In Colorado as of October 2nd, 196 people have died this year from gun homicides. The Covid-19 pandemic encouraged a surge in gun sales, which continues largely unabated, and has contributed to a second epidemic of gun violence.
• Gun Sales: Approved background checks (indicative of gun sales) from January – August 2021 are up 40% over the same pre-pandemic period of 2019. 2020 was even worse, with a 52% increase.
• Gun Homicides: Unsurprisingly, with more guns in civilian hands, Colorado is seeing more gun homicides. The Gun Violence Archives enumeration of gun homicides is a 43% increase over the same period of pre-pandemic, pre-gun surge period of 2019.
• CCW: Even more Coloradans are carrying hidden handguns on our streets. Prior to the pandemic, an estimated 257,000 persons had concealed carry (CCW) licenses, now it has surpassed 293,000. A number of academic studies have demonstrated that states with loose “shall-issue,” laws (such as Colorado’s) experience a higher incidence of gun violence.
In 2020 handguns comprised 60% of gun purchases, a portion that has grown steadily from 40% since the passage of the concealed carry law enacted in 2003.
From that we can assume that pandemic gun buying is because people are anxious to protect themselves and their families.
In an excellent article in The Atlantic, David Frum dissects that choice and argues that instead gun buyers are making their homes and families less safe.
So, in Colorado, just how often are those guns being used in defensive situations in 2021? According to stories from the Gun Violence Archives (taken from news articles and police reports):
Home invasions: 7 involved firearms. Defensive use of a gun in 3.
Defensive use of gun: 6 incidents, all involved injuries, 4 were fatal to the suspect.
In comparison, so far in 2021:
196 people were shot and killed
12 were shot and killed at parties, one tragedy occurred just this weekend in Aurora.
37 were killed in domestic violence incidents
32 involved law enforcement
A Washington Post editorial argues that the rising homicide rate is indicative of the need to do something with regard to guns (In Colorado in 2020, guns accounted for 70% of homicides.).
The United States Supreme Court convened Monday, Oct. 4th for its 2021-2022 session. It has a number of controversial cases on its docket, including one on firearms: NYSRC v. Bruen, which considers New York’s state law on public carry of firearms.
Several conservative members of the court have already voiced an interest in revisiting second amendment issues, therefore, we are quite concerned about this case.
President Donald Trump had an unusually high number of court appointments (3, one stolen by Mitch McConnell from President Obama), which has yielded a court that is strongly conservative by a 6-3 makeup.
Ceasefire and a number of other state groups signed on to an amicus brief promulgated by the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence and focused on gun violence as public health issue.
It has been 3.5 years since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, but the suspect has yet to stand trial for the massacre. The trial has been delayed by the pandemic and legal wrangling, but jury selection begins today for another trial of Nicholas Cruz, charges over his alleged attack on a jail guard.
On the school shootings, Cruz’s lawyers offered that Cruz plead guilty to the murders in exchange for a life sentence. Prosecutors declined, preferring to seek the death penalty.