NEW YORK (NewsNation) — Texas’s most recent mass shooting is drawing attention to the disturbing trend of rising gun violence in America. There have been more mass shootings in the U.S. than days in the year so far in 2022.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, which tracks mass shootings in the U.S., Tuesday’s gruesome school shooting at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school marks more than 200 mass shootings so far this year.
The issue of gun violence may be America’s new public health crisis, as the images of bullets and bodies lying on streets across the country have become almost unbearable.
Before the Uvalde attack, the largest-scale mass shooting this year happened two weeks ago when 10 Black shoppers were shot and killed during a racist attack at a Buffalo, New York supermarket. Now 19 children and two adults meet the same fate at Robb Elementary School.
Americans are again left asking why and what can be done to stop it from happening again.
The FBI said there were 61 “active shooter incidents” in 2021, where shooters targeted people in public places.
“There are families that are in mourning right now, and the state of Texas is in mourning with them,” said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
The tragedy in Uvalde marks the 27th shooting at a K-12 school in 2022, according to Education Week. The online publication also reported there had been 119 since 2018, with 34 school shootings occurring last year.
Tuesday’s tragedy also marked the deadliest shooting at a U.S. school since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.
Since 2018, there have been four mass shootings in Texas. Those shootings cleared the way for the state to allow concealed firearms at churches, colleges and universities, and K-12 schools.
However, Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention group in America, says Texas has very weak gun laws.
Last year, the state passed legislation allowing people 21 and over to legally carry guns without a license or training. Long rifles, like the one used in Tuesday’s school shooting, can be openly carried in public.
Texas has no restrictions on gun sales, and lawmakers have failed multiple times to pass universal background checks.
Overall, gun violence in America has reached record-breaking numbers. In 2020, more than 45,000 Americans died at the hands of a gun — that was an average of 124 people dying every day, whether by homicide or suicide using a firearm.
The overall gun death rate increased by 15% from 2019, making it the highest level ever recorded, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Five thousand more people died from guns in 2020 than in 2019.
“As a nation, we have to ask, when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?” President Joe Biden said, calling for new gun restrictions in an address to the nation hours after the attack.
Gun-related deaths have surpassed 17,000 so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
Now, once again, there are calls for change. Americans are asking lawmakers to help reduce gun violence and pass meaningful and reasonable gun control legislation.
Some argue the research is unclear on how gun legislation policies would directly correlate with ending violence on America’s streets. Instead, they claim the focus should be on limiting or eliminating gun ownership for those with a violent criminal history or mental illness that could put themselves or others at risk.
“What are we doing?” asked Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy. “There have been more mass shootings than days in the year.”
Some believe pro-gun lobbyists have an incredible amount of influence on lawmakers in Washington, making it hard to get meaningful legislation passed.
Meanwhile, Abbott and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz are scheduled to speak at an NRA event in Houston later this week. Some have suggested the two men cancel the speaking engagement out of respect for the lives lost in their state.