Mass Shootings: When Will it End?

Within 2023 alone, 22 mass shootings have been reported. Does the problem lie with the guns, or the people?


Zedembee, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

A memorial of the Monterey Park shooting this January.

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” A statement so many people like to throw into any sort of debate over gun regulations and shootings.

Many protests have also occurred to bring awareness to the lack of gun regulation in the US.

Allen, Texas. Henryetta, Oklahoma. Dadeville, Alabama. Louisville, Kentucky. Monterey Park, California. What do all these cities have in common? They are only a few of the many US areas to be victim to mass shootings within only the last five months. Since the beginning of 2023, the United States has been devastated by twenty-two mass killings, as of May 7th. And according to a database kept by USA Today, nearly 3,000 people have lost their lives in 553 high-profile shootings since 2006. This doesn’t even account for the shootings that happen on the daily all around the country, which are compiled in a list in the Gun Violence Archive. The news sugarcoats it, sending thoughts and prayers to families who may never see their loved ones again, promising that the problem will be stopped as soon as possible. But what really happens?

What is a mass shooting, exactly? The National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center (NMVVRC) says that “there is no universal definition of mass violence crimes, mass murders, or mass killings… [and] the lack of a consistent definition can be confusing[.]” Many news sources, police forces, and first responders often classify a shooting as a “mass killing” if four or more people are killed, not including the shooter themselves. This means that those 22 mass shootings aren’t anywhere near the total number of shootings in 2023 alone. ABC News reports 202 shootings across the US since January, meaning there have been more shootings than days in 2023.

A quick recap of not even a handful of mass US shootings this year (list provided by AP News):

  • January 21 (Monterey Park, California): A 72-year-old man shot and killed 11 people, as well as injuring 9 others, at a Lunar New Year celebration. The man later supposedly fatally shot himself.
  • January 23 (Half Moon Bay, California): In two back-to-back shootings, a man killed 7 people in Northern CA mushroom farms. He is facing charges from authorities.
  • March 27 (Nashville, Tennessee): Five people (3 students, 2 teachers) were killed in a private Christian school. Police forces later killed the shooter, who was identified as a former student of that same school.
  • April 10 (Louisville, Kentucky): An employee of the Old National Bank killed 5 and injured 8 people while simultaneously livestreaming the shooting. He was later killed by police.
  • April 15 (Dadeville, Alabama): 2 teens and a 20-year-old man were arrested on the charges of mass shooting at a Sweet 16 birthday party, where 4 were killed and 36 were injured by gunshots.
  • April 18 (Bowdoin, Maine): A man recently released from prison was charged on the account of killing 4 people in their own home, as well as injuring 3 others.
  • April 28 (Cleveland, Texas): A family of 5 was murdered by their neighbor, who was later arrested.
  • April 30 (Henryetta, Oklahoma): A convicted sex offender shot and killed his wife, her 3 children, and 2 of her friends before hiding their bodies and fatally shooting himself to escape charges.
  • May 6 (Allen, Texas): 8 were killed and 7 were wounded in an outdoor shooting. The gunman was killed by police forces.

Within five months, 55 people have been killed and 63 have been injured in mass shootings, from these 9 incidents listed alone.

Only in America can someone walk into a supermarket such as this and buy a rifle.

Where does the problem lie? When does the killing end? World Population Review reports that the United States holds the highest ratio of private gun ownership in the world, with 120.5 privately-owned guns to every 100 citizens. Canada, on the other hand, has very strict regulations on private gun ownership, prohibiting over 1,500 types of firearms as of May 2020. The country has had only 4 mass shootings since 1999, as recorded by Wisevoter. And while not unlimited, the United States has the loosest gun laws in the world, as stated in a comparison by PBS.

One mass shooting was enough for New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom, and Australia to implement stricter gun ownership laws, according to Time Magazine, heavily restricting to nearly eradicating entirely the ability to own any sort of assault rifle. Meanwhile, an American citizen can simply walk into a Walmart and purchase almost any type of gun with little to no question. And we wonder why so many people die in mass shootings.

But people kill people, right?