“Most gunmen are smart enough to know that they can kill more people if they attack places where victims can’t defend themselves. That’s one reason why 98 percent of mass public shootings since 1950 have occurred in places where citizens are banned from having guns.”
“This doesn’t happen anywhere else on the planet,” said California’s Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom. “We stand alone in the world in the number of mass shootings,” echoed U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. These were typical comments after an alleged shooter murdered 12 people in Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
People have been acting for a long time like the United States is the world’s hotbed of mass public shootings. Following a 2015 mass shooting during his administration, President Barack Obama declared: “The one thing we do know is that we have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world.”
This belief is constantly used to push for more gun control. If we can only get rid of guns in the United States, we will get rid of these mass public shootings and be more like the rest of the world, gun-control supporters preach.
But America doesn’t lead the world in mass public shootings. We’re not even close. Just last month, a school shooting in Crimea, Russia, claimed 20 lives and wounded 65 others. But Americans usually don’t hear about such events.
The Crime Prevention Research Center, of which I am president, recently finished updating a list of mass public shootings worldwide. These shootings must claim four or more lives in a public place. Following the FBI definition, the shootings we list are carried out simply with the intention of killing. We exclude gang fights because they tend to be motivated by battles for drug turf. Murders that arise from other crimes are also excluded.
by John Lott Jr.