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Health Team

Even under the narrowest definition, there's been at least 1 mass shooting every month this year

Posted June 15

There's no one commonly accepted definition of a mass shooting. But whatever criteria you use, the conclusion's the same: They are far too common.

If you go with the narrowest definition ...

The government has never defined "mass shooting" as a standalone category. Let's go with the most commonly accepted definition, from the Congressional Research Service: a shooting in which a gunman ...

kills four or more peopleindiscriminatelyin a public place

That definition rules out the Congressional baseball practice shooting or the incident at the UPS facility this week because neither gunman killed four people. In last week's Orlando shooting spree, the gunman killed five people -- but that attack doesn't count either because police say he targeted his victims.

Using that narrow definition, from January 1 to June 14, we have seen 8 deadly mass shootings.

That's an average of 1.3 mass shootings a month.

If you go with the raw numbers ...

What if you didn't rule out motive and just considered the casualty count? According to the non-profit Gun Violence Archive, which compiles data from shooting incidents, a "mass shooting" is any incident where four or more people are wounded or killed (including the killer).

By that definition, from January 1 to June 14, we have seen 154 mass shootings.

That's averages out to 6.7 mass shootings a week.

It's troubling however you look at it

Whatever definition you consider, the instances are too depressingly frequent.

From 1966 to 2012, nearly a third of the world's mass shootings took place in the US. This is according to a study last year that used the Congressional Research Service definition of "mass shooting."

It surveyed 292 incidents and found 90 of them occurred in America. Put another way: While the US has 5% of the world's population, it had 31% of all public mass shootings.

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