“Obama has changed the gun control debate by repeating claims over and over again until they become accepted facts to many people. The media absorb and amplify these claims, reinforcing the idea that America would be safer if only it were more like Europe. That’s not the case.”
That claim is the end of a new article in the LA Times by John Lott, known for his extensive research on gun control that he outlined in a well known book entitled More Guns, Less Crime. As the foremost authority on the positive effect guns produce, Lott now tackled another element of the gun question: if we adjust for population with murder rates, why don’t we also adjust for population with mass shootings?
Lott begins by condemning the media’s quick habit of using the “vague impressions” of President Obama and Hillary Clinton to dictate the policy proposals that are carried through. Claiming that the U.S. would experience fewer mass shootings if it were more like Europe is not only a vague claim, but is extremely misleading. Such a claim could only be made by ignoring the raw data that proves otherwise, and this is exactly what Lott lays out in his article.
Lott explains that the FBI defines a “mass shooting” as four or more deaths that occur not in conjunction with some other crime, such as a robbery. He and his colleagues compiled a list of such events that have occurred in the United State and Europe since the beginning of President Obama’s tenure in office. Since January 2009, the U.S. and the EU have each experienced twenty-five mass shootings, according to the FBI’s definition.
The study uses data to examine the death rates for mass shootings adjusted for population and found that the murder rate was virtually the same in the U.S. and the EU. There was, however, a stark difference in the injury rate between the two: in the EU one is more than twice as likely to be injured in a mass shooting. When looking at frequency of attacks and adjusting for population, the U.S. came in 12th with 0.078 per million people. The U.S. also has the 11th highest fatality rate, which is behind other developed nations such as France and Belgium.
Of the twenty-five worst mass shootings worldwide since 1970, only one occurred in the U.S.: the attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. This destroys the narrative that the gun control crowd offers, stating that the U.S. should strive to be more like Europe if it hopes to eliminate a fear of mass shootings from occurring here at home. Compared with the rest of the world, the U.S. is relatively much safer from the threat of mass shootings. Facts back up this claim, and only a biased opinion could disagree. This is what John Lott’s study illustrates, and it comes as a devastating blow to the claims that the U.S. is the only civilized nation to deal with such attacks.
You can read Lott’s study in its entirety here.