gun Violence Archive, in the United States, gunfire has killed more than 8,100 in the first five months of 2021. In lives lost per day, that would be 54 lives, which is 14 more than in previous years.
2020 was one of the deadliest years for gun violence in America (Thebault and Rindler). Looking back, in the first five months of 2021 compared to the first five of 2020, shootings have exceeded the number of casualties that have killed or injured at least one person. The Washington Post states, “From 2015-2019, about 40 people per day were killed in incidents of gun violence. 2020 saw a huge increase in gun deaths compared with previous years, and 2021 is trending even higher.”
From January to September, 14,516 people died from gun violence in the U.S; 1,300 more than the same time period last year (Lybrand).
Experts have attributed the increase in gun violence to issues in our roots that continue to prevail today, such as inequality, increasing gun ownership, and rocky relations between police and the communities they protect, all of which were intensified during the coronavirus pandemic and the uprisings for racial justice. (Thebault, Fox, and Ba Tran)
“The pandemic exacerbated all of the inequities we had in our country — along racial lines, health lines, social lines, economic lines. All of the drivers of gun violence pre-pandemic were just worsened last year.” ( Buggs)
Richard Rosenfeld, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis says in an article for CNN, "(I) immediately after George Floyd was murdered and widespread protests broke out across the country, that's what we saw in a number of cities -- a very, very large uptick in homicides.”
Rosenfeld also explains this is why the rise in gun violence is slowly dwindling. In the first quarter of 2021, homicides were 23% higher than in 2020. In the second quarter, the number went down to 10% (CNN).
The pattern in gun violence can be compared to a similar event that happened back in 2014 around the shooting of Michel Brown. "What we're seeing now is exactly what we saw (seven years) after the Ferguson incident and protests emerged across the country," said Rosenfeld. "We saw a sizable uptick in homicide in the big cities, and that uptick persisted -- depending upon the city -- for a year, sometimes a little more than a year."
As new patterns emerge showing an increase in gun violence, eyes are on the government, schools, and businesses to combat this major issue.