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As mass shootings rise nationally, Maine had been an exception

There have been nearly 2,000 mass shootings reported in the U.S. in the last three years, but only one had been reported in Maine before Wednesday.
As mass shootings rise nationally, Maine had been an exception
Posted at 5:22 AM, Oct 26, 2023

Lewiston, Maine, appears to be the site of one of America's latest mass shootings.  At least 16 people died on Wednesday night as part of a shooting spree at a bar and bowling alley, the Associated Press reported. 

Authorities are expected to provide an update on Thursday morning, which could shed more light on the number of casualties. 

Prior to Wednesday's shooting spree in Maine, the deadliest mass shooting of 2023 in the U.S. was on Jan. 21 in Monterey Park, California, when a gunman killed 11 and injured nine at a Lunar New Year festival.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, the incidents in Maine and California are two among over 550 mass shootings that have occurred so far this year. The Gun Violence Archive considers a mass shooting an event with four or more people wounded, not including the suspect. 

SEE MORE: White House unveils new Office of Gun Violence Prevention

Including the incident in Maine, there have been 33 mass killings in the U.S. where four or more people have been killed by a gun, not including the suspect, the Gun Violence Archive reports.

While many states have had their share of mass shootings in recent years, Maine has had just one in the last three years. According to the Gun Violence Archive, the state's last mass shooting came on Apr. 18, 2023, when four people died and three were injured in a shooting in Bowdoin. It was the first mass shooting in over three years in Maine. The last prior mass shooting was on Feb. 3, 2020, when three people were killed and one was wounded in an incident in Machias, Maine. 

Before the 2020 incident, the last mass shooting in Maine was on July 5, 2017, in Madison, Maine, the Gun Violence Archive reported. Three people were killed and one was injured in that incident.

Based on data so far, the U.S. is on track in 2023 to exceed last year's total of 645 mass shootings recorded by the Gun Violence Archive. The group has noted a marked increase in mass shootings in recent years. Prior to 2021's record of 688 mass shootings, there were 610 in 2020, 414 in 2019, and 335 in 2018.

Historically, Maine averages fewer homicides per capita than the rest of the U.S. In 2022, there were 30 homicides reported in Maine, according to FBI data. In 2021, there were 20; 14 were reported in 2020; 14 were also reported in 2019; and four were reported in 2018. 

According to the FBI, the per capita homicide rate in Maine is about one-third the U.S. average. 

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