Hardly a day goes by without another shootout in the United States. Already 69 in May. The country has always had a concern with firearms, but the proportion is becoming worrying and the authorities fear a “macabre” summer.
With heat, tensions are exacerbated. And there are more people out there. Statistics indicate that there are more gun deaths in the summer. Shootings in the United States, there are so many, that not even the American media report them all. If we only take the last weekend, there were 12 in 9 different states : killing 11 and wounding 70.
Sunday in Miami, three men got out of their car, fired an automatic weapon during a concert: 2 dead and twenty wounded. On video surveillance images, we see them returning to their vehicle. A manhunt has been launched, but they still have not been found. In Chicago, on May 1, 195 people were killed, twice as many as last year. At New York, 500 people killed by firearms, this is the highest figure in the last 10 years. Note that these figures also include suicides by firearms.
How to explain this increase in deaths by firearms?
The “deconfinement” factor must be taken into account. Like everywhere crime dropped during confinement. Fewer people in the streets, the numbers had dropped. The figures were “artificially” lower therefore mechanically, those for the following year are higher. But this is not just a statistical effect.
In Atlanta, the mayor, who also says she fears a bloody summer, notes thatbefore the police often linked homicides to gang wars, drug trafficking. But more and more, these are people who know each other. We settle our disputes with firearms, they are “standardized”. Job losses, feelings of injustice and anger are one of the explanations for bouts of violence.
To note that more and more children under 13 are involved. With the pandemic, their follow-up has been more complicated.
Arms sales on the rise
There was a record week in March with nearly 1.2 million guns sold in one week. A record since 1998, when we started recording arms sales. The approach of the verdict in the trial of the murderer of George Floyd, with the fear of riots, is one of the explanations.
One of the lessons of recent statistical studies is that for 1 in 5 buyers this is a first. There is a will to arm and not only among the conservative electorate. White men are in the majority, but the progression is more visible among women as well as in black and Asian communities.
Today, 39% of American households own a gun. It is a constitutional right so no president will go back on it. But Joe Biden wants to ensure better monitoring of holders, ban assault weapons. Will the president succeed where predecessors like Barack Obama failed? It is a political battle.