The deaths of at least nine people in Dayton, Ohio on Sunday marked the end of a deadly week of gun violence that saw at least 33 people killed in mass shootings across the country. In fact, gun violence researchers have said that Sunday's massacre brought the total number of mass shootings to have occurred in 2019 so far to 251, a number which outpaces the number of days to have passed this year.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, a research nonprofit which tracks data regarding gun-related violence in the United States, 2019 has seen at least 255 mass shootings as of Monday morning. The organization, which defines a mass shooting as an incident where at least four people, not including the shooter, are shot, reported that four mass shootings had occurred since the attack in Dayton. Consequently, Monday is the 217 of the year, meaning there have so far been more mass shootings than days in the year.
While not every mass shooting counted by the Gun Violence Archive includes fatalities, the 255 incidents reported this year do include a number of deadly rampages. For example, CNN reported that at least 22 people were killed Saturday with another 25 more injured when a gunman opened fire in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. The attack is thought to be the deadliest mass shooting to have occurred this year, according to Slate.
A few days before the shooting in El Paso, a shooting at the popular Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California left three people dead and 15 others wounded, according to The New York Times. And in May, 12 people were killed with another four injured after a city employee opened fire in a Virginia Beach municipal building in Virginia. Until Saturday, this was believed to be 2019's deadliest mass shooting.
Although it's too early to tell if 2019 will end with there having been more mass shootings than total days in the year, such a thing, sadly, isn't unheard of. In fact, according to CBS News, it's happened before. The Gun Violence Archive recorded 382 mass shootings in 2016, a leap year with 366 days. What's more, CBS News reported that 2016 saw the highest number of mass shootings since the Gun Violence Archive began tracking gun violence data, adding that the Gun Violence Data recorded 346 mass shootings in 2017 and 340 in 2018.
Researchers at the Gun Violence Archive have recently said the country was "on pace [to see] 430 mass shootings for the year, the highest total since we began collecting gun violence data as an organization."
It's worth noting, however, that there is currently no universal definition for mass shootings and thus the criteria used by the Gun Violence Archives differs from the definitions used by other trackers and databases. Mother Jones, for example, defines a mass shooting as an incident that occurred in a public place and resulted in four or more victims. A database compiled by the magazine cites the shooting that took place in Dayton on Sunday to be the 114th mass shooting to have happened since 1982.
Similarly, a list compiled by TIME, which defines a mass shooting as a shooting that occurred in public and resulted in at least three deaths, notes there have only been eight mass shootings in 2019. According to TIME's analysis, at least 62 people have been killed in mass shootings so far this year.
However you choose to define mass shootings, one thing remains clear: they're becoming more deadly and more frequent with devastating effects on communities around the country.