U.S. Mass Shootings Hover Near Record-Breaking Levels

Six months into this year—and on a day when gunfire killed at least six attending a Chicago area holiday parade—mass shootings and gun deaths in the United States rival 2021’s record-breaking figures, as a wave of gun violence that began at the start of the pandemic continues to rage—though a Covid-era jump in firearm sales finally began leveling off.

The United States logged 306 mass shootings with at least four injuries or deaths from the start of this year to Sunday, compared to 327 mass shootings over the same period in 2021 and 256 in 2020, according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive.

Mass shootings this year are on track to approach the 692 recorded in 2021, which was the highest figure since the Gun Violence Archive started tracking shootings in 2014.

Some 10,072 people nationwide have died due to firearms—including intentional and accidental killings but not suicides—so far in 2022, according to the Gun Violence Archive, meaning this year’s overall figure could near 2021’s 20,944 deaths (a seven-year high) and exceed 2020’s 19,518 deaths if the current pace continues.

Meanwhile, gun sales have begun easing: U.S. dealers sold about 8.8 million guns in the first six months of this year, a 16% drop from the same period in 2021 and a 21% drop from 2020, when a public health crisis and an election helped push sales to record levels, according to Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting.

Firearm sales are still well above pre-pandemic levels: Purchases in the first half of this year are up 33% from 2019 and up 27% from 2018, according to figures from Small Arms Analytics, which estimates gun sales using FBI background check data.

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