Between 1966 and 2012, 30% of the world’s mass shootings occurred in the U.S. This means that America has more public mass shootings than in any other country in the world, based on a study released by National Institutes of Health.
There is no a formal definition of mass shootings. The FBI described a mass shooting as four or more people died during the same event, with no distinctive time period between the murders and regardless of weapons used. These events typically involved a single place, where the killer murdered a number of victims in an ongoing incident. However, from 2013, they defined mass shooting as three or more people killed, regardless of weapons. This doesn’t include the killer, although the killer is eventually killed by taking his or her own life or by law enforcement. Another informal definition of a mass shooting is an event involving the shooting (not necessarily resulting in death) of 10 or more people with no cooling-off period.
Due to the lack of a single definition of mass shooting, this article defines a mass shooting using the following criteria:
- Four or more people died, or
- 10 or more people injured (not necessarily resulting in death)
From 1 January 2012 to 30 September 2016, the United States have suffered 222 mass shooting incidents, resulting in 1,826 casualties. 1,075 people have died and 751 people were injured from these incidents.
Download U.S. mass shootings statistics
It is difficult to quantify the epidemic of gun massacres. Even though there are numerous online sites that provide mass shooting statistics, collating a complete database is a challenging task. We have combed through the major online sources, for example the Stanford Libraries, ShootingTracker.com and Mother Jones. We have consolidated the records and created a historical statistics of mass shootings across the U.S. from 1966. The following Excel file contains data and statistics of mass shootings, including deaths and injuries until 30 September 2016. The spreadsheet consists of:
- Mass shooting date, address, city, state, total death and injured, a short comment, the venue type and whether it is related to a school shooting
- Two Excel charts that illustrates death toll by state and U.S. mass shooting statistics
Total 308 records in the spreadsheet, which includes mass shooting records from 1966 to 2016. You will also find a couple of charts derived from pivot tables. Use Excel filter to navigate the data and customize your analysis.
You will need a special code to open it, which will be provided after you follow instructions below.
Use this code to open the spreadsheet: 392711
Mass shooting death statistics by state
Texas, Florida and California are the top 3 states with the highest number of mass shooting death between January 2012 and September 2016. Refer to the following bar chart to see the entire states.
States spared from the mass shootings
Based on the criteria of mass shootings used in this article, as at 30 September 2016, our data shows that there are seven states not affected by the gun massacres in the USA. These states are Delaware, Idaho, Maryland, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Wyoming. Analysts debate whether these states were spared due to purely coincidence or if circumstances there make them a more peaceful state.
Would you like to know more about some interesting facts on mass shootings across the states? Check out our ‘top 3’ facts as follows:
Deadliest U.S. mass shootings, 1966-2016
It is evident that the trend of mass shootings has increased from 2012. The chart below shows exponential trend of death toll from 2012 to 2016. Whilst this chart shows death toll until 30 September 2016, you will see that there is an increasing trend of fatalities. Nationally, 99 people have died from mass shootings in 2012. As comparison, the death toll is more than double (269 in 2015 and 220 as at 30 September 2016).
Does the number of guns contribute to the increased number of mass shooting incidents? Arguably yes. Whilst no official figure exists, analysts thought there are approximately 300 million guns in the U.S, owned by a third of the population. That is nearly enough guns for every man, woman and child in America. Figures released by the Council on Foreign Affairs and the U.S. Department of Justice shows that on average, there were over 11,000 people died related to gun incidents from 2001 to 2011. Read the following article to learn about relationship between gun ownership and gun murder rate.
Top 5 deadliest U.S. mass shooting
The following is a list of top 5 deadliest U.S. mass shooting according to the data we collected from 1966 to 2016:
- On 12 June 2016, 49 people died in Orlando, Florida. Omar Mateen attacked the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in the early morning. He was killed by law enforcement who raided the club after a prolonged standoff.
- On 16 April 2007, 33 fatalities in Blacksburg, Virginia. A 23-year-old mentally ill student of Virginia Tech arrived on campus and began methodically shooting at students and faculty in classrooms and hallways. He killed five faculty members and twenty seven students before killing himself.
- On 14 December 2012, 28 people killed in Newtown, Connecticut. Adam Lanza shot his mother dead at their home then he drove to Sandy Hook Elementary school. He forced his way inside and opened fire, killing 20 children and six adults before committing suicide.
- On 16 October 1991, 24 people died in Killeen, Texas. George Hennard drove his pickup truck into a Luby’s cafeteria and opened fire before committing suicide.
- On 18 July 1984, 22 people killed in San Ysidro, California. James Huberty opened fire in a McDonald’s restaurant before he was shot dead by a police officer.
To download a full data set of U.S. mass shootings, refer to the section above.
Interactive heat map of U.S. mass shootings
When you hover over a state, you will see how many mass shooting incidents occurred between 1966 and 2016, the associated rank based on count of incidents, how many fatalities and people injured. State map with lighter colour indicates lower rank, whereas darker colour indicates worse rank.