The U.S. witnessed five mass shootings each Independence Day on average over the past decade. more than on any other day of the year. In that time, there have been more than 50 shootings in which four or more people were hit by gunfire on July 4th, found an analysis of Gun Violence Archive data by James Alan Fox of Northeastern University, USA Today reports. Last year, a gunman armed with a semiautomatic rifle opened fire on a July 4 parade from a rooftop, killing seven and wounding nearly 50 others in Highland Park, Ill. The community plans to hold a remembrance ceremony and walk the parade route Tuesday, a subdued march without floats or performers. The holiday this year comes as the nation is grappling with historically elevated levels of gun violence, which surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seven out of 10 Americans say crime is "out of control" in the United States.
While early data suggest that overall firearm homicides may finally be starting to decline again, researchers are documenting an alarming acceleration of mass shootings and mass killings, frequent episodes of gunfire on school grounds and increasing incidents of armed robberies, carjackings and road rage in many cities. Firearm homicide rates have soared in recent years after a sharp increase that began around 2015, said Andrew Morral of the National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research at the RAND Corporation. "As a result, the U.S. is experiencing firearm homicide rates we haven’t seen since the early 1990s during the crack cocaine epidemic," he said. "At the same time, firearm suicides have been increasing for the last 15 years, and are now at a level higher than we have seen in more than 50 years."