There is no official definition of a mass shooting, and many people define them differently. However, the two factors that are always involved in any definition are the bodily harm of multiple people and the type of weapon used. A shooting implies that there is a gun involved, regardless of the type of firearm, and having more than one person injured or dead are both generally agreed upon. The possible scenarios in which this could happen are plentiful, and sadly gun violence and mass shootings happen all over the world.
It is relatively rare for a mass shooting to happen at random. Generally speaking, the perpetrator has thought about and planned it for some time in advance, often to get weapons, define their targets, and prepare a way to carry it out. It is often the case that the shooter has a vendetta against a specific group of people or feels that they have something to gain by carrying out multiple murders. The three most common types of mass shootings are: Family shootings where a perpetrator kills their family and spouse; Felony killings usually involve murder for financial gain. Public mass killings are probably what most people think of when they hear the term "mass shooting." Despite their visibility in the media, public mass killings are the rarest type of mass shooting. For the sake of this article, it can be assumed that a mass shooting is synonymous with a public mass killing.
It is very challenging to acquire accurate data about mass shootings around the world, largely because of the differing definitions of the term. One factor that is more easily measured is gun-related deaths in a country, and very few of those are related to public mass shootings. Suicide is a more common way for someone to die with a firearm than any form of homicide. In 2016, there were 37,353 gun deaths in the United States. Of these, 22,938 were suicides, and 14,415 were homicides. Within the homicides, 71 were a result of a mass shooting.
Here is a list of developed countries other than the United States that have experienced one or more mass shootings in no particular order.
For a highly developed and wealthy nation, the United States has an unusually high rate of mass shootings. However, it is a common misconception that it is the worst country globally in terms of mass shooting rates. The truth of the matter is that the United States is number sixty-six on the list of countries in terms of mass shooting rates per capita, but they have had more mass shootings than any other country in terms of overall numbers.
That finding rings true when all countries around the world are taken into consideration. Looking at the United States alongside all the countries in Europe alone, the United States has the twelfth highest mass shooting rate. A few European countries with a higher mass shooting rate per capita than the United States include Russia, Norway, France, Switzerland, and Finland.
It certainly seems that the United States has the highest mass shootings rate of all the land, but this has been proven untrue. In recent years, the Crime Prevention Research Center released information regarding the annual death rates due to mass shootings around the world. The countries that were looked at in this data analysis were:
- The Czech Republic
- The United States of America
- The Netherlands
The Crime Prevention Research Center looked at the death rates that resulted from mass shootings between the years 2009 and 2015. Here are the average death rates, in millions, per country, between 2009 and 2015. The countries are already listed in order of the highest death rates to the lowest median death rates.
- Norway 1.888
- Serbia 0.381
- France 0.347
- Macedonia 0.337
- Albania 0.206
- Slovakia 0.185
- Switzerland 0.142
- Finland 0.132
- Belgium 0.128
- The Czech Republic 0.123
- The United States of America 0.089
- Austria 0.068
- The Netherlands 0.051
- Canada 0.032
- England 0.027
- Germany 0.023
- Russia 0.012
- Italy 0.009
While Norway has one of the lowest violent crime rates globally, its death rate is the highest on this list. On July 22, 2011, a Norwegian citizen killed 77 people with a bomb and mass shooting. Eight people were killed by the bomb on Regjeringskvartalet (Governmentquarter) in Oslo and 69 of were killed in the shooting at a summer camp on the island of Utøya. Police arrested suspect Anders Behring Breivik for the shooting, who was charged with committing acts of terrorism.