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Sanjana B, Pune

On January 16, six people were shot dead in California. The next day, eight people were shot during a Martin Luther King Jr Day event in Florida. According to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), this marks the 29th mass shooting of 2023 in the U.S. 

The GVA, run by an American nonprofit organization, registers every incident of gun violence – even the ones not reported on mainstream media. The GVA classifies a crime as a mass shooting if there are four or more accounts of injury due to firearms. In the California mass shooting, authorities suspect the crime was connected to a cartel, declaring the incident as a ‘gang-related shooting’. Of the victims that died from fatal blows were a teenage mother and her six-month-old. 

During the MLK Jr. event, authorities said the shootout was because of a disagreement between two parties. Of the eight injured, one succumbed to her wounds. 

Convicted Plymouth gunman Jake Davidson who killed five people. They included his mother and a three-year-old. He had posted several videos online expressing misogynistic views and his fascination with firearms and serial killers. He was also a self-proclaimed involuntary celibate (incel), calling himself “a virgin, fat and ugly,” talking about his ill luck in real life and on dating apps. Of all the reasons gunmen convict mass shootings, their being an “incel” has been a prominent one. 

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allows Americans to bear arms. According to a Pew Research Center survey, 30 percent of American adults own guns. Following the Texas elementary school mass shooting in May 2022, President Joe Biden signed the federal gun reform bill that included provisions like rigorous background checks for gun buyers, and bans on military-style rifles used typically in mass shootings. Only some provisions were accepted. 

However, not all is lost. The Supreme Court on Wednesday, rejected a request from firearm dealers in New York about blocking laws that violate Second Amendment rights. The dealers claimed that some of these laws, including gun safety requirements, were affecting their businesses. Officials from New York stated that these restrictions were necessary to maintain public safety. That law now bans firearms from “sensitive locations” in the city like churches, theaters, medical offices, parks, and Manhattan’s Times Square. 

Last year alone recorded 648 mass shootings in the U.S. According to the survey, more than half of Americans (53%) want stricter gun laws. However, very little has been done to prevent easy access to firearms. Big chains like Walmart to small businesses like sports and liquor stores sell guns in the U.S. Background checks, where buyers have to fill out forms with information about past convictions, addictions to narcotics or alcohol, and mental stability are conducted only in stores.

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