Who leads the U.S. in Mass Shootings?

The answer varies year to year, but if we are talking about 2019 it is unequivocally California.

Yes, the Gun Control Golden State lead the US in mass shootings (the loose media quoted definition) in 2019. They had five more than Illinois (another gun control haven) and a nearly 30% greater number than the firearm infested Texas. California sat with a nation leading 43 mass shootings for the year.

California mass shooting statistics 2019

24 of those shootings remain unsolved, Nobody who is suspected of, was arrested and charged with, or was dead at the scene and was known to be wanted for the shooting.

California also had 5 of the 34 total MAPS qualifying attacks, those that the public thinks of as “mass shootings” when they involve a firearm. Of the 34 total, 10 of them were non-firearm attacks.

Mass Attacks in Public Spaces MAPS map of 2019 mass attack events

So? How is that gun control working out?

Of course, California will blame the violence on the “lax” gun laws of their neighbors… but those three neighbors combined, one of which is Oregon who also has substantial gun control regulation, had only 9 shootings to California’s 43.

Combine that with the fact the handguns, by far more popular as a method for all shootings compared to rifles, cannot be legally sold across state lines. That is federal law, handguns are intrastate only. If I found a pistol I wanted, prior to my days as an FFL, I had to send it home to a local FFL to 4473 it out to me. Only long guns, and only those legal in the purchasers state, can be purchased out of state. Given California’s restrictions it would be ludicrous for most stores to stock CA compliant units in any bulk.

So the, “It’s other states’ fault!” really lacks depth when you think about it. Either their laws are all terrible attempts to control their actual problem zones or their laws are terrible attempts to control their problem zones, just for different reasons. The laws are either ignored or are complied with and still ineffective.

“But, Keith! What about 2020!?”

Sure, what about 2020? The MAPS report likely won’t be ready until August, but we know who won by the media definition.


Illinois took the top spot by a massive margin. In a year where we were all stuck inside.

Illinois mass shooting statistics 2020
That unsolved number though…

The City of Chicago alone beat California’s 2019 total by 10 with 53 mass shootings, every state that neighbors Illinois totaled only 58 in 2020. California dropped to 2nd place with only 40 and New York (yet another gun control golden child) tied with Texas for 3rd, with 36 each.

2020 was a more violent year, there is no doubt. There were only 10 more listed deaths from so titled “mass shootings” from 2019 to 2020, 508 compared to 518. There were a far greater number of injuries though, 1687 jumped to 2525 injured.

Truly of note, we have fewer known suspects for the 2020 shootings, both as percentages and as absolute numbers. This certainly supports the notion that law enforcement was in much greater absence during the pandemic, unable to respond and unable to solve the crimes perpetrated during the locked down year of COVID-19 and riots. A year to arm up in your own defense indeed.

Less than 25% of the shootings had a suspect (or suspects) in 2020 compared to 41% for 2019…

So, why do gun control heavy states beat out pro-gun states in mass shootings? Shouldn’t all that gun control be producing better results? If the proposed rules would produce results, why aren’t they?

Perhaps criminal motivations for violence are little more complex than, “Ahhhh, AR-15’s!”

Keith Finch
Keith is the former Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. He got told there was a mountain of other things that needed doing, so he does those now and writes here when he can. editor@gatdaily.com A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. Teaching since 2009, he covers local concealed carry courses, intermediate and advanced rifle courses, handgun, red dot handgun, bullpups, AKs, and home defense courses for civilians, military client requests, and law enforcement client requests.