This summer the United States experienced three high-profile shootings in just over five weeks. First, there was Charleston, South Carolina. Then, Chattanooga, Tennessee. Finally, Lafayette, Louisiana. But America’s gun violence epidemic isn’t confined to incidents of mass carnage, or those that wrest control of the 24-hour media cycle.
In the 37 days between the shootings in Charleston and Lafayette, at least 1,433 people were killed with a gun in the United States. On July 23, when a man with a checkered history opened fire in a Louisiana movie theater with a legally-purchased handgun, there were a total of 67 shooting incidents. Twenty-eight people died.
In the wake of this year’s most recent mass shootings, the daily tally of gun violence victims continues to rise, particularly in our nation’s urban centers. In Baltimore — which in July suffered the deadliest month in more than four decades, with 45 homicides — 11 people were shot last weekend, three of them fatally. In New York City, where the number of gun injuries and deaths has dropped dramatically since a period of violence spanning the 1970s through the 1990s, as many as 22 people were shot from Friday to Sunday.
The visualization above is built with data provided by the Gun Violence Archive, an organization that tracks U.S. shootings in real time through more than 1,200 sources, including media reports and police blotters. The data includes gun homicides, fatal unintentional shootings, and suicides occurring as part of homicides or police encounters. Excluded are fatal self-inflicted gunshot wounds in incidents with a single victim; those figures are only available on a semiannual basis via government reporting, and the numbers for the period covered by our inquiry have not yet been released.
An important note: The deaths of Chattanooga shooter Muhammad Abdilazeez (who was killed by police) and Lafayette shooter John Houser (who fatally shot himself after murdering two) are included in this graphic. The Gun Violence Archive includes perpetrators’ deaths in its numbers, as it explains on its site:
Gun violence describes the results of all incidents of death or injury or threat with firearms without pejorative judgment within the definition. Violence is defined without intent or consequence as a consideration. To that end a shooting of a victim by a perpetrator is considered gun violence as is a defensive use or an officer involved shooting. The act itself, no matter the reason is violent in nature.
The result is a tally that seeks a kind of neutral exhaustiveness — and yet is itself unavoidably incomplete as a snapshot of this summer’s total gun violence. The data considered in our graphic cuts off two weeks ago, but the killings continue daily: On Monday, a 19-year-old pregnant woman lost her child and four others were wounded when they were shot in front of a Brooklyn housing project.