Expert explains why victim counts are increasing in mass shootings like Half Moon Bay, Monterey Park

Melanie Woodrow Image
Wednesday, January 25, 2023
Expert explains difference in Monterey Park and HMB mass shootings
The number of mass shootings in the past several years has remained about the same, but experts say the number of victims has increased. Here's why.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Over the last 10 years, data analysts say gun violence has gone up and it's not just the number of mass shootings. The number of victims is also increasing.

There have been five mass shootings in California so far this year; three of them in the last three days alone.

RELATED: Map shows how many mass shootings have taken place in 2023 and where in the US

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Mark Bryant is the Executive Director of the Gun Violence Archive. GVA's researchers log gun violence incidents.

Over the last decade, Bryant says gun violence is up by approximately 25 percent.

"The numbers have gone up, the number of people killed, the number of people injured, the number of mass shootings just have gone up dramatically," said Bryant.

He says the numbers peaked in 2021. For the last two years, he says they've been flat so far.

"We are right on the same level as we were last year," said Bryant.

But while the overall number of shootings is approximately the same, he says the number of victims per shooting has increased.

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With more mass shootings than days in 2023, the chorus for gun reform is growing ever louder following the tragedy in Half Moon Bay.

"They're getting what I like to call louder, they're getting bigger," said Bryant.

ABC7 News I-Team Reporter Melanie Woodrow asked Bryant, "What if anything does that tell you?"

"It tells me that people are using high-capacity magazines. It tells me that people are using semi-automatic assault-type rifles at times," said Bryant.

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Contextually, he says the weapons perpetrators use speaks to their crimes as well.

"While the guy in Monterey Park used an extended magazine he killed more people faster. The person in Half Moon Bay yesterday, he killed more methodically," he explained.

As compared to the rest of the country, more than 1/3 of the individuals killed in mass shootings this year have been in California.

Though when accounting for California's population, Bryant says the per-capita ratio is low.

RELATED: Names released for all 11 victims who died in Monterey Park mass shooting

While numbers tell part of the story, they don't capture the individual lives taken nor the toll on the victims' families and communities at large.

"Gun violence is not one issue it's about eight different issues and we have to start looking at it like that," said Bryant.

Get the latest on the deadly Half Moon Bay shootings here.

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