Interactive map of every mass shooting in America since 2013
Former Marine David Long opened fire using a smoke bomb and handgun, killing 12 people at a country music bar in Southern California before taking his own life on Wednesday, November 7 -- marking the latest mass shooting in America.
There have been over 300 mass shootings in 2018 alone – that number climbs to 1,897 since Sandy Hook in 2012.
“In Washington and around the country, it's simply too easy for people intent on causing harm to access firearms,” said Tallman Trask with the Alliance for Gun Responsibility in Washington state. “That leads not just to mass shootings, but the kind of "everyday" gun violence that plagues our country.”
It’s become increasingly easy to buy a gun in America, with private sellers allowed to sell guns without performing any kind of background check in 28 states – some exemptions regarding gun transfers exist in Washington state.
Map: Here's an interactive map of every mass shooting in America since 2013. Click on each circle to see where the shooting took place, date, and how many people were killed or injured.
Gun control doesn’t typically rank high on the nation’s list of most important problems. A Gallup poll in March found that only 13 percent of Americans thought guns or gun control was the county’s most pressing problem – by April that number fell to six percent.
Mass shootings, especially those in schools, have sparked national debate about guns. For instance, 67 percent of people ages 18 to 29 viewed school shootings as the most important issue in America and more than 90 percent of people ages 15 to 30 said that a candidate’s position on guns was either somewhat or very important to them.
There's been some debate whether arming teachers with guns would create safer schools. A Gallup poll found that 73 percent of educators opposed having qualified teachers and staff carry guns in school buildings – whereas 69 percent of Republicans favored the idea compared to just 22 percent of Democrats.
"I do not think school shootings are the new norm and I-1639 (Washington's gun control initiative) will do nothing to stop them," said Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan Gottlieb. "Washington deserves real solutions to keep our communities safe. Real solutions that will rightly target criminals, not just you, your family and your law-abiding neighbors."
Political parties are divided on the issue of gun control -- with 90 percent of Democrats wanting stricter laws around the purchase of firearms, compared to 41 percent of Republicans, according to Gallup.
“We know that preventing gun violence and saving lives means keeping guns out of the hands of people who want to hurt others, and that strengthening and improving our gun laws is the best way to do that,” Trask said. “Mass shootings are becoming the norm because our gun laws are too lax.”
Map: There have been over 48,000 incidents involving guns and over 12,000 gun-related deaths.
And while 61 percent of Americans opposed a law that would make it illegal to manufacture, sell or possess semi-automatic guns in 2016, they were evenly divided in their support for a ban after the Las Vegas shooting that killed 58 people and wounded 489 others – the deadliest shooting in U.S. history.
Washington state voters will decide whether to pass a gun control measure that would toughen background checks for people buying semi-automatic rifles on Tuesday, November 6. Initiative 1639 will increase the age limit to 21 when buying such guns and require safe storage of all firearms.
"I-1639 unfairly targets and penalizes responsible 18 to 20-year-olds," Gottlieb said. "Washington’s law-abiding adults aged 18-20 are legally responsible enough to vote, get married, purchase a home, sign a contract, and serve in our military. Yet I-1639’s proponents want you to believe these same adults cannot be trusted to defend themselves or their families and are attempting to use the crimes of a few as a justification to curtail the rights of many...even though rifles are very, very rarely used to commit crimes."
"This is blatant age discrimination, and asks you to blame hundreds of thousands of law-abiding Washingtonians, for the crimes of a very few," he said.
Gun control advocate Trask thinks otherwise.
“This year we have a chance in Washington to make history and pass the single most comprehensive gun violence prevention measure ever put before voters in our state,” Trask said. “It will help make our schools and communities safer and save lives.”
“Beyond that, it is an opportunity to show Olympia (and the other Washington) where the people stand on gun violence prevention, what we want, and what kind of state we want to live in,” he added.