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US road rage shootings soared during pandemic, gun control group says

By Reuters   April 6, 2022 | 06:24 pm PT
US road rage shootings soared during pandemic, gun control group says
Hundreds gather at Fairview High School for a candlelight vigil to remember the victims of a mass shooting that left 10 dead at King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, U.S. March 25, 2021. Photo by Reuters/Alyson McClaran
One person was shot on the road in the United States every 17 hours in 2021, according to a new tally of road rage violence.

In all, 131 people were killed and 391 wounded by gunfire for a total of 522 road rage casualties in 2021, the gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety said in a report released this week.

That represents a significant jump from 73 dead and 166 wounded in 2016, a spike that the report's authors suspect was linked to stresses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of shootings for 2021 works out to one person shot in a road rage confrontation every 17 hours, more than twice the rate of one person every 37 hours in 2016.

Everytown, which is funded largely by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, cited its database, compiled from 7,500 sources, mostly law enforcement agencies.

The gun control group said more research was needed to determine the reasons for the surge in shootings, but that increased road rage gun casualties correlated with other trends seen during the pandemic, such as rising gun sales and shootings.

The gun rights group Gun Owners of America (GOA) accused Everytown of highlighting the actions of criminals to infringe on the rights of responsible gun owners.

"Plain and simple - it's illegal to threaten someone or use deadly force with a firearm to settle a road rage dispute. This story is merely a distraction and an excuse for gun grabbers to once again claim that if we remove guns from the hands of good people, criminals will stop breaking the law," Erich Pratt, senior vice president of GOA, said in a statement.

Other groups, including the Automobile Association of America, have documented rising road rage. The American Psychological Association says young males are the most likely to display aggressive or angry behavior toward other drivers.

"From 2016 to 2019, roughly one-third of road rage incidents involving a gun resulted in injury or death. By 2021, nearly two-thirds did," Everytown said.

 
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