US mass shootings: Half Moon Bay attack takes number of mass shootings in America this year to 38 – Steve Cardownie

The news that there has been another mass shooting in the USA, depressing as it is, should come as no surprise.

A makeshift memorial outside the scene of another deadly mass shooting in America, this time in Monterey Park, California (Picture: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
A makeshift memorial outside the scene of another deadly mass shooting in America, this time in Monterey Park, California (Picture: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A suspect, Zhao Chunli, was arrested after seven of his former co-workers lost their lives in the attack in the coastal city of Half Moon Bay, California, on Monday. This came just days after 11 people perished in a similar attack a six-hour drive away in Monterey Park, as they celebrated the Lunar New Year.

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors president, Dave Pine, said: “We are sickened by today’s tragedy in Half Moon Bay, there are simply too many guns in this country and this has to change.” And he is not wrong!

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A mass shooting is defined as four or more people injured or killed and, according to the Gun Violence Archive, this latest attack takes the total of mass shootings to 38 in just 24 days.

The Small Arms Survey (SAS) released a report in 2017 about the number of civilian firearms in the world. It estimated that 393 million guns were owned by United States citizens, with the US census of the same year estimating the population to be 326 million. So, there are more guns in the United States than there are people, working out at 120.5 guns per 100 residents. Further research found that 30 per cent of adults actually own a gun with the numbers explained by many owners having ten or 20 guns in their possession.

The SAS report also highlighted that the United States has just four per cent of the world’s population but its civilians own 40 per cent of the world’s firearms. Just as alarmingly, of the 393 million guns in civilian ownership, the SAS estimated that only 6.06 million are registered. The Pew Research Center stated that the most common type of firearm among gun owners is a handgun, with about 39 per cent of men and 22 per cent of women saying they own a firearm.

There were 1.5 million firearm deaths in the United States between 1968 and 2017 and, in 2020 alone, 45,000 American lives were ended by a bullet with gun deaths being the number one cause of death among young people and children, surpassing motor vehicle deaths and those caused by other injuries. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4,357 youngsters, from the ages of one to 19, lost their lives in 2020 due to firearm violence.

According to a recent opinion poll, about four in ten Americans think that they are likely to be a victim of gun violence in the next five years so it is hardly surprising that, in the same poll, 71 per cent said that gun laws should be stricter.

Last June the US President, Joe Biden, signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which expanded background checks for the youngest gun buyers and provided funding for mental health and violence intervention programmes. This marked the first time in 30 years that the US Congress had approved a major gun safety bill.

Given the above statistics, there is obviously a long way to go. In the meantime, we should be prepared to wake up to the news that there has been another mass shooting in America.