Mass shootings are already far ahead of last year’s pace

Mass shootings are happening at a faster pace in 2016 than last year, data show.

So far in 2016, 49 mass shootings in the United States have left 73 people dead and 178 wounded, according to data collected from a Reddit thread that chronicles gun violence through crowdsourcing news reports. The subreddit’s criteria counts a shooting if a minimum of four people are wounded by gunfire. The combined total is up by one-third compared to the same time last year.

Hesston, Kansas, witnessed the latest shooting after alleged gunman Cedric Ford shot and killed three people before entering an Excel Industries plant. There, he opened fire and wounded 14 more before law enforcement shot and killed him. According to the data, this shooting was the year’s deadliest.

While this shooting erupted in a workplace, data shows that homes, birthday parties, restaurants and strip clubs elsewhere nationwide weren’t immune to gunfire this year.

For years, debate has raged around what counts as a mass shooting. For example, some experts may argue that data such as the subreddit thread and the Mass Shooting Tracker dataset adhere to an overly broad definition of mass shooting. But even a 2014 study from the Federal Bureau of Investigations signaled an uptick in U.S. mass shootings in recent years.

One reason why there’s no clear answer is that the federal government provides no single official tally, the Washington Post reported, adding that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not researched gun violence as an epidemic since 1996 when Congress threatened to strip the agency of funding if it did so.