After every mass public shooting, the media immediately pushes a narrative that it’s only in America that such tragedies occur. Even former President Barack Obama commonly repeated the claim following the mass shootings that occurred during his administration.
“This type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency,” Obama said back in 2015.
Is that true – and if so, what can be done? First, let’s define what a mass shooting (and mass public shooting) is.
“Mass shooting” typically refers to mass killings perpetrated by a firearm or firearms. In 2013, Congress defined “mass killing” as “3 or more killings in a single incident.” For a mass killing to be defined as a “mass public shooting” such murders must occur in absence of other criminal activity (robberies, drug deals gone bad, and gang shootouts), and there must be at least four killed, as opposed to three.
So with that in mind, how common are such events? The Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal has the stats:
- Mass killings are rare, and thus it makes no sense to base gun control policy around them, when most gun related deaths are not in mass public shootings.
- Mass killings account for only 0.2 percent of homicides every year
- Only 12 percent of mass killings are mass public shootings. Most mass killings are familicides (murders of family members or intimate partners) and felony-related killings (such as robberies gone awry or gang-related “turf battles”)
And here are some statistics that have implications regarding some control measures that have recently been proposed.
- Over 90 percent of public mass shootings take place in “gun-free zones” where civilians are not permitted to carry firearms.
- A complete ban on “assault weapons” will save very few lives: Six out of every 10 mass public shootings are carried out by handguns alone, while only one in 10 is committed with a rifle alone.
- The average age of mass public shooters is 34, which means that increasing the minimum age for purchasing firearms would not target the main perpetrators of mass public shootings.
- Few mass public shooters have used “high-capacity magazines,” and there is no evidence that the lethality of their attacks would have been affected by delays of two to four seconds to switch magazines. In fact, some of the largest mass shootings in U.S. history were carried out with “low-capacity” weapons:
While there’s unquestionably an urge to “do something” after mass public shootings, no gun control proponent has yet to suggest a gun control policy that would actually reduce such tragedies.
Share this you believe the proposed “solutions” to mass shootings are never going to work.