Updated Analysis of Recent Mass Shootings
Sep 27, 2013
Today we released an updated analysis that shows there have been nearly two mass shootings per month in the United States between January 2009 and September 2013.
Using FBI data and media reports, our report describes the more than 90 mass shootings that have occurred in this nearly five-year period. The FBI defines a "mass shooting" as any incident where at least four people were murdered with a gun. The survey's findings reveal a different portrait of mass shootings in America than conventional wisdom and previous media coverage might suggest:
- Mass shootings represent a small share of total U.S. firearm homicides. Less than 1 percent of gun murder victims recorded by the FBI in 2010 were killed in incidents with four or more victims.
- Military-style assault weapons or high-capacity magazines — which were used in at least 15 percent of the incidents — put the "mass" in mass shooting. These incidents resulted in an average of 151 percent more people shot and 63 percent more deaths than other incidents.
- There is a strong connection between mass shooting incidents and domestic or family violence. In at least 57 percent of the cases, the shooter killed a current or former spouse or intimate partner or other family member.
- Contrary to rhetoric, gun-free zones are not the problem. In all, 67 percent of mass shooting incidents took place wholly in private residences, while no more than 15 percent took place entirely in public places that were so-called "gun-free zones."
- Those who serve and protect us are frequently the victims of mass shootings. In 14 percent of the shootings, law enforcement or military officers were targeted in the shooting or killed or injured responding to it.
These findings challenge some of the conventional wisdom about mass shootings, and the report highlights the areas in which further attention and research are needed. Click here to download the full report, and click here to access the full data set.