Newspaper article International New York Times

F.B.I. Confirms Sharp Rise in Mass Shootings since 2007

Newspaper article International New York Times

F.B.I. Confirms Sharp Rise in Mass Shootings since 2007

Article excerpt

There were, on average, 16.4 such shootings a year in the United States from 2007 to 2013, compared with an average of 6.4 shootings annually from 2000 to 2006.

A report released by the F.B.I. has confirmed what many Americans had feared but law enforcement officials had never documented: Mass shootings have risen drastically in the past half-dozen years.

There were, on average, 16.4 such shootings a year from 2007 to 2013, compared with an average of 6.4 shootings annually from 2000 to 2006. In the past 13 years, 486 people have been killed in such shootings, with 366 of the deaths in the past seven years. In all, the study, released Wednesday, looked at 160 shootings since 2000. (Shootings tied to domestic violence and gangs were not included.)

Many of the rampages ended before the police arrived, the report said. In 44 of the 64 cases in which the F.B.I. was able to determine the length of the shooting, the gunfire lasted less than five minutes. Twenty-three shootings ended in less than two minutes. In 64 of the 160 total cases, the gunmen committed suicide.

The report was prompted by the spate of mass shootings in recent years, like those at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.

After the Sandy Hook massacre, in which 20 children were killed, President Obama announced that administration and law enforcement officials would study how the country could stop the shootings from occurring.

There was a widespread belief that the number of shootings had risen significantly, but the federal government had no uniform way of tracking them. As part of the administration's efforts, the F.B.I., which keeps track of national crime statistics, was asked to determine whether the shootings had increased. The report was the first time that the federal government had determined the number of mass shootings over a significant period of time, according to the F.B.I.

Academics had previously tried to quantify mass shootings by using news media reports. In the new study, the F.B.I. relied on court documents, reports from all of its 56 field offices, and news media reports. …

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