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Halfway through 2021, the US has seen more than 280 mass shootings, including one in Iowa

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(KWWL/CNN) -- Gun violence reported in six states this weekend, including in Colorado, Illinois, and Arizona, brings the number of US mass shootings to over 280 for the year thus far.

Mass shootings are defined as four or more people shot, excluding the shooter.

According to The Gun Violence Archive, gun violence that resulted in mass shootings across the country has been reported 283 times since the beginning of 2021.

That's about 40% more than at this time one year ago in 2020, and 65% more than 2019.

Jillian Peterson, Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Hamline University, said, "That type of violence has been surging through the pandemic, and now in 2021 we're really seeing those numbers rise. And we can think about how the pandemic has increased stress, increased frustration, added to things like job loss and trauma and isolation, and we know all of that has an impact on gun violence."

Some law enforcement agencies blame the rise in shootings on criminal justice reform which may be letting too many violent criminals back on the streets. Others blame it on police reforms that they say make it more difficult for officers to do their jobs.

In Iowa, the last mass shooting took place in Sioux City on January 1, 2021, at a house party where three gunman with AR-15's killed one person and injured four others.

In April, Governor Reynolds signed the 'constitutional carry' bill that will go into effect July 1, and stands by her belief that the consequence of committing a class D felony, by selling guns to persons who are not allowed to own one, will be a strong enough deterrent to curb gun violence in Iowa.

"Today I signed legislation that protects the 2nd Amendment rights of Iowa’s law-abiding citizens while still preventing the sale of firearms to criminals and other dangerous individuals. This law also takes greater steps to inform law enforcement about an individual’s mental illness helping ensure firearms don't end up in the wrong hands. We will never be able to outlaw or prevent every single bad actor from getting a gun, but what we can do is ensure law-abiding citizens have full access to their constitutional rights while keeping Iowans safe.”

Governor Kim Reynolds
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