With at least 14 people dead and another 17 wounded Wednesday in San Bernardino where multiple attackers opened fire on a crowd gathered at the Inland Regional Center with assault rifles and handguns, it’s a scene that’s becoming all too familiar in American cities.
Wednesday’s violence marked the third mass shooting since last Friday, when a gunman with an assault rifle killed three people, including a police officer, and wounded nine others at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic. If mass shootings seem like an almost daily occurrence in 2015 America, it’s because they are.
According to the crowd sourced shootingtracker.com, which originated on the “Guns are Cool” subreddit and defines a mass shooting as an incident where four or more people including the gunman are killed or wounded, there have already been 351 mass shootings this year, leaving 447 people dead and another 1,292 people wounded.
Through the same time period last year there were 301 mass shootings, according to Shooting Tracker.
“It’s really shameful that Congress has refused to do anything on gun violence prevention in light of the horrific shootings we keep having in this country, and the fact that the public overwhelmingly wants Congress to do something about this,” said Juliet Leftwich, legal director for the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in a recent interview with NBC Bay Area.
Despite the alarming frequency of mass shootings in America, they account for just a small fraction of people killed by guns each year. According to FBI data, mass shootings are responsible for less than 5 percent of all gun deaths in America.
In a recent interview with NBC Bay Area, Resident Agent in Charge Graham Barlowe at the ATF’s Sacramento field office said the proliferation of firearms makes it impossible for his agency to keep up.
“It’s a societal issue,” Barlowe said. “It’s an issue that goes far beyond the scope of ATF or law enforcement. “The solutions are in education, the solutions are in employment. It’s a multifaceted issue.”
And while the use of assault weapons in mass shootings like Wednesday’s garner a lot of attention in the headlines, FBI data shows handguns are by far the biggest killers in America. According to FBI data, hand guns were used in 5,782 homicides in 2013, compared to only 285 rifles or 308 shotguns.