May 2020 was marked by the news of the 100,000th American casualty of the coronavirus, the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, and widespread protests leading to violent crackdowns by law enforcement. It’s now captured another grim milestone: The most mass shootings in a single month.
According to Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that tracks incidents of gun violence in real-time, there were 59 mass shootings in the month of May. The tally represents the highest monthly total since the organization started collecting data in 2013.
May’s mass shootings resulted in at least 39 deaths and 249 injuries. The most recent incident took place on the evening of May 31 in Philadelphia. Against a backdrop of protests, a gunman shot four people in the city’s Kensington neighborhoods. One of the victims was a 12-year-old boy, who was transferred to a hospital and reported to be in stable condition.
GVA defines a mass shooting as any incident in which four or more people are shot, excluding the gunman. Other organizations and law enforcement agencies abide by stricter definitions, often requiring four people to be killed to be considered a mass shooting or “mass murder.”
GVA collects data on incidents of gun violence by scraping media reports and publicly available police data. The organization does not track gun suicides, which account for roughly two-thirds of annual deaths.
As The Trace has reported, rates of gun violence in many American cities have stayed the same — or actually increased — despite stay-at-home orders keeping millions of Americans inside. Meanwhile, instances of other types of violent crime have largely fallen.
According to GVA, more than 6,600 people have been fatally shot in the United States since the start of the year.