2020 was the deadliest gun violence year in decades

Shooting deaths in 2020 outpaced the next-highest recent year, 2017, by more than 3,600. The rise resembles other alarming trends: Last year, the United States saw the highest one-year increase in homicides since it began keeping records, with the country’s largest cities suffering a 30 percent spike. Gunshot injuries also rose dramatically, to nearly 40,000, over 8,000 more than in 2017…

Researchers say the pandemic probably fueled the increases in several ways. The spread of the coronavirus hampered anti-crime efforts, and the attendant shutdowns compounded unemployment and stress at a time when schools and other community programs were closed or online. They also note the apparent collapse of public confidence in law enforcement that followed the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Covid-19 and the protests against police brutality also led to a surge of firearm sales. In 2020, people purchased about 23 million guns, a 64 percent increase over 2019 sales, according to a Post analysis of federal data on gun background checks.