It's perhaps too easy to forget how many times this has happened. The horrific mass murder at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Colorado last Friday is the latest in an epidemic of such gun violence over the last three decades. Since 1982, there have been at least 56 mass murders* carried out with firearms across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii. We've mapped them below, including details on the shooters' identities, the types of weapons they used, and the number of victims they injured and killed.
Of the 132 guns possessed by the killers, more than three quarters
were obtained legally. The arsenal included dozens of assault weapons
and high-powered handguns. (See charts below.) Just as Jeffrey Weise
used a .40-caliber Glock to massacre students in Red Lake, Minn., in
2005, so too did James Holmes when blasting away at his victims in a
darkened movie theater.
Half of the cases involved school or workplace shootings (11 and 17,
respectively); the other 28 cases took place in locations including
shopping malls, restaurants, government buildings, and military bases.
Only one of the killers was a woman. (See Goleta, Calif., in 2006.)
Explore the map for further details—we do not consider the map to be
all-inclusive, but based on the criteria we used
to identify mass murders, we believe that we've produced one of the
most comprehensive rundowns available on this particular type of
traumatic violence. (Mass murders represent only a sliver of America's
overall gun violence.) For a timeline listing all the cases on the map,
including photos of the killers, jump to page 2.