Amid surging gun sales, and after months of lockdown as the U.S. continues to grapple with the coronavirus crisis, cities across the country experienced spikes of gun violence over the Fourth of July weekend. These shootings were a sobering reminder of the persistent gun violence that impacts cities in the U.S. daily. A few tragic examples include:
In Atlanta, at least 23 people were shot and wounded. In addition, an 8-year-old girl was shot and killed while riding in a car with her mother.
In Chicago, at least 72 people were shot, and at least 15 were shot and killed. A 7-year-old girl was shot and killed in Austin, and a 14-year-old boy was killed in a mass shooting at an outdoor gathering on Saturday night.
In Hoover, Alabama, gunfire erupted at the Riverchase Galleria on Friday, and four people were shot. An 8-year-old boy, Royta De’Marco Giles Jr., was shot and killed.
In New York City, at least 11 people were shot and killed, and dozens were wounded in at least 30 shootings across the city on Sunday alone.
In Philadelphia, at least 21 people were shot, including five fatally, in just a six-hour span. At least one of the victims was a child.
In Washington, D.C., an 11-year-old boy was shot and killed in Southeast D.C. in the seventh gun homicide to happen in the first four days of July, according to the Washington Post. Davon McNeal was hit by a stray bullet while heading to a relative’s home, according to media reports. Earlier in the day, he attended a Fourth of July cookout organized by his mother Crystal McNeal, a local violence interrupter.
Gun violence is the leading cause of death for children and teens in the country. Children and teens who live in cities are at a significantly higher risk of gun homicides and assaults compared to their peers in rural areas. Black and brown children experience gun violence more than white children, in part due to systemic inequities and deliberate policy decisions that created segregated neighborhoods and drove income inequality in Black and brown communities.
As a whole, gun violence takes a disproportionate toll on Black communities. Black people represent the majority of homicide and nonfatal shooting victims in the U.S. and are far more likely than white people to be victimized by and exposed to assaultive gun violence. Research indicates that gun homicides and assaults are disproportionately concentrated in cities.
More information about gun violence in cities is available here.