Editor’s Note: This article was, in no way, meant to encourage or challenge anyone into creating one of these horrifying situations. Its intent was purely to share some facts and statistics that show how we are handling serious situations in the state of North Dakota. This article was also not intended to downplay the horrors that these crimes create in the communities they are committed in. Our heart and hands are in constant outreach to help them as much and as often as we can.

With 353 mass shootings in less than 340 days in the United States this year, the prevalence of Mass Shootings is staggering across so many communities in our country. But when you look at the data of where these crimes are committed, North Dakota is one of 5 states in the contiguous 48 that has not had such a crime committed this year.

Is there a reason these types of crimes don't happen here?

"Mass Shooting" has no legal definition, but the people at shootingtracker.com, a site maintained by a Reddit group using news and police reports from across the US, have defined a mass shooting, for their purposes, as any gun related crime where 4 or more people, including the shooter, were injured or killed. According to the data collected by the site, there have been 355 mass shootings in the United States so far this year, but none have been reported inside the state of North Dakota. How is it that we have been so lucky?

Looking broadly at gun laws and legislation, we rank roughly in the middle of US states when it comes to gun safety laws. Currently, there is no waiting period to purchase a handgun, no permit required to purchase a gun online or at a gun show, and a moderately difficult process to obtain a conceal carry permit (when compared to the rest of the US). With these laws in place, back in 2013, the state of North Dakota saw an average of 11.8 gun-related deaths per 100,000 people. That puts the state tied for 28th in the US when it comes to gun-related deaths that year.

How is it that we have a statistical median of gun deaths per capita, but have not had to deal with the horror of mass shootings like other states have had to deal with this year?

I had a chance to speak with Bismarck Police Chief Dan Donlin about this matter and why he thinks North Dakota has been able to avoid having any of these types of crimes committed.

First thing that comes to mind is purely the grace of God that we have been fortunate enough not to have something like this committed in our great state. Beyond that, personally I believe our smaller population that is spread out across our state helps, as well as our deep tradition of hunting and being raised in a firearm culture plays into us avoiding mass type shootings

The reality is, nobody really knows why we've been able to avoid such a crime in 2015. That hasn't stopped law enforcement in this state from practicing if one of these situations were to arise. Recently, Fargo Police practiced a response scenario in case a shooter were to take over a school.

Let's just hope we can continue this trend well into 2016 and beyond.