The Christmas holiday became a time of mourning for many American families, as 27 people were killed and 63 injured Friday in gun violence, the Washington Post reported Monday. In all, more people died in the U.S. on Christmas Day from shootings than the number of people killed in gun homicides in an entire year in Austria, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, Estonia, Bermuda, Hong Kong and Iceland combined.
The Christmas Day shooting tally excludes people who shot themselves in suicide. The victims include a married couple -- parents of a young child -- killed during a robbery in Columbus, Ohio, and the owner of a barbershop in Alabama hailed as "a strong voice against crime," according to local news reports. Two of the incidents involved four or more people shot, including a shootout in Mobile, Alabama, that saw four teenagers attacked by two gunmen outside a movie theater.
The Christmas Day shootings underscore a growing culture of gun violence in the U.S. There were roughly 36 gun fatalities and 73 gun injuries each day this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. There were 13,156 people killed by guns this year, compared with 12,575 in all of 2014, according to the online archive of gun violence incidents.
President Barack Obama and other gun control advocates have repeatedly called for anti-gun legislation this year, after several mass shootings, but Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Congress have been reluctant to limit Second Amendment rights. More recently, the NBA showed anti-gun violence ads from filmmaker Spike Lee and former Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety advocacy group during Christmas Day games.
“The gun should never be an option,” Knicks star Carmelo Anthony said in one of the ads.
Meanwhile, after a gun attack in San Bernardino, California killed 14 people on Dec. 2, gun purchases surged across the state and nation. As many as 6,000 guns were purchased by Californians after the terror attack carried out by two Islamic State group supporters. The FBI has reported in recent years that gun sales go up after mass shootings.
This year, some Americans were confronted with gun violence on Christmas even when the trigger wasn't pulled. In South Carolina, a man was arrested last week after pointing a gun at two pedestrians who had asked him to slow down as he drove through a residential area on Christmas Day. He was arrested and charged with two counts of pointing and presenting a firearm.