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“Mass Shooting”

An all-too-familiar term fueling debate and discussion after two murder sprees in America within 24 hours.

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“Mass” Killing vs. Shooting

No single accepted definition.

  • Justice Dept. defines “mass killing” as 3 or more people killed in one incident in a public place.
  • “Mass shooting” is not a legal term defined by gov’t so news sources may differ on the definition. Often references 4 or more shot (injured or killed) not counting the shooter.
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  • Data for “mass shooting” statistics *often* date back to a shooting at the University of Texas in 1966. Hence, it’s inaccurate to say “deadliest in history” because the data is limited.
  • Some news sources may/may not include gang shootings or robberies in “mass shooting” statistics making data difficult to compare.
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In 2019, there’s been more than one mass shooting a day in America: 253 in 216 days (vs. 207 in 2018).


Mass shootings significantly trail many other crime categories involving firearms: home invasions (1,039), unintentional shootings (943) & defensive shootings (889).

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20 people died, 26 injured in El Paso, Texas Saturday in one of the deadliest mass shootings in the modern era. 9 people died, at least two dozen injured in Dayton, Ohio early Sunday.

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  • The terrible numbers that grow with each mass shooting
    There is no universally accepted definition of a public mass shooting, and this piece defines it narrowly. It looks at the 165 shootings in which four or more people were killed by a lone shooter (two shooters in a few cases). It does not include shootings tied to gang disputes or robberies that went awry, and it does not include domestic shootings that took place exclusively in private homes. A broader definition would yield much higher numbers.
  • 2 mass shootings in less than 24 hours shock US