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As Country Re-Opens After COVID, Gun Violence Dominates Weekend Headlines

May 24, 2021

Common-Sense Solutions Include Background Checks and Community-Based Violence Intervention Programs

Today’s New Everytown Report On Crime Guns and Gun Trafficking Shows 82% Of Likely-Trafficked Guns Recovered Across State Lines Came From States Without Background Checks on All Handgun Sales

Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action Volunteers, Gun Violence Survivors are Available for Interviews

This weekend, as COVID-19 cases continue to plummet and the country continues to reopen, communities across the nation experienced surges of gun violence. These shootings are a painful reminder of the urgency with which action is needed. This weekend’s tragedies included: 

  • In Minneapolis, two people were shot and killed and eight wounded in a shooting Friday night. 
  • In New Jersey, two people were shot and killed, with at least 12 more people wounded, at a house party in Fairfield Township on Saturday night. 
  • In Ohio, three people were shot and killed, with at least three others wounded during a shooting at an Ohio bar early Sunday morning.
  • Also in Ohio, a 16-year-old girl was shot and killed, with five other young people wounded and two others wounded, during a shooting on Saturday night at a music party in downtown Columbus. 
  • In South Carolina, a 14-year-old girl was shot and killed, and 13 others were shot and wounded, during a concert and cookout in North Charleston on Saturday night.
  • In Chicago, at least eleven people were shot and killed—including a 15-year-old boy—and at least 35 more were shot and wounded in shootings across the city since Friday night, as daily gun violence continues to ravage cities nationwide.

“This weekend’s shootings across communities nationwide are another reminder of the deadly stakes of fighting gun violence,” said Michael-Sean Spence, director of Community Safety Initiatives at Everytown for Gun Safety. “We already know the common-sense solutions that are proven to prevent these tragedies, from requiring background checks to sustaining community-based violence intervention programs, but it’s on lawmakers to answer this wake-up call and take action.”

Every day, more than 100 people in the U.S. are shot and killed and more than 230 are shot and wounded. This weekend’s shootings add to the rash of mass shootings, police shootings, and city gun violence that disproportionately kills Black, Latinx, and trans people that continued unabated during the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated gun violence in 2020, as the country fought both epidemics. An Everytown report found that total deaths from gun violence in 2020 exceeded 40,000—the highest rate of gun deaths in more than two decades. Gun homicides and non-suicide shootings increased 25% from 2019, taking approximately 19,300 lives in 2020. 

A new report from Everytown released today on gun trafficking finds that nearly a third of traced guns were bought across state lines before being used in a crime, and that 76% of traced crime guns that crossed state lines came from states that do not require background checks on all handgun sales. Additionally, 82% of likely-trafficked guns recovered across state lines came from states without laws requiring background checks on all handgun sales.

As gun violence continues to devastate communities across the country, lawmakers on every level must take action to save lives:

  • The U.S. Senate has an opportunity to pass life-saving background check legislation. Federal law does not require background checks for guns sold by unlicensed sellers, like non-dealers who sell guns online or at gun shows. An Everytown investigation found that nearly 1 in 9 people arranging to buy a firearm on, the self-proclaimed largest online gun classifieds, are people who would fail a background check. 
  • To prevent the flow of guns into our communities, state lawmakers should strengthen gun safety laws and follow the lead of states like Virginia which passed a bill to address the Charleston loophole and Maryland which enacted a law to require background checks on all gun sales and passed a suite of police accountability measures in an effort to prevent police violence. 
  • State and local leaders should follow the lead of California and New York and increase funding for community-based violence intervention programs. These programs apply a localized approach to reducing gun violence in the country’s hardest-hit neighborhoods by applying a public health model to end the cycle of gun violence.
  • States should reject efforts to weaken gun laws. Texas and Louisiana lawmakers should follow the lead of Indiana and put a stop to dangerous permitless carry legislation. And states like New Hampshire should follow Wyoming and Alabama’s lead and reject extreme efforts to nullify federal gun laws and punish local law enforcement for doing their jobs.

Mayors can join the ranks of Mayors Against Illegal Guns like Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver did following the mass shooting at a Boulder grocery store.

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