This weekend was marked by a slate of tragic shootings across the Southern region. On Friday, bystanders were caught in the crossfire of a gunfight at the 16th annual Hood-Nic car show in southeast Arkansas. A shooting broke out into the crowd, leaving one man dead and 27 others wounded — at least six of whom were children. On Saturday in North Carolina, three people were killed and three more were wounded in a shooting at a Fayetteville hotel. And in Texas, a spring break evening turned violent when a fight on the beach devolved into a shooting that left three people injured, one in critical condition. Early Sunday saw even more gun violence in Texas when four people were shot and wounded in downtown Austin, and at least ten people were wounded in a Dallas shooting. These are just some of the incidents that took place over the weekend and are a devastating manifestation of our country’s gun violence epidemic, representing only a fraction of the gun violence that impacts communities across the region every single day.
In an average year, 19,000 people are killed by guns in the Southern region and 44,000 more are wounded — a crisis that has grown even more dire over time. The past few years have seen a jump in gun sales alongside record homicide rates in cities, unprecedented levels of gun violence on school grounds, increased incidences of road rage, and much more.
Despite this unacceptable level of violence in our communities, lawmakers in states across the region are actively working to weaken their gun safety systems by removing foundational gun safety laws. Research shows that states with weak gun laws have higher rates of gun violence. Instead of pushing policies that are proven to make communities less safe, like permitless carry and Shoot First, lawmakers should be working to advance common sense gun safety measures that will save lives — such as funding community-based violence intervention programs, educating gun owners about the importance of secure firearm storage, and creating processes for Extreme Risk Protection Orders.
More information about gun violence in the United States is available here, and Everytown’s interactive gun law platform — which shows the direct correlation between the strength of a state’s gun laws and its rate of gun deaths — is available here. Everytown’s interactive calculator tool that estimates the economic cost of shootings at the local level, including the cost to taxpayers, estimated the total cost of the five shootings mentioned above reached nearly $40 million.
If you would like to speak with a volunteer from Moms Demand Action or Students Demand Action, please do not hesitate to reach out.