Pandemic Opens New Category of Gun Violence

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The closures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus have spawned a new category of gun violence, reports The Trace.

At least nine shootings have been reported related to these restrictions since the first statewide lockdown went into effect on March 19. According to news stories and Gun Violence Archive data, at least four people have died and seven have been wounded in incidents that run the gamut from disputes over coughing in public to anger at businesses refusing service to customers who aren’t wearing masks.

Flint, Mi., is the only place so far with two cases, both disputes involving security guards.

Among the episodes: On May 15 in Flint a security guard at a liquor store shot a customer in the ankle after the man reportedly struck him several times in frustration over the store’s pandemic-imposed occupancy limits.

The previous day in Aurora, Co., a Waffle House employee was shot and wounded after confronting a customer who refused to wear a mask. Police charged the man with attempted first-degree murder.

On May 12 in San Antonio, a bus driver turned away a licensed concealed-gun carrier for trying to board the bus without a mask. The man shot a passenger who came out to confront him. On May 7 in Lexington, Mi., a police officer was shot and wounded while responding to a report that people were not socially distancing at a party.

The previous day in Oklahoma City, a McDonald’s employee was shot and two other employees were wounded when a customer opened fire after being told the dining area was closed because of coronavirus restrictions.

On May 1 in Flint, a security guard at a Dollar General store  was fatally shot after denying entry to a woman whose daughter was not wearing a face mask.

See also: Gun Use in Crimes Outpaces Justifiable Homicides 25-to-1

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