Dramatic Increase in Mass Shootings in 2020

Despite the US response to the Covid-19 pandemic causing many stay-at-home orders and lockdowns, as of December 13, 2020 there have been 600 mass shootings so far this year.  During a year when people were interacting LESS in public, we have seen more mass shooting violence than ever before.

According to data provided by the Gun Violence Archive, which records mass shooting deaths, this is already significantly above the 417 mass shootings recorded in the whole of 2019.

In fact, by August 2020, mass shootings in the US had already exceeded the year-end totals for each year from 2014 to 2018. Mass shootings in the US have continued the general increase in terms of frequency, fatalities and injuries – but 2020 has been far worse than usual and the increase is highly concerning.

The Gun Violence Archive defines mass shootings as a minimum of four victims shot (either fatally or not) excluding any shooter killed or injured in the attack. 

Despite the US response to the Covid-19 pandemic causing many stay-at-home orders and lockdowns, as of December 13, 2020 there have been 600 mass shootings so far this year.

Chart Mass-Shooting Incidents 2014 thru 2020

Why the Dramatic Increase in Mass Shootings in 2020?

 There are a number of reasons behind this dramatic increase. 
  • People are concerned that law enforcement and the criminal justice system are not coping with a growing crime-wave while COVID depletes police numbers.
  • There are also those who believe that law enforcement is not working for them in a way that is fair and just.
  • A lot of these people are prompted to buy themselves guns based on their particular concerns and/or fears.
  • Mass gatherings and protests have also involved firearms being brandished and being used to maximum advantage and intimidation.
  • In September the FBI identified the election period up to the 2021 inauguration as a “potential flashpoint”, issuing an intelligence report warning of an imminent “violent extremist threat” based solely upon whether folks are happy or angry with which president will be inaugurated.
  • Research generally shows that more guns in circulation typically results in more mass shootings occurring, but this correlation alone – while important – does not explain why such attacks happen. Other countries with similar gun-ownership rates to the US have considerably fewer mass shootings – so there is clearly something cultural at play.
  • An increase in firearm sales in the US at the start of the coronavirus pandemic especially involving “first-time buyers” helped to partially explain the rise in mass shootings, reaching 1.3 million handguns and 700,000 rifles and shotguns sold by August 2020. This was an increase of 60% over average US sales, with August gun sales being the fifth highest month on record according to FBI data.  

So, while the vast majority of gun-owners are law-abiding citizens that will never resort to instigating violence, there is still more opportunity for some people to commit gun-violence when more guns are available to them specifically.  With demand for firearms increasing, the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Checks System (NICS) struggled to keep up and provide sellers with definitive background check decisions within the required time. This weakness in the system allowed sellers to use their own discretion to sell (or not) when background checks of purchasers came back from NICS as “inconclusive”.  This means there has been large-scale potential for a normally "flagged person" to not be flagged and for them to be able to obtain a weapon that they may otherwise never have been able to acquire.

Societal Issues Leading to a Dramatic Increase in Mass Shootings in 2020?

There are are many types of mass shootings and they are not all the same.  Some attackers seek infamy or attention – and tend to kill more victims than other mass shooters. Others have extreme ideological beliefs or hatred of people who may be unlike themselves or who may believe differently than they do.  It is important to note that political divides in the US are at an extreme never before witnessed in our country.  Many people across the US are on polar-opposite spectrums of ideology when it comes to the path forward for our country and this divide is sprouting unrest that most have never experienced prior to now.

Severe mental health problems are behind less than 30% of active shooter attacks. Many others kill because of narcissistic or disordered personalities which make them feel that mass shooting is the way to resolve their distress in life. Personality disorders are not mental heath problems and are classified separately from severe mental health problems and psychosis – the vast majority of mass shooters fully comprehend what they are doing.

In the majority of mass shooting perpetrators, there were clearly identified triggering events which caused intolerable distress that pushed individuals into action, making their delusions become a reality.

With increased gun sales and the number of mass shootings already very high, we can expect many more in the months to come. Research has shown that mass shootings lead to other mass shootings, through general awareness and news reporting that are appealing to others who have considered undertaking mass shootings themselves.

The volatile climate we are seeing on a national level will encourage some potential mass shooters to undertake attacks and these may involve targets, victims and locations different from those typically involved, due to lockdown restrictions forcing attackers to go to where large numbers of potential victims will be.

Where do most mass-shootings happen?

  • Schools - 25% of incidents
  • Federal Buildings - 10% of incidents
  • Houses of Worship - 4% of incidents
  • Commerce and Retail - 50% of incidents

These will remain attractive targets to mass shooters when densely populated and while access to firearms remains relatively easy.  Source  

How Can ASR Alert Systems Help?

ASR offers the best critical incident response technology solution in the industry. Our reliable and redundant methods of alerting persons who are in danger, as well as providing the fastest notification to law enforcement by communicating directly with police dispatch are not matched.  Our patented critical incident response technology uses hard-mounted buttons, mobile pendants and a mobile phone application to DIRECTLY communicate with first responders in the area to significantly decrease response times to an active threat or crisis situation.

Defunding the Police in the Age of Active Shooters

ASR Alert Systems is a state-of-the-art patented critical incident response technology specializing in the field of threat alert notifications to local Law Enforcement and First Responders in the event of a crisis. The threat notification capabilities include Active Shooter/Assailant, Medical Emergencies, Severe Weather, and more. Our team of professionals has diverse experience in Security, Law Enforcement, and Special Operations Military. ASR has melded these capabilities for use in both the public and private sectors.  Here is how it works.

  1. Emergency Presented - An emergency or threat presents itself.  Immediate action is needed to tend to the situation at hand as the clock is ticking.
  2. System Is Activated - The ASR Alert System (critical incident response technology) is activated via one of the stationary wall-mounted activation points, mobile pendant lanyards or ASR APP. Sirens and strobes are initiated to alert personnel and to disorient the active shooter/assailant.
  3. Instant Alerts Begin DIRECT to LAW ENFORCEMENT - Upon initiation, all personnel within the organization, as well as local law enforcement, will receive immediate emergency alerts via text and email notifications. Our critical incident response technology is the trigger to initiate life-saving response.
  4. Quick Response - The nearest law enforcement personnel will be able to move quickly to neutralize the threat and tend to the emergency at hand. The ASR Alert System saves time by providing the exact location of the threat as well as images from the system cameras.

ASR is wholly dedicated to saving time to save lives and we approach our critical incident response technology from the perspective of those responding to crisis events.  Communicating DIRECTLY with first responders is what makes ASR different from every other system on the market, we hold the patent on this technology.

As the United States continues down an obvious road of division, the propensity for more mass shootings will continue to rise and play out with the loss of many innocent lives.  The fastest route to reducing loss of life in these events is to get law enforcement and first responders on the scene as quickly as possible and with as much life-saving information as possible.  While organizations cannot control the state of the world and its tensions, they can control how they protect themselves and those that spend time in their buildings. 


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