The U.S. surpassed 600 mass shootings so far this year on Monday, according to the Gun Violence Archive, putting 2023 on pace to approach record levels as mass shootings and deaths continue to spike. Two more deadly mass shootings in the United States over the weekend brought the nation to 38 such incidents in 2023, the most of any year since 2006, according to data collected by The Washington Post.
The weekend’s shootings occurred in Texas and Washington and brought the 2023 death total to 197, not counting the gunmen, which in itself is another grim record. Another 91 people were wounded across the 38 shootings.
Mass killings with guns rose in 2019 but dropped during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic. As daily life gradually returned to normal, the frequency of the deadliest shootings crept up.
James Alan Fox, a professor of criminology, law and public policy at Northeastern who manages the mass killings database and has studied such violence for more than 40 years, says mass killings are not an epidemic. Still, the tip of the gun violence iceberg, said.
More than 48,000 people died of gunshot wounds in 2022, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which averages out to about 132 deaths per day. More than half of those were suicides.
This year began with seven mass killings with guns in January, the most of any month in the database.
This year, as well as every year since at least 2006, the largest number of mass killings occurred in private homes or shelters—at least 26 of the 38.
Nineteen were committed by people who killed members of their own families, including current or former romantic partners and children.
The deadliest shooting of 2023 took place Oct. 25 in Lewiston, Maine, when an Army reservist who had experienced recent psychiatric problems opened fire in a bowling alley and a bar that was hosting a weekly cornhole tournament. He killed 18 people and wounded 13.
That total surpassed the death toll from Jan. 21, when a 72-year-old ballroom dancer fatally shot 11 with a semiautomatic rifle during a Lunar New Year celebration at a dance studio he frequented in Monterey Park, Calif. He went to a second studio but was disarmed by a member of the family who owned it, took off in his van and killed himself as police approached. Ten of the 38 shootings happened in public places, including at an outlet mall in Texas, a bank in Kentucky, a mushroom farm in California and a birthday party in Alabama.