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Monday, March 4, 2024

Total of 29 victims from mass shooting in 3 Weeks

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On the 24th, a woman is sobbing after offering flowers in a temporary memorial space in front of the Star Dance Studio, the scene of the Monterey Park shooting. The woman said she was a student at the studio and was able to avoid the inciden. Reporter Kim Sang-jin.

Since the new year, the western part of the country, including California, is becoming the epicenter of shooting tragedies. Even though California implements the strictest gun control law in the country, the effectiveness of the policy is also being questioned as tragedy continues.

[Related Articles-Monterey Park Mass Shooting]

[Related Article- Half Moon Bay Mass Shooting]

The tragic massacres of 21st and 23rd was followed by another shooting at a convenience store in Yakima, Washington, on the 24th.

According to the Yakima Police Department, the suspect Jarid Haddock (21) opened fire at the Circle K convenience store at around 3:30 a.m. that day, killing three people. Haddock, who fled the scene, fatally shot himself with a pistol near a nearby warehouse.

According to the Gun Violence Archive (hereinafter referred to as the GVA), a non-profit organization related to gun data, there were a total of six shootings in the western region this year and 29 deaths were counted. The GVA defines a case in which more than four victims (including injured and dead) occur due to shooting as a mass shooting incident.

Expanding the statistics nationwide shows the seriousness of the shooting spree.

According to GVA, as of January 24, a total of 40 shootings have occurred across the country this year, with 73 deaths. In other words, there were about 1.6 shootings a day in January alone.

Five of them were the recent street shooting in San Francisco, California (on the 6th, 1 person died) ▶ Family shooting in Tulare County, Mid-Autumn (16th, 6 people died) ▶ Monterey Park shooting in Southern California (on the 21st, 11 people died) ▶ Half Moon Bay shooting in Northern California (on the 23rd, 7 people died) ▶ Oakland shooting on the 1st.

The number of shootings in California accounts for 12.5% of the country, but 26 deaths accounted for about 36% of all deaths. This means that there were more victims per case compared to any other region.

San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine said in a statement, “We are sickened by today’s tragedy in Half Moon Bay. The scourge of gun violence has sadly hit home. We have not even had time to grieve for those lost in the terrible shooting in Monterey Park. Gun violence must stop. The State of California has among the strictest gun laws in the United States, which we have strengthened through local action here, but more must be done. The status quo cannot be tolerated.”

The problem is that various gun control laws are already in effect in California, and are much more strict than any other states’.

David Kim, a gun instructor who has served at the Sheriff Bureau as well as the Criminal Investigation Department in LA County said, “We are implementing stronger gun laws than any other state and conducts thorough background checks when buying bullets. This isn’t the time to sit around and discuss regulating and strengthening the law, but we should be checking whether there are problems in other areas,” he said.

There is also a loophole in the state’s gun laws. Governor Gavin Newsom said, “In some cases, residents go to other states with relatively loose regulations to buy guns and bring them back to avoid the state’s strict gun laws.”

Among them, the number of shootings nationwide is on the rise. According to GVA, a total of 647 shootings occurred nationwide last year. This is a decrease of about 6% points compared to the previous year (2021, 690 cases), but it is steadily increasing, including 2018 (336 cases), 2019 (417 cases), and 2020 (610 cases).

Currently, the movement to stronger gun control continues nationwide. 19 states, including Washington, D.C., are implementing a series of Red Flag laws that temporarily ban the purchase and possession of firearms for dangerous people. California has also been implementing this since 2016.

While gun ownership is recognized as a constitutional right, the implementation of gun control is creating a paradox. The use of firearms for defense purposes is also subject to various regulations.

According to GVA, gun shootings are on the rise, while the actual number of “Defensive Use” is decreasing.

According to GVA statistics, gun use for defense purposes continues to decline, including 2017 (2118 cases), 2018 (1889 cases), 2019 (1619 cases), 2020 (1512 cases), 2021 (1,295 cases), and 2022 (1,176 cases).

Reporter Jang Yeol.yeol@koreadaily.com