On December 14, 2012, a gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and killed 20 children, six adults, and himself. The horrific mass shooting led to calls to stop such tragedies in the US forever — in the mantra of “never again.”
Since Sandy Hook, though, there have been nearly 2,000 mass shootings in which four or more people, excluding the shooter, were shot but not necessarily killed. More than 2,200 have been killed and nearly 8,200 wounded.
Since 2013, there has been only one full calendar week — the week of January 5, 2014 — without a mass shooting.
In Las Vegas in October 2017, a gunman killed 58 people and wounded hundreds more. In Orlando, Florida, in June 2016, a gunman killed 49 people and wounded dozens more at a gay nightclub.
And in Parkland, Florida, a gunman killed 17 people and wounded 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School exactly one year ago — on February 14, 2018. That shooting inspired a new national movement for gun control, culminating in the March for Our Lives in Washington, DC, and sister marches across the country last March.
Since Parkland, there have been nearly 350 mass shootings in the US — nearly one a day.
Not every state has been affected equally. Here’s a map of the number of mass shootings since Sandy Hook, after controlling for population, in each state:
Since around 2015, the number of mass shootings has averaged around one a day.
These calendars display casualties from mass shooting since 2013, the year after the Sandy Hook shooting:
So far in 2019, 60 people have been killed and 113 wounded in 37 mass shootings — again, close to one mass shooting per day.
The data in these maps and calendars is based on the Gun Violence Archive’s count, which defines mass shootings as events in which four or more people, excluding the shooter, were shot, but not necessarily killed, at the same general time and location. That definition differs from others, which may require that four or more people are killed, or exclude certain shootings, such as gang-related and domestic events.
America is a big outlier among developed countries when it comes to gun deaths, in large part because it has so many guns, making it easy to carry out an act of violence. Studies have linked stricter gun laws to fewer gun deaths. But the US has the weakest gun laws in the developed world.
As shocking as mass shootings are, they are responsible for only a small portion of all gun deaths in the US. In 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 39,000 people died of gun-related injuries. Mass shooting deaths represented less than 2 percent of all gun deaths in the US that year — 456 of nearly 39,000 overall gun deaths.
This chart shows mass shooting deaths and overall gun deaths, with each block representing 10 gun-related deaths:
Meanwhile, more than 14,000 of the gun deaths that year were homicides, and almost 23,000 — the great majority — were suicides.
The evidence suggests that curtailing access to guns would not only prevent some mass shootings but also help curtail other gun deaths, including homicides, suicides, and accidental shootings. Until America confronts that problem, it will continue to see levels of gun violence far outside the norm among other developed nations — just as we’ve seen after Sandy Hook and after Parkland.