The US has surpassed 100 mass shootings in 2023, a disturbing milestone that underscores the grave cost of inaction in Washington and state legislatures across the country.
America reached the grim number by the first week of March – record time, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive, which, like CNN, defines a mass shooting as one in which at least four people are shot, excluding the shooter.
Last year, the US hit 100 mass shootings on March 19, per the GVA, almost two weeks after this year’s date. The previous year, 2021, saw a late March date as well, and from 2018 to 2020, there weren’t 100 mass shootings until May.
“Americans are tired of fearing if they or their families will be the next victims of a mass shooting. Our children are tired of being told to ‘run, hide, and fight,’” said Kris Brown, president of Brady: United Against Gun Violence, an organization seeking to mitigate gun violence in the US.
“These regular, uniquely American tragedies must be a call to action for our political leaders. We need decisive change to US gun laws and regulations. The cost of political inaction on preventing gun violence is increasingly, tragically clear,” Brown said.
But following passage of last year’s bipartisan gun safety law, there’s been little political momentum in the divided Congress for more gun safety legislation, even as the rate of mass shootings has picked up.
“Although fatal and nonfatal firearm injuries are growing, no real legislative response has followed acts of gun violence in support of individuals or the communities in which they live. And there is scant proof that prevention measures, such as active shooter drills, have reduced actual harm,” Mark S. Kaplan, a professor of social welfare at UCLA, told CNN.
“There are real solutions and tools – including bans on the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines – available now that can make a difference, but only if our elected officials act to implement them,” he added.
Yet America’s relationship to gun ownership is unique, and its gun culture is a global outlier, complicating legislative efforts.
There are about 120 guns for every 100 Americans, according to the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey. No other nation has more civilian guns than people. And about 44% of US adults live in a household with a gun, and about one-third own one personally, according to a November 2020 Gallup survey.