So far in 2023, there have been 38 mass killings with guns in the United States, a number that exceeds the total amount seen in any other year in modern times.
The number is based on a measurement compiled by The Washington Post, which defines a mass killing with a gun as any incident in which four or more individuals are killed by gun violence. The Post has tracked such events since 2006.
The previous record, which was established last year, saw 36 mass killings with guns. As of Friday, 2023 had been tied with that number, but after two mass shootings over the weekend — one in Texas, where a 21-year-old man shot and killed his ex-girlfriend and three of her family members, and another in Washington, where a man killed his family and himself in a murder-suicide — the record was broken.
There are still 26 days remaining in December, which means the number could rise even higher.
One hundred and ninety-seven people were killed in the 38 instances of mass killings, according to The Post’s count.
The Post’s measurement doesn’t take into account the number of mass shootings that happened this past year, as the publication believes that term is ill-defined. Other measures of mass shootings, however, provide a definition of the term, with the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), for example, explaining that such events are where “a minimum of four victims [are] shot, either injured or killed, not including any shooter who may also have been killed or injured in the incident.”
As of December 5, the GVA has counted 630 mass shootings in 2023. The GVA’s count also measures the number of “mass murders” from gun violence, which is on par with the 38 that The Post has counted.
If the current pace of mass shootings continues, it’s possible that the number could exceed a total of 675 people by the end of the year. That number would be the second-highest ever recorded by the GVA, surpassed only by 2021’s numbers, when 689 mass shootings were counted.
The largest mass shooting this year took place in October in Lewiston, Maine, where a shooter killed 18 people and injured 13 others. Although the shooting renewed calls for legislation to address mass shootings in Congress, then-newly minted Speaker of the House Mike Johnson refused to consider any meaningful bills, instead only offering prayer as a solution, echoing statements frequently made by Republican lawmakers after such shootings occur.
A majority of U.S. voters want lawmakers to pass legislation to make gun laws stricter. According to a recent Gallup poll, 56 percent of Americans want new gun laws to make gun sale laws stricter, while 31 percent want current laws unchanged, and 12 percent want them less strict.