This Presidents Day weekend marked another deadly holiday weekend in the United States following a string of shootings across the country. Among those killed were a police officer in Philadelphia, a Catholic bishop in Los Angeles, and a baby in Chicago. A woman in Florida was unintentionally shot and wounded by her granddaughter while driving, nine young people were shot and wounded outside of a gas station in Georgia, five people were shot, including one fatally, at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans. In Memphis, 11 people were shot, including one fatally, three people were killed in Chicago, including a baby, and in Mississippi, a man killed six people including his ex-wife and stepfather. This is just a sampling of a crushing weekend of gun violence.
Meanwhile, state legislative sessions are in full swing and state lawmakers have the opportunity to pass meaningful policies to put an end to the senseless gun violence. Illinois recently passed an historic gun safety package and is looking at additional legislation to hold the gun industry accountable and Michigan lawmakers are moving quickly to pass life-saving gun safety laws in response to last week’s shooting at Michigan State University. Meanwhile, states like Florida and South Carolina are pushing bills like permitless carry to allow people to carry guns in public without a background check or any questions asked and North Carolina is moving to repeal their background check requirement which would further exacerbate gun violence.
“Just days after the mass shooting at Michigan State University, America suffered through another deadly weekend of gun murders,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “It’s time for leaders at every level of government to recognize that we are in the midst of a public health emergency, and solving it requires passing common-sense measures to keep guns out of dangerous hands.”
“We will not accept this horrific gun violence as the price we have to pay to live in this country,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “We should be able to live our lives without fear of gunshots whether we’re at a parade, a nightclub, our homes, or out in our communities. Lawmakers must stand up to the gun lobby so our children and families don’t have to stand up to gunmen.”
There have been 299 mass shootings in the United States since 2009, resulting in 1,678 people shot and killed and 1,087 people shot and wounded. So far in 2023 there have been seven mass shootings with four or more people killed in the US., the most mass shootings before Presidents Day since 2019. The reach of each shooting stretches far beyond those killed and wounded, harming the well-being of survivors, their families, and entire communities.