The Buffalo supermarket shooting, the massacre of elementary school children in Uvalde, Texas, then the attack on a doctor and bystanders in Tulsa and finally yesterday’s workplace shooting at a Maryland concrete plant—these events have dominated headlines in the United States and abroad for weeks. But there are actually many more mass shootings that don’t make the front pages, shining a light on the actual extend of mass gun violence in the country.
Mass shootings carried out by a lone shooter in a public place over a short period of time are those that typically receive extended media attention. A database curated by Mother Jones recorded five such shooting this year—the ones mentioned above and a less publicized killing that saw a father shoot his three children and a minder at a visitation in a church near Sacramento, California in February. Applying a threshold of three people killed like Mother Jones does, an analysis of Gun Violence Archive data shows that a much higher 22 mass shootings already took place in the U.S. this year when considering all circumstances.
This chart shows the number of mass shootings and number of deceased since 2014 in the U.S.
Even avid news readers might not have heard about a shooting in Biloxi, Mississippi on April 27 that according to local news started as an argument between hotel staff and guests and left five dead including the shooter and a person he carjacked. When a gunman shot seven and killed five of his family members in Corsicana, Texas on February 5 before taking his own life, the only coverage in non-local news came out of Canada and the U.K.
A January 23 sextuple homicide in Milwaukee did eventually make national news. One shooter was arrested for what court documents allegedly call a botched drug robbery. Another shooter may still be at large.
No pandemic dip for “other” shootings
While the data by Mother Jones shows a clear dip in lone-shooter, public-setting gun massacres in the pandemic year of 2020, this cannot be said of all gun deaths or even all mass shootings. Violent gun deaths spiked by 35% in 2020 and homicide numbers—which are shootings in 80% of cases—remained just as high in 2021 as they had been in the previous year. Mass shootings of any kind also experienced a peak in 2021—77 were recorded by Gun Violence Archive—while 2020 proved to be an about average year.
While U.S. mass shootings killed an average of 55 to 230 people annually in roughly the past decade—depending on how you define them—this number is eclipsed by the number of gun assault victims, which averaged around 14,500 per year over the same time period and in 2020 came close to 20,000.

Charted by Statista

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