A Look into the Rise of Mass Shootings

Data shows that mass shootings are on the rise in the United States and that the numbers are considerably higher than in other Western countries. In this article, we will focus on the Q1 2020 and Q1 2021 numbers in the United States, alongside other statistics. For clarification, Q1 refers to the time period from January 1st – March 31st.

Total Shootings

Shootings are events that can lead to numerous casualties of firearm-related violence. While shootings can happen in any place, it has been discovered that most incidents occur in areas/places associated with the source of accumulated emotions prompted by resentment, frustration, hopelessness, and/or financial challenges.

Here are some of the most common places the U.S. has seen these disastrous events take place:

  • Schools: School shootings are often associated with young people or minors who are largely angry, sad, bullied, or abusing drugs and/or alcohol. Young people in this state are known to go through unexpected outbreaks of emotions that can take a deadly turn.
  • Workplaces: Workplace shootings have been connected to both resentful, laid-off employees and presently displeased ones. The shooting is often a final result of long-term work distress or financial hardship.
  • Public Gatherings: Places like malls, parks, concerts and clubs allow shooters to do a lot of damage in a short amount of time. The motivations behind these types of shootings differ, but the shooters almost always have a history of mental illness, trauma and/or violent upbringings.
  • Domestic: Domestic shootings often have to do with grievances, frustrations and/or anger in the home between couples, siblings or parents and their children. These are often domestic violence situations that have escalated.
  • Crime Scenes: Shootings can also occur at local businesses like gas stations and convenience stores when a robbery takes place. Armed robbers are very impatient and unpredictable; they can open fire just to achieve their goals.
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Q1 2020 vs Q1 2021

While we know that COVID-19 and shelter in place orders were issued in 2020 (arguing that maybe 2020 is not the best comparison year), these notices did not become life-altering until late March/early April. Notwithstanding, these are the total shootings that occurred in the first quarter of 2020 and 2021.

Q1 2020 – Total Shooting Statistics by Month

Q1 2021 – Total Shooting Statistics by Month

In January 2021, shootings in the United States increased to 173 as opposed to 150 in January of the previous year. This shows a 15.33% increase in shootings from one year to the next. Similarly, in February 2021, shootings amplified to 201 against 134 in February 2020, indicating a 50% rise. Furthermore, in March 2021, shootings intensified to 258 in comparison to 139 in March 2020; an 85.61% increase.

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Total Mass Shootings

According to the Gun Violence Archive (a non-profit research group that tracks shootings and their characteristics in the United States), the Congressional Research Service, and the FBI, a mass shooting is an incident in which four or more people, excluding the perpetrators, are shot in one location at roughly the same time. The Violent Crimes Act of 2012 defines mass shootings as events in which three or more people are shot, generally in a public place such as a school or workplace.

For the sake of this article, the threshold for estimating mass shootings is the death of 3 or more persons in the same place at the same time.

Q1 2020

Q1 2021

The statistics in the first quarter of 2020 when compared with the 2021 first quarter highlight a disturbing trend the U.S. has been seeing over the last decade.

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Shootings by State

Below is a list of states in the United States and the total shootings by state.

Q1 2020

Q1 2021