- 26 people were killed in a Texas church on Sunday, making it the 4th deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.
- Three of the deadliest shootings in US history occurred in just the last year and a half.
- The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention says gun deaths are going up in the US — 12 out of every 100,000 deaths in 2016 were from guns.
On Sunday, 26 innocent people were killed in one of the deadliest mass shootings in modern American history.
The violence in Texas is the most recent in a string of shootings that are becoming more frequent and killing more people every year. More than half of the deadliest shootings in US history occurred in the last decade, and three happened in just the last year and a half.
Time is already calling 2017 the ‘Deadliest year for mass shootings in modern US history.’
The Columbine shooting, which gutted America’s collective conscience when 12 students and one teacher were murdered at the Colorado high school in 1999, isn’t even one of the deadliest events on this list anymore.
Sunday’s violence happened in the tiny, unincorporated town of Sutherland Springs, Texas, when 26-year-old former US airman Devin Patrick Kelley gunned down victims ranging in age from 18 months old to 77 years old during a church service. Kelley was later found dead in a car nearby.
Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX) said that Kelley “was not supposed to have access to a gun.” But law enforcement officials told CNN that he still managed to get his hands on a Ruger AR-556 assault rifle, two years after he was kicked out of the Air Force for “bad conduct,” which allegedly involved assaulting his wife and child.
The weapons he used, like those in the recent Las Vegas and Orlando shootings, can fire off multiple rounds of ammunition in rapid succession.
In a statement following the tragedy, President Trump said that guns aren’t to blame, and “mental health is your problem here.”
But critics of the response have pointed out that earlier this year, Trump signed into law the repeal of a bill that kept mentally disabled people from purchasing firearms. The Obama-era rule was enacted after the San Bernardino terror attack.
Mass shootings still only account for a fraction of the US’ deadly gun violence, despite their increasing frequency. But the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention released new numbers on Friday that show the country’s gun death rate rose for the second year in a row in 2016.
From the mid-1990s through 2014, the firearm death rate in the United States had remained relatively steady at around 10 out of every 100,000 deaths. In 2015, that rate ticked up to 11 out of 100,000, and in 2016 it went up again, to 12 in every 100,000 deaths. Those numbers include gun deaths from suicides, accidents, assaults, and war, not just mass shootings.
Bob Anderson, chief of the CDC’s mortality statistics, told the New York Times that “it is a pretty sharp increase for one year.”
After the attack in Texas, Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy said he doesn’t see America’s deadly violent streak letting up any time soon.
“As long as our nation chooses to flood the county with dangerous weapons and consciously let those weapons fall into the hands of dangerous people, these killings will not abate,” Murphy said.
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