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Do a Google search for the term “mass shooting” and the results just might surprise you. In the U.S., there was approximately one mass shooting per day in 2017. This year is off to a slightly quieter start, but not by much.

How a mass shooting or killing is identified depends on the criteria used. While there is no single, broadly recognized definition of a mass shooting, following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Congress defined “mass killings” as “three or more killings in a single incident.” The FBI uses the term “mass murder” and defines it as an event where four or more individuals are killed in a single event, usually in one location or within multiple sites that are in close proximity of each other (e.g., different offices or floors in particular setting like a school, office or mall). However, the FBI does not have formal definition for a mass shooting.

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Patricia L. Harman

Patricia L. Harman is the editor-in-chief of Claims magazine, a contributing editor to, and chairs the annual America's Claims Event (ACE), which focuses on providing claims professionals with cutting-edge education and networking opportunities. She covers auto, property & casualty, workers' compensation, fraud, risk and cybersecurity, and is a frequent speaker at insurance industry events. Contact her at [email protected]

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