The United States has had more mass shootings than days in 2015. As of December 2, 344 days into the year, the U.S. has been subject to 351 mass shootings. The most recent include the horrific and senseless Planned Parenthood shooting the day after Thanksgiving and the San Bernardino shootings on December 2, Washington Post reports. These mass shootings also include school shootings, such as the Roseburg, Oregon, shooting on October 1, as well as racially-inspired shootings including the South Carolina church shooting. The South Carolina shooting took place on June 17 and took nine innocent lives.
So far in 2015, a year with just less than a month less in the calendar year, the mass shootings have exceeded 2014’s total. The number of mass shootings in 2015 are also on pace to dwarf the record set in 2013 of 363. This is according to Reddit’s mass shooting tracker. The tracker includes “mass shootings” which include four or more casualties (deaths or injuries), due to gunfire, in a single incident. This number includes the gunman/gunmen.
Just days later, at the tail-end of a year flush with tragic mass shootings, San Bernardino and the rest of the nation were rocked by yet another. CNN reports that a center for people with developmental disabilities found itself under siege around 11 a.m. on December 2. When all was said and done, 14 people were killed and at least 14 more injured at a health department holiday party, in addition to the two shooters who lost their lives after fleeing from police.
In the second of this week’s mass shootings, the two shooters (who police are now “confident” as being the only two involved) have been identified as Sayed Farook and Tashfeen Malik. The male/female pair are believed to be devout Muslims, although details are sketchy at this early stage of the investigation.
Following the second of this week’s high-profile mass shootings, President Obama issued another plea for more thorough gun control. His public call for more restrictions came prior to reports that at least one of the AK-47 assault rifles used in the mass shooting was purchased through legal channels.
Despite the nearly unprecedented number of mass shootings in the United States in 2015, many are resistant to legislation that restricts access to firearms. This despite the reasonable nature of the proposed changes to current gun control measures.
“The one thing we do know is that we have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world. There’s some steps we could take not to eliminate every one of these mass shootings, but to improve the odds that they don’t happen as frequently. Common-sense, gun safety laws, stronger background checks.”
The President of the United States isn’t advocating confiscating guns from law-abiding citizens. He’s advocating more intensive background checks. In the past he’s advocated making it more difficult for citizens with demonstrated, known mental health issues to access guns. He’s advocated the lapses in U.S. gun laws that allow many citizens to circumvent background checks entirely.
While the United States reels from ever more frequent mass shootings, one would think that there has to be something we can do to reduce their frequency. We can’t prevent every criminal from getting their hands on a gun. What we can do is make it impossible for certain known threats to get their hands on a firearm legally. We can’t prevent all future mass shootings: there are too many guns in too many hands in the U.S. for that to be feasible. We can do everything within our power to reduce the number of future mass shootings through responsible legislation.
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