Does the United States have the Most Mass Shootings?

(12/2/15) Today in San Bernardino California a horrific mass shooting took place, that at this time has taken 14 lives and injured 14 more.  Current reports suggest domestic terrorism with a motive that is unknown.  It is quite baffling and disturbing that these shooters chose a Center for Developmental Disabilities during a Christmas party, to launch their attack.  One can only speculate why this was chosen.  Due to this incident, I wanted to check and see which developed countries have the most mass shootings.

For a look at the statistics, I looked to, Jaclyn Schildkraut of the State University of New York in Oswego and H. Jaymi Elsass of Texas State University. They have been collecting and analyzing mass shooting incidents in 11 countries, covering the period from 2000 to 2014. Aside from the United States, the countries they studied are Australia, Canada, China, England, Finland, France, Germany, Mexico, Norway and Switzerland.

According to Schildkraut and Elsass the United States is number one in the world in number of mass shootings (133), number of dead (487), number of wounded (505) and total victims (909).  For perspective Germany is in second place with a total of 6 mass shootings.  The study further broke down mass shooting victims by population.  In this regard the United States is 4th on the list.  Several factors come into play to explain this.  Norway is considered the worst for mass shootings even though they have had one mass shooting in 14 years and that is because 77 people were killed while having a low population.  Switzerland also had one shooting and a high casualty rate which caused them to be ahead of the United States.  Finland had two mass shootings in 14 years but they were horrific resulting in 44 deaths.  Again, they have a small population.  When you remove these countries the USA has 3 times more mass shooting gun deaths than second place Germany which has a large population.

Lacking in these studies is a comparison of total number of mass shootings compared to population.  I took Schildkraut and Elsass numbers and broke it down into mass shootings per 1 million people.  Using this method the United States had .417 mass shooting/per million which is number one of the 11 developed countries.  The second country on the list is Finland at .380 and again they had 2 mass shootings in 14 years which shows the impact of population on these numbers.  If you would like to calculate the equation it is: (Total Mass Shootings/total population=X)  1,000,000 x (X)=mass shootings per million.

In another study conducted by the American Sociological Society the US population is 5% of the world and our mass shootings make up 31% of the world’s mass shootings.  No matter how you measure the statistics the USA leads the developed world in mass shootings.  It is unequivocal and undeniable based on these numbers.


Written by Dave Van Zandt

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