More than 400 people have already lost their lives to guns in the US this year
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We're only four days into 2023, and yet more than 400 people have already lost their lives to guns in the United States.
The issue of gun ownership and gun violence has long been debated in the country, with many arguing it is their constitutional right to own a gun while others cite the hundreds of mass shootings each year as evidence why firearms should be banned or more tightly regulated.
In 2022 alone, the US reported 647 mass shootings - incidents in which a minimum of four victims are shot, whether they are injured or killed.
That's more than one a day - with more than four people being injured or killed by gunshots every 24 hours.
And those figures don't look to be getting any better in the new year, as the Gun Violence Archive states that seven mass shootings have already been reported and verified in the four days since 2023 began.
Five of those mass shootings took place on 1 January, when a total of 20 people were injured and four people died in shootings across Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.
The figures are even more shocking for the total number of injuries and deaths caused by guns.
Since 2023 began, 362 people - almost one for each day we have left in the year - have been injured by guns, either intentionally or unintentionally.
When it comes to deaths, a total of 426 people are so far reported to have died. According to the Gun Violence Archive, 162 of those deaths are the result of homicide, murder, defensive gun use or intentional shootings.
A further 264 people have died by suicide.
Those who have died so far this year include three children aged 0-11, and 14 teenagers aged 12-17.
Last week, Jack McDevitt, a professor at Northeastern University School of Criminology and Criminal Justice in Boston, Massachusetts, told VOA that the US is 'seeing a return to much higher rates of gun violence than we have seen for a long time'.
"We are starting to see more people use firearms to go after victims who they perceive to be different.”
McDevitt's comments came after a man suspected of opening fire in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York in October 2022, said he was targeting the Black community.
The following month, five people died and 17 were left wounded following a shooting at a gay club in Colorado Springs.
The number of mass shootings in 2022 more than doubled the total in 2014, when 269 mass shootings were recorded.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, please don’t suffer alone. Call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline on 988.
The organisation is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the United States.