Why Is Gun Violence Getting Worse?

Police officers work at the scene of a mass shooting on April 3 in Sacramento, California.
Liu Guanguan/China News Service via Getty Images

Why Is Gun Violence Getting Worse?

The only way to find the solution is to identify the real underlying cause.

Six people were killed and 12 more were wounded in a mass shooting in downtown Sacramento, California, on April 3. It matched the deadliest mass shooting of the year, and it was the worst in Sacramento’s history—but not by much.

There have been other mass shootings already this year, totaling to at least 108 so far. In February, a man shot and killed four people, three of which were his daughters, before killing himself in suburban Sacramento. In one weekend, nine mass shootings took place across seven American states between March 18 and 20. Eight people were killed and 60 were injured.

With issues like the Ukraine invasion and rising inflation taking headlines during the disastrous Biden tenure, it might seem like mass shootings have slowed. But not only are they mounting in the U.S.; they are becoming more fatal.

The Violence Project research center studied mass shootings over the last 54 years; it found that about eight people were killed in mass shootings per year in the 1970s. But in the last five years, an average of 51 people per year have died in mass shootings. More than 50 percent of the mass shootings between 1966 and 2019 took place since 2000.

But it’s only gotten worse since then. There were 417 mass shootings in 2019; 600 in 2020; and 693 in 2021. America is going through a historic crime wave, and most of the violence is concentrated in the cities. At least two thirds of America’s largest cities had more homicides in 2021 than in 2020. Ten of them set all-time records.

New York City is one of the worst hit. Newly elected mayor Eric Adams has called it a “river of violence that is feeding the sea of violence.” Former New York City police commissioner William Bratton identified the root problem of the rising crime wave well in an interview last summer. He said the decision not to punish low level, non-violent crimes has had a ripple effect. It has led criminals “to believe, ‘Well, I got off this time—I can try it again.’ It’s like you’re raising a child: If you don’t correct the child, it just keeps getting worse.”

That’s an opinion and an ethos that many on the left might disagree with. Many believe that the problem lies with gun ownership and the solution is gun control. But that would be like rubbing salve on a tumor—it doesn’t solve the underlying problem.

Sacramento is proof of this. California has some of the most stringent gun laws in the country. By the logic of gun control reducing gun violence, California should have the lowest levels of gun violence. But those laws couldn’t stop these tragedies from occurring. Why?

According to the National Institute of Justice, 80 percent of mass shooters were individuals “in crisis.” About a third of them had experienced childhood trauma. Many Americans suffered from this even before 2020. But the pandemic increased levels of social isolation and resultant depression and anxiety. Alcohol and drug overdoses are also on the rise.

Why are things getting worse? What is the real underlying cause of tragedies that are all too common in the U.S.? Many scoff at the veracity of the Bible, but it gives the true explanation of the problems bedeviling society. Jesus Christ Himself drew attention to the existence of “the devil,” an evil spirit being who has been “a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44). The Bible also calls him “prince of the power of the air” because of his ability to exert an evil influence and “deceive the whole world” (Ephesians 2:2; Revelation 12:9).

Satan and his demons are inflicting a great deal of damage on this world. After the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas where 58 people were killed, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote:

Think on the blood- and tear-soaked streets of the Las Vegas Strip to get an idea of the fathomless woe these diabolical spirits can cause!

Sadly, their lethal, hellish influence is growing, and it is going to get even worse! More and more people are inviting demonic presence into their lives. They are saturating their minds in evil entertainment; they are giving in to evil, hateful emotions; they are becoming addicted to prescription drugs in record numbers; they are taking other dangerous mind-altering substances—all of which make it far easier for demons to manipulate their thinking! The number of unstable people in this world is growing rapidly.

If you let Satan get to you, you can end up doing some abominable things!

In Las Vegas, authorities are looking for motives. This is the motive: “for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time”!

Satan has a very short time left on this Earth (Revelation 12:12). Jesus Christ is about to return to rule the Earth with His government of peace. “However, in the short term, our world is going to experience worse and worse atrocities as Satan’s great wrath reaches unparalleled heights!” Mr. Flurry continued. “A demoniacal gunman firing on a crowd is only the start. Look around at the explosion of crises plaguing our world: weather disasters, racial hatred and social unraveling, economic volatility, international instability, nuclear proliferation!”

One look at the world and we can see this plague of crises. So, what can you do? Look to God and the Bible for the solution. “If we do that and put our trust in God, we don’t need to fear what is happening in the world,” Mr. Flurry wrote. “We desperately need the vision and hope that only God supplies.”

Reading Mr. Flurry’s article “Las Vegas Massacre: Problem, Cause—and Solution” is a great place to start learning about the only vision and hope we have.