You’ve undoubtedly heard the statement that the U.S. leads the world in mass shootings. After all, our previous President seemed to have that phrase permanently etched into his teleprompter, and anti-gunners desperately want for you to believe it’s true.
But it isn’t. Not even close.
So, why do we keep hearing that? Well, obviously, one reason (and, maybe, the only reason) is because anti-gunners want pro-Second Amendment folks like you and me to give up our guns without a fight.
The problem, though, is that the only place from where they are able to “justify” their assertion that the U.S. leads the world in mass shootings is from a paper by a criminologist named Adam Lankford which claimed to have included all mass shootings worldwide from 1966 to 2012. John Lott and Michael Weisser tell us that, in that paper, “Lankford claimed that the United States had 31 percent of public mass shooters despite having less than 5 percent of the population.”
Sounds pretty scary and pretty convincing, right? And, if he is so sure of his numbers, he would allow his sources to be reviewed so that others could duplicate the process and get the same results. It’s basic integrity in any scientific validation process.
But Lankford won’t reveal his sources or even disclose which languages were used in his data accumulation process. In other words, he steadfastly refuses even the basic information necessary for verification.
Now, if that weren’t fishy enough, Lankford completey endorsed a New York Police Department report from 2012 which he said was “nearly comprehensive” in it’s review of the data, and that he used that same data collection method. But the authors of that NYPD report said,
[Our researchers] “limited [their] Internet searches to English-language sites, creating a strong sampling bias against international incidents,” and thus under-count foreign mass shootings.
It’s pretty clear that Lankford is either fast and loose with his “facts” so that they can’t be trusted, or he isn’t telling the truth about what the data actually says. And, if that’s the case, he still can’t be trusted.
But, if that weren’t enough, the Crime Prevention Research Center released a new report which shows that, when you actually look at international statistics which we can actually depend on (because accurate statistics weren’t available for many parts of the world before 1988), the statistics for the percentage of mass shootings world wide that happen in the U.S. fall from Lankford’s 31 percent to 1.43 percent. That’s not a typo. Lott and Weisser write,
Of the 86 countries where we have identified mass public shootings, the US ranks 56th per capita in its rate of attacks and 61st in mass public shooting murder rate. Norway, Finland, Switzerland and Russia all have at least 45 percent higher rates of murder from mass public shootings than the United States.
When Lankford’s data is revised, the relationship between gun ownership rates and mass public shooters disappears.
To put it bluntly, you’ve been lied to. We all have. The statistics simply don’t say that gun ownership equates to more mass shootings, and don’t let any uninformed anti-gunner tell you otherwise.