BOISE, Idaho — Hours after the tragedy at the Boise Towne Square Mall, many were wondering if what happened constitutes a mass shooting and what is defined as a mass shooting.
Different agencies define a mass shooting on different criteria; therefore, there is not a universally accepted definition.
The Congressional Research Service defines mass shootings as a multiple homicide incident in which four or more victims are murdered with firearms—not including the offender or offenders.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines a mass shooting in a similar manner, defining it as any incident in which at least four people are murdered with a gun.
The Gun Violence Archive Online defines a mass shooting as a shooting with four or more people hurt, not including the shooter. They are now counting Monday’s deadly shooting in Boise as a mass shooting.
News magazine Mother Jones tracks mass shootings in a national database, using FBI data dating back to 1982, but Mother Jones also includes attacks dating from January 2013 in which three or more victims were killed. This was included after former President Barack Obama authorized a mandate lowering that baseline to three or more victims killed for federal investigations of mass shootings.
Additional criteria for mass shootings state the shooting happens in a single location that is considered a public place.
While Monday's deadly shooting at the Boise Towne Square Mall won't be logged as a mass shooting among some of these organizations, it will forever be seen and felt as a tragedy in Idaho.
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