This is an amazing statistic and one that flies in the face of much of what one hears from the media these days.
1) In his address to the nation after the Plan(n)end Parenthood attack, Obama claimed: “I say this every time we’ve got one of these mass shootings: This just doesn’t happen in other countries.”
Senator Harry Reid made a similar statement on June 23rd: “The United States is the only advanced country where this type of mass violence occurs. Let’s do something. We can expand, for example, background checks. … We should support not giving guns to people who are mentally ill and felons.”
We prefer not to make purely cross-sectional comparisons, but this claim is simply not true. The data below looks at the period of time from the beginning of the Obama administration in January 2009 until the end of 2015. Mass public shootings – defined as four or more people killed in a public place, and not in the course of committing another crime, and not involving struggles over sovereignty. The focus on excluding shootings that do not involve other crimes (e.g., gang fights or robberies) has been used from the original research by Lott and Landes to more recently the FBI) from 2009 to the Charleston massacre (this matches the starting period for another recent study we did on US shootings and we chose that because that was the starting point that Bloomberg’s group had picked). The cases were complied doing a news search. The starting year was picked simply because it was the beginning of the Obama administration and it matched the time frame of a recent Bloomberg report (a report that we evaluated here). A comparison across the entire world is available here.
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