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Frequent shootings see mass killings happening at record pace in US – ABC News

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Frequent shootings see mass killings happening at record pace in US
The US has been setting a record pace for mass killings this year, with fatal shootings happening roughly once a week.
The carnage has taken 88 lives in 17 mass killings over 111 days.
Each time, the killers wielded firearms.
Only 2009 was marked by as many such tragedies in the same period of time.
So far this year, children at a Nashville primary school were gunned down on an ordinary Monday.
Farm workers in Northern California were sprayed with bullets over a workplace grudge.
Dancers at a ballroom outside Los Angeles were massacred as they celebrated the Lunar New Year.
In just the past week, four partygoers were allegedly murdered and 32 injured in Dadeville, Alabama, when gunmen opened fire at a 16th birthday.
And a man just released from prison fatally shot four people, including his parents, in Bowdoin, Maine, before opening fire on motorists travelling a busy interstate highway.
"Nobody should be shocked," said Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime was one of 17 people killed at a Parkland, Florida, high school in 2018.
"I visit my daughter in a cemetery. Outrage doesn't begin to describe how I feel."
The Parkland victims are among the 2,842 people who have died in mass killings in the US since 2006, according to a database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today, in partnership with Northeastern University.
It counts killings involving four or more fatalities, not including the perpetrator, the same standard as the FBI, and tracks a number of variables for each.
The bloodshed represents just a fraction of the fatal violence that occurs in the US annually.
Yet mass killings are happening with staggering frequency this year — an average of once every 6.53 days, according to an analysis of The AP/USA Today data.
The 2023 numbers stand out even more when they are compared to the tally for full-year totals since data was collected.
The US recorded 30 or fewer mass killings in more than half of the years in the database, so for there to have been 17 less than a third of the way through this year is remarkable.
From coast to coast, the violence is sparked by a range of motives: murder-suicides and domestic violence, gang retaliation, school shootings and workplace vendettas.
All have taken the lives of four or more people at once since January 1.
Yet the violence continues and barriers to change remain.
The likelihood of Congress reinstating a ban on semi-automatic rifles appears far off, and the US Supreme Court last year set new standards for reviewing the nation's gun laws, calling into question firearms restrictions across the country.
The pace of mass shootings so far this year doesn't necessarily foretell a new annual record.
In 2009, the bloodshed slowed and the year finished with a final count of 32 mass killings and 172 fatalities.
Those figures just barely exceed the averages of 31.1 mass killings and 162 victims a year, according to an analysis of data dating back to 2006.
The data shows a high of 45 mass killings in 2019 and 230 people slain in such tragedies in 2017.
That year, 60 people died when a gunman opened fire over an outdoor country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip.
Charts illustrate the mounting toll of gun violence in America.
The massacre still accounts for the most fatalities from a mass shooting in modern America.
"Here's the reality: If somebody is determined to commit mass violence, they're going to," said Jaclyn Schildkraut, executive director of the Rockefeller Institute of Government's Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium.
"And it's our role as society to try and put up obstacles and barriers to make that more difficult."
There's little indication at either the state or federal level — with a handful of exceptions — that many major policy changes are on the horizon.
Some states have tried to impose more gun control within their own borders.
Last week, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a new law mandating criminal background checks to purchase rifles and shotguns, whereas the state previously required them only for people buying pistols.
US President Joe Biden has issued an executive order that reinforces background checks for gun buyers, in what the White House is promoting as the most-comprehensive policy the president can enact without the approval of Congress.
And on Wednesday, a ban on dozens of types of semi-automatic rifles cleared the Washington state legislature and is headed to the governor's desk.
Other states are experiencing a new round of pressure.
In conservative Tennessee, protesters descended on the state Capitol to demand more gun regulation after six people were killed at the Nashville private elementary school last month.
At the federal level, US President Joe Biden last year signed a milestone gun violence bill, toughening background checks for the youngest gun buyers, keeping firearms from more domestic violence offenders, and helping states use red flag laws that enable police to ask courts to take guns from people who show signs they could turn violent.
Despite the blaring headlines, mass killings are statistically rare, perpetrated by just a handful of people each year in a country of nearly 335 million.
And there is no way to predict whether this year's events will continue at this rate.
Sometimes mass killings happen back-to-back — like in January, when deadly events in northern and southern California occurred just two days apart — while other months pass without bloodshed.
We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Australians and Traditional Custodians of the lands where we live, learn, and work.
This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced.
AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)


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