People all over the United States are renewing calls for tighter gun laws after two mass shootings in the space of 15 hours.
A gunman opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday, killing 20 people and injuring another 26. Just hours later, another shooter targeted a bar in Ohio, killing at least 10 people.
In the 215 days we’ve had this year so far, the US has seen 252 mass shootings, which averages out at more than one per day, according to reports, 127 of which included fatalities.
A mass shooting is when at least four or more people are shot in a single incident, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
More than 1,000 people have been injured in mass shootings in the US in this year alone, and a total of 281 people have been killed – a number which could be set to rise in the hours following on from the deadly Ohio shooting.
President Donald Trump has offered ‘thoughts and prayers’ to everyone affected by the ‘hateful’ Cielo Vista Mall Walmart shooting.
He said: ‘There are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people.’
The El Paso attack is the worst mass shooting in the US this year and is the eighth deadliest in US history.
Police said the suspect, a 21-year-old man, is now reported to be in custody. He has been named by US media as Patrick Crusius.
Another mass shooting took place in California last month, when Santino William Legan opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, killing three people and injuring a further 16, before turning his gun on himself.
Matt Pires, an 18-year-old student from Northern Marin County in California, was at the annual festival and narrowly escaped with his life.
On hearing a ‘loud pop’ and seeing a green bandana around his neck covering the lower part of his face, he was able to ‘run for his life’.
— Lindsey Shenton (@LindseyShenton) July 29, 2019
Speaking to UNILAD, Matt explained his views on gun control and the emotions he felt after the harrowing attack:
Before, I assumed if I ever was in an attack I would feel either sad or depressed. After this attack, though, I felt none of those emotions for a while.
Mostly, I felt numb and angry, in shock of what had just happened, and wondering why the hell anyone would decide to shoot up a garlic festival filled to the brim with families.
You have no idea if anyone is carrying a weapon, or if something bad is going to happen until it’s too late.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the LADbible Group team in 2017.