The United States set a grim milestone last month after recording the most mass killings within a six-month period since 2006, figures show.
There were 28 mass killings from January 1 to June 30, with 140 victims over the 181-day period, according to the Associated Press. Only one of those cases didn’t involve a firearm.
28 Mass Killings, 140 Victims Between January And June, Violence Persists Into Holiday Weekend
The other incident was a fire that killed four people in a home in Monroe, Louisiana, the AP reports. That crime resulted in the arrest of a 37-year-old for arson and murder charges.
Meanwhile, this year’s milestone narrowly beat the previous record of 27 mass killings. Those deaths all took place within the second half of 2022.
Over the Fourth of July weekend alone, 30 people were shot at a Baltimore block party, killing two.
Another ten were injured and three killed in Louisana. And in Tampa, a 7-year-old was fatally shot during a fight that erupted between two groups on Independence Day, according to the outlet.
A drive-by shooting in Washington, D.C., left nine others wounded over the holiday weekend.
Mass shootings erupted in cities around the U.S. this week as the country celebrated the Fourth of July.
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 5, 2023
Father Of Children Killed In Nashville Mass Shooting Calls Milestone ‘Ghastly’
Brent Leatherwood, whose three children were present in a classroom during a mass shooting at a Nashville school on March 27, called this year’s milestone “ghastly.”
“What a ghastly milestone,” Leatherwood told the outlet. “You never think your family would be a part of a statistic like that.”
A former executive director for the Tennessee Republican Party, Leatherwood penned a letter to lawmakers urging them to pass legislation, known as “red flag laws,” to keep firearms away from people who could harm themselves or others.
“Our child was asking, ‘Do you think that there will be a gunman that comes to this camp? Do I need to be worried about that?’” said Leatherwood.
Meanwhile, the AP cited several criminologists to explain the increase in mass killings. Experts attributed an increase in firearms and a spike in population to the new record.
Even still, mass killings remain statistically rare, the AP reports.
However, not everyone is behind law reforms for gun control. The National Rifle Association has consistently advocated for expanded gun rights, including the right to purchase assault rifles.
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ constant efforts to gut the Second Amendment will not usher in safety for Americans; instead, it will only embolden criminals,” NRA spokesman Billy McLaughlin said in a statement. “That is why the NRA continues our fight for self-defense laws.”
McLaughlin continued: “Rest assured, we will never bow, we will never retreat. And we will never apologize for championing the self-defense rights of law-abiding Americans.”