Mass Shootings Data Summary

Research on Mass Shootings

Everytown Research has produced some white papers studying mass shootings. The details can be found there.

  •  A mass shooting is defined as 4 or more people shot to death.
  • Jan 2009 to July 2015, 133 mass shootings have occurred in the United States.
  • They’ve occurred in 39 states.
  • The median age of the shooters is 34 years old.
  • 57% of the incidents were domestic violence, in which the targets were family members.
  • 94% of the shooters are male.
  • 50% of the victims were female.
  • 11% of the shooters had known or suspected mental health issues, but only 1% had issues that prohibited them from having firearms.
  • Mass shootings account for less than 1% of homicides.
  • 62% of mass shootings were committed with legal weapons.
  • 8% were committed in a workplace (4%) or a school (4%).
  • 67% were committed in private residences.
  • 13% were committed in so-call gun-free zones.
  • 16% were committed in areas in which CCW was permitted

I looked at details on the twenty five shootings between 20 February 2014 and 15 July 2015. This was an arbitrary number, as it took several hours of reading dozens of news reports to get details of the crimes, the shooters, and their families. After 25 events, I just wore down.

Of the local and national news stories on the shootings, seven events had stories which discussed the families of the shooters; all of those families classify as “conservative.” I identified as conservative families whose members expressed white supremacist sympathies, were demonstrative church-goers and active members of their communities, who had military affiliation that extended beyond service in the Armed Forces. These are stereotypical, but probably accurate.  The other 18 families either were not discussed, or were discussed in ways that made it not possible to identify them on the political scale.

It’s likely that, due to the high median age of the shooters, family background was not a topic for discussion at the time of the events, except with respect to domestic violence and mental illness.

age_of_shooters

Conclusion

The majority of mass shootings in the United States are events of domestic violence, and the targets are family members.  It’s telling that the dominant public image of the mass shooter ignores the reality, that half the victims are women, and the majority of victims are family members of the shooters.  Domestic violence remains the unacknowledged reality in America.

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