The United States has seen more than 500 mass shootings this year, data shows, marking it the third year in a row the country has hit the somber milestone before October.
A shooting on Saturday night in Denver which saw five people injured meant the tally surpassed 500, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
The rise in gun violence is part of a chilling trend – go back just five years and the country had never experienced more than 500 shootings in a year, according to the research group.
The deadliest shooting this year was the Monterey Park, CA, attack in January, in which gunman Huu Can Tran, 72, killed eleven people and injured nine in a predominantly Asian area on the eve of Lunar New Year.
Gun violence at a Sweet 16 birthday party in Dadeville, AL, also shocked the nation, with four young people cruelly murdered and 32 injured – the most casualties of any shooting so far in 2023.
A bloody handprint marks a pillar the day after a shooting at a during a teenager’s birthday party at Mahogany Masterpiece Dance Studio in Dadeville, Alabama
Children hold hands as they leave The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, following the deadliest school shooting of 2023
Gun Violence Archive, the independent organization which collects the data, defines a mass shooting as one in which four or more people were shot or killed, excluding the shooter.
Last month, a gunman opened fire at a historic biker bar in Trabuco Canyon in Orange County, CA, murdering three and injuring six before he was shot by police.
In another incident, eight people were killed during a shooting back in January 4 in Cedar City, Utah, with Michael Haight killing his wife, their five children and his mother-in-law before turning the gun on himself.
School shootings are also on the rise, if the current continues as expected this year, with a staggering 236 incidents recorded by another research team, the K-12 School Shooting database.
The deadliest school shooting this year saw six murdered and six injured by transgender shooter Audrey Hale, who opened fire on March 27.
Three nine-year-old students and three adults were among those murdered during the attack on Nashville Christian school The Covenant.
The latest shootings this weekend have seen the number of shootings rise to 502.
The 500 mark was passed late on Saturday night in Denver
Then, around 1am on Sunday, a shooting in El Paso, Texas, saw a 19-year-old man killed and five others injured.
On Sunday night, a shooting in Dorchester, MA, saw five people critically injured including a child who suffered life-threatening injuries, Boston Police said.
The Lai Lai Ballroom and Studio near the site of a deadly shooting on Saturday
The incident occurred at Cook’s Corner, a bar in Trabuco Canyon, California, Wednesday night around 7:30 pm
The FBI defines a mass shooting as ‘one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area’ – a different metric to most organizations who consider the number of victims to define it as such.
There are about 120 guns for every 100 Americans, according to the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey.
No other nation has more civilian guns than people, with around 44 percent of US adults living in a household with a gun.
Around one third own one personally, according to a November 2020 Gallup survey. A third of US adults believe that there would be less crime if more people owned guns.
Fears of gun violence have eclipsed other concerns, data from earlier this year shows
A girl runs as other shoppers leave with their hands up after police responded to a gunman who shot and killed eight people and wounded at least seven others at Allen Premium Outlets mall north of Dallas, Texas
However multiple studies show that where people have easy access to firearms then gun-related deaths are more frequent – including suicide, homicide and unintentional injuries.
Mass shootings also drive a demand for more guns, with many Americans feeling they are ‘safer’ if they personally own a weapon.
The rate of gun violence is eight times greater than in Canada, which has the seventh-highest rate of gun ownership in the world.