Less than one month into 2023, the United States has already seen 39 mass shootings, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive, and more than 60 people have been killed in those attacks.
The archive defines a mass shooting as an incident where at least four victims are injured or killed, not including the perpetrator. The GVA also catalogs other information about shooting deaths, homicides and gun violence.
The year began with six mass shootings on Jan. 1, across the country: The largest, in Florida, left nine people injured. Four other people were killed in shootings in Florida, Illinois, and Ohio on the same day.
The largest mass shooting unfolded Sunday in Monterey Park, California, where a gunman killed 11 people and left nine others injured after entering a ballroom dancing class in the majority-Asian neighborhood. The man, identified as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, died by suicide after a standoff with police.
Just hours later, California saw another mass shooting: Two related incidents in Half Moon Bay left seven people dead. Earlier in January, a "targeted incident" left half a dozen people dead, including a 17-year-old mother and her six-month-old daughter in California.
According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in the spring 2021, 48% of American adults see gun violence as a "very big problem" in the United States. About 24% of adults said it was a "moderately big problem," while 22% called it a "small problem." Just six percent of those surveyed said it was "not a problem at all."
Research from the same organization shows an increasing number of gun deaths each year, particularly murders: In 2020, there were 19,834 gun murders, marking the most per year since 1968. Gun suicides have also risen at the same time, though at a slower rate. In total, there was a 43% increase in gun deaths from 2010 to 2020. In 2021, gun suicides increased by 10% from 2019, one of the largest increases in over 40 years.
"From 2019-2021 gun homicides increased from 14,427 to 21,005 which is a 46% increase in two years. This is an unprecedented rise in firearm homicides that has never been recorded to this degree," said Dr. Eric Fleegler, an associate professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School, who researches gun violence.
People in the United States own a large share of the world's guns, according to 2020 data from the Small Arms Survey, a Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. The organization breaks down gun ownership by country.
According to these statistics, there are at least 393,347,000 civilian-owned guns in the United States - or enough for each person in the country to have a gun and still leave 67 million over. There are 120.48 civilian firearms per 100 people, the SAS estimates. Another million guns are owned by law enforcement officials, and an additional 4.5 million are owned by military personnel.
In 2020, 22.8 million new guns had entered American households, according to Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting, a gun-industry data analytics service.
Around the world, the SAS estimates that there are about 857 million firearms owned by civilians, meaning that Americans hold nearly half of all those guns.
While it's difficult to determine how many guns have been purchased in the United States each year, the Federal Bureau of Information publishes data on how many firearm background checks were conducted through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. In 2022, there were over 31,596,000 such background checks conducted, a decline from 2021 and 2020, when gun purchases spiked, but an increase from 2019.