Gun violence increases during pandemic, solutions ignored


Graphic by Lily Thomas

Red dots represent gun violence deaths in the United States throughout 2021.

Lily Thomas, Features Editor

     Eight people were killed in a mass shooting at a FedEx warehouse in Indianapolis on April 15. Shootings like this one are not uncommon here, as Indiana has the 19th highest gun death rate in the United States and, on average, someone is killed with a gun every nine hours in the state, according to Gifford’s Law Center (GLC). The state of Indiana is no stranger to gun violence and mass shootings continue to plague the U.S. as a whole at an alarmingly increasing rate. Thus far, suggested solutions have fallen on deaf ears. 

     Initially, this story was supposed to argue that gun violence is part of the “normal life” that America has begun returning to as COVID-19 restrictions ease up, but the truth is, gun violence never went away. In fact, gun violence occurred at a record rate during 2020, with the Gun Violence Archive reporting 43,553 deaths due to gun violence last year.

     According to research done by Everytown, a nonprofit organization that advocates for gun control, firearm sales during the pandemic were up 64% compared to 2019, with 22 million firearms purchased in 2020. Twenty-two million firearms, many in homes with new gun owners who did not have access to safety training as a result of the pandemic. This led to conflict and, in some cases, death. Partially as a result of being home and in closer contact with firearms, some of which were not properly secured, an increase in the death of children due to gun violence was seen.

     As for 2021, a long list of mass shootings has already started accumulating. A New York Times article has a list of only 12 of them, with three occurring in Indianapolis. The list highlights that it can happen anywhere: at a grocery store (Boulder, CO), a real estate office (Orange, CA), a spa (Atlanta), a birthday party (Colorado Springs, CO) and even at someone’s own home (Indianapolis). 

     Gun violence continues to be an issue in the U.S., even during a pandemic. Compared to other high-income nations, America has the highest rate of gun violence, as stated by the GLC. Despite many states in the U.S. having weak gun laws, an article in the Harvard Magazine said that places with stronger firearm laws and regulations have fewer gun-related issues and suffer fewer violent deaths than those with weaker laws. 

     The U.S. will continue to struggle if the gun violence crisis persists as it is now. It is far too easy to get access to a firearm, as GLC reported, there are 12 “shall issue” states, meaning that the state is required to issue a concealed carry permit to applicants who meet minimum requirements. Research makes it painfully obvious that guns are taking thousands of lives and that stricter gun laws prevent it. America needs to listen before even more lives are lost to gun violence.