The Gun Violence Archive reports that guns killed 177 people on New Year’s Day in the U.S.
The new year should be a time for new beginnings and clean starts, but unfortunately for Americans, it’s a grim reminder that our nation’s gun violence epidemic followed us into the new decade. According to data compiled in real-time by the Gun Violence Archive, 177 people died as a result of gun violence on New Year’s Day.
Of the 177 people who lost their life yesterday, 132 were suicides and 45 were classified as non-suicide deaths. There were an additional 103 gun violence injuries reported as well. This all happened in one day.
There were also three mass shootings on New Year’s Day. Newsweek reports that a mass shooting in St. Louis, Missouri just after midnight left three dead and one injured. In Huntington, West Virginia, a gunman opened fire at Kulture Hookah Bar, and thankfully nobody died but seven were injured. Another shooting at Cleveland’s Club Medusa on New Year’s Eve left four injured. And those were just the casualties that happened in 2020, USA Today reports at least two other mass shootings at bars on New Year’s Eve before the clock struck midnight.
Despite warnings from police to refrain from shooting guns on New Year’s Eve to “celebrate the New Year,” 2020 also brought with it tragic stories of accidental gun deaths, like 61-year-old Philippa Ashford from Texas who was watching fireworks on New Year’s Eve when a stray bullet from “celebratory gunfire” somewhere else in the neighborhood struck and killed her. A 31-year-old Ohio woman also died this year when her boyfriend shot her while firing off rounds to ring in the new year.
Shannon Watts — founder of Mom’s Demand, a gun reform advocacy group — shared the statistics online and the Twitter responses were illuminating, especially the ones from people who don’t live in America.
In the UK we have around 50 gun deaths a year, some are suicide, some by gun violence - we banned guns— Bruce Henderson (@BruceHenderson2) January 2, 2020
I'm from the UK and have lived in the US for 22 years now and will still never get used to the gun culture here ☹️— Sassy (@sassysmartassy1) January 2, 2020
Thank goodness we banned guns in the UK, didn't take long to ban them, many amnesties saw guns of all sorts taken out of circulation, no school massacre in 25 years, since the dreadful day in Dunblane - it was the right move— Bruce Henderson (@BruceHenderson2) January 2, 2020
According to 2017 FBI data (via the BBC), gun-related homicides made up 73% of all killings in the U.S., compared to Australia’s 13% and England’s 3%.
As America becomes desensitized to statistics like these, various advocacy groups want to do something about gun reform. Everytown plans to end gun violence by attacking the issue from all sides, including advocating for better background checks, laws that would prevent domestic abusers from possessing firearms, and “Red Flag Laws” which would allow family members and police to ask a judge to temporarily block anyone they feel is a danger to themselves or others from purchasing a firearm.
We hope we don’t have to write a headline like this one next New Year’s Day.