A shooting at a Halloween party in Orinda on Thursday night that left five people dead and at least three more injured was America's 351st mass shooting of the year.
This Is How Frequently Mass Shootings Happen in the U.S.
That's based on a tally from the Gun Violence Archive, a nonpartisan group that attempts to track every incident of gun violence in the country. The group defines a mass shooting as any incident in which four or more people, including the assailant, are injured by gunfire. And as of Nov. 1, it had already tallied 352 such incidents — resulting in 399 deaths and 1,424 injuries — since the beginning of 2019, a significant uptick from previous years.
"We have been staggered by the number of times there have been 10 mass shootings in a weekend [this year]," Mark Bryant, who founded the GVA, told KQED in August. "People are getting angrier. And there's access to higher-capacity magazines. The fact that everything is so readily available for combat."
"There are just so many damn toys available for these guns," he added, noting the plethora of accessories that make military-style rifles all the more lethal.
Bryant, himself a gun enthusiast from Kentucky, said his group arrived at its own hard definition of a "mass shooting" after finding that the FBI had no such classification.
"We determined there needed to be something that addressed mass shootings that was not necessarily killing as many people," he said. "When you only look at those killed, a lot of times it ignores the damage of those who have been injured and the cost of that. This is a solid definition. There are no caveats at all."
The map below visualizes every mass shooting in 2019 to date that the GVA has identified. Click on points on the map for information about each incident.
Bryant noted a mass shooting at a high school in Benton, Kentucky, on January 2018, that left two students dead and 16 others injured. The incident, which happened just weeks before the much deadlier Valentine's Day massacre at a school in Parkland, Florida, was largely overlooked because of the relatively low death toll.
"How can you look at Parkland and say that's a mass shooting, but look at Benton where 16 students were shot, and say that’s a not mass shooting?" Bryant said.
Mass shootings occur with alarming frequency in the U.S., more often than in any other nation in the world.
This map shows the alarming frequency of mass shooting incidents in 2019.
But perhaps most alarming, Bryant notes, is the fact that mass shootings account for a tiny fraction of all U.S. gun violence.
"Mass shootings get the big press, they get all the attention. But they only account for about 4% to 5% of our work," said Bryant, who notes that this measure doesn't even include suicides, which make up about two-thirds of the roughly 36,000 annual U.S. gun deaths. "To me, that’s a staggering number."