An Analysis of Deadly Mass Shootings, 1980-2018

The National Criminal Justice Justice Reference Service has released A Comprehensive Assessment of Deadly Mass Shootings, 1980-2018, analyzing data from mass shooting incidents in public and private spaces. For this report, a mass shooting was identified as “any incident where four or more victims were killed by firearm (not including the shooter) in a 24-hour period.” Between the years of 1980-2018 a total of 720 mass shootings occurred. Findings show that there was no significant change in the frequency of mass shootings between these years, although the consistency increased.

The intent of this report is to assess the features of mass shootings and to code each incident according to specific characteristics. Some of these characteristics include categorizations such as family-related, felony-related, hate/bias motivated, shooting(s) in suburban areas, and shootings(s) in rural areas. Existing publicly available databases use varying definitions of mass shootings. A more comprehensive analysis of mass shootings will help  bridge the disconnect between the reality of incidents, and the public’s perception of the frequency of them.


For more information, check out documents in HSDL’s Featured Topic on Active Shooters and documents related to mass shootings. Please note an HSDL login is required to view some of these resources.

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