The tragic Lunar New Year shooting in Monterey Park, California, is the thirty-third mass shooting in the United States so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
Since a gunman opened fire in a dance studio Saturday night—killing 10 people and wounding 10 others—and attempted to attack another, there have been another three mass shootings, bringing the total to 36 this year.
There have been more mass shootings than there have been days in 2023.
The Monterey Park shooting is one of the worst in California’s recent history. The shooter, who has been identified as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, used a magazine-fed semiautomatic assault pistol with an extended magazine attachment, according to police. It is illegal in California to possess this type of gun with an extended magazine.
Police say they still do not know the suspect’s motive. Initially, because the attack targeted an Asian ethnoburb on Lunar New Year’s Eve, an important time for the East and Southeast Asian diaspora, many members of the Asian American Pacific Islander community feared that the shooting was the latest escalation of anti-Asian hate spurred by former President Donald Trump’s rhetoric about the Covid-19 pandemic.
The shooting has already spurred calls for tighter gun controls, a highly contentious topic in the United States. California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, but clearly they’re not foolproof. The issue, though, is not California’s rules; it’s the lack of regulation at the national level.
As The Washington Post noted, “The state’s strict gun laws are incapable of fully preventing gun violence in a country where gun ownership is widely considered a constitutionally protected right, firearms move freely between states with vastly different regulations and gun-control measures are dotted with exceptions.”
The Supreme Court ruled last year that Americans can carry handguns for self-defense, making it easier to acquire concealed-carry permits nationwide. Meanwhile, a gun manufacturer recently brought back the “JR-15,” a child-size AR-15 rifle.