History of Mass Shootings in America
With 59 people dead and over 400 people injured, the massacre by a lone gunman that
occurred at a country music festival in Las Vegas on Sunday is now the deadliest mass shooting
What turns an attack into a mass shooting? By definition, “A mass shooting involves four
or more people injured or killed in a single event at the same time and location.”
By this definition alone, 521 mass shootings have occurred in the past 477 days. When
looking at a timeline that spans 1,735 days, nearly five years, the number of mass shootings
These mass shootings are typically carried out lone gunmen who go on shooting sprees
that tend to end one of three ways: they turn the gun on themselves, they are killed during
standoffs with police, or they plead insanity.
In 2016, a lone gunman killed 49 people and injured 53 at a nightclub in Orlando. He was
shot and killed by police after a three-hour standoff. This attack was the deadliest mass shooting
in America until the Las Vegas attack, and The New York Times even called it “the worst act of
terrorism on American soil since Sept. 11, 2001.”
A month later, five police officers were killed by a military veteran in a sniper attack that
took place during what was supposed to be a peaceful demonstration against violence by police.
He was killed by the police using a robot-delivered explosive.
In 2015, a married couple opened fire on a gathering in San Bernardino, California,
killing 14 people and injuring 22. They were later killed in a standoff with the police.
In 2012, a man shot 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in
Sandy Hook, Connecticut, before shooting himself in the head.
Also in 2012, 6 months earlier, a lone gunman entered a movie theatre in Aurora,
Colorado, killing 12 people and injuring 70 after setting off tear gas grenades and shooting into
the audience with multiple firearms. He plead not guilty by reason of insanity.
These events are just a few of the hundreds of mass shootings that have taken place in the
past five years, yet there are still plenty of ways for an American to get their hands on an assault
rifle. Congress has taken no action against gun legislation, leaving many American’s wondering,