Oregon mass shootings drop as US numbers climb
The number of mass shootings in Oregon has fallen so far this year, even as the U.S. has passed the 500 mark.
Why it matters: Mass shootings are one notable measure of gun violence at a time when firearms laws — including in Oregon — are being judged by a new standard of historical tradition that the U.S. Supreme Court set last year.
Driving the news: A shooting that wounded four people in Denver, Colorado on Saturday marked the country's 500th mass shooting in 2023, according to the Gun Violence Archive, an independent research and data collection organization.
- Shootings in Texas, Massachusetts, Illinois and North Carolina have since moved the number higher.
By the numbers: In Oregon, of the 24 mass shootings the Gun Violence Archive has recorded since 2014, 18 occurred in the Portland metro area.
Between the lines: The FBI does not define or quantify what constitutes a mass shooting.
- The Gun Violence Archive, however, says a mass shooting occurs when four or more people are shot or killed, not including the shooter, a definition that makes its numbers higher than some other sources.
Flashback: The archive tracks mass shootings since 2014, but a handful from this list of major Oregon shootings — dating back to 1977 — would qualify by the archive's definition.
- Oregonians were shaken by a shooting at Thurston High School in Springfield a year before the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado in 1999, which spurred significant debate on guns and school safety.
- The shooter in the Oregon incident, Kip Kinkel, has lost numerous attempts for a review of his sentence, which totals 111 years.
Context: Just five years ago, the country had never experienced 500 mass shootings in one year, but by 2020 the number crossed 600 and has kept climbing.
The big picture: With an increasing personal toll, more Americans view gun violence as a public health concern.
- One in six Americans have witnessed someone being shot, according to survey data from earlier this year.
- Gun deaths among children hit a record in 2021, per data released in August.
Of note: Oregon gun owners are challenging a new state law that restricts magazine size to 10 rounds and requires training and a completed background check before buying a firearm.
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