FBI Study Finds Mass Shooters Tend To Obtain Guns Legally

The anti-gun media is having a ball. It seems the FBI released a study on Wednesday that found some interesting stuff after looking at a number of mass shootings through the years. What anti-gunners are loving is that the study found something that I don’t find particularly surprising.


You see, it seems most mass shooters obtained their firearms legally.

The terror of an armed gunman opening fire in public places has become an all-too-common occurrence, affecting American schools, churches, offices, holiday parties, government facilities and movie theatres.

While the attacks differ in location, level of carnage and the community impacted, an FBI study released Wednesday found that a common element of the attacks lies with the shooters, who are frequently motivated by grievances in their lives, wielding guns they obtained legally and targeting specific victims when they open fire.

The study, which examined dozens of active shooters between 2000 and 2013, found that contrary to the public perception of the episodes as being fuelled by mental health issues — an assertion frequently given voice by politicians, including U.S. President Donald Trump — law enforcement officials were only able to verify that about 25 percent of the attackers had diagnosed mental health issues.

The attackers, who almost always were men or boys, typically attacked places that were familiar to them. They had acted in ways that concerned the people around them ahead of the attacks, with many expressing a desire to carry out violent acts. And most used guns they acquired legally, oftentimes buying the weapons specifically for their attacks, the study concluded.

“Offenders don’t snap,” Andre Simons, supervisory special agent of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit and a co-author of the study, said in a telephone interview. “They don’t wake up one morning and suddenly decide to attack.”


Of course, they don’t snap. We already knew this.

After all, I’ve pointed out the often meticulous planning that goes into some of these attacks. That’s not something you do when you’re simply enraged and in the heat of the moment. No, these are often cold-blooded, motivated attacks.

Of particular interest was that the study found specific warning signs that may help identify potential killers in the future.

The FBI study found that on average, each active shooter it examined “displayed four to five concerning behaviours over time.” About one in three shooters had made threats or confronted people they later targeted. More than half of them revealed their intentions to do something violent, a phenomenon called “leakage.”

“One of the biggest findings for me is that there was one person in every active shooter’s life who noticed some sort of concerning behaviour,” said Sarah Craun of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, the study’s third author. “Most of them had multiple concerning behaviours, between four and five. These were people who were already known to be struggling a little bit. There are actually some signs out there that people can see.”

The warning signs included threats and physical aggression, and the study found that most of the shooters “had a history of acting in an abusive, harassing, or oppressive way.” Others had abused their intimate partners or stalked people, highlighting again the recurrence of domestic violence in the lives of shooters before their violent attacks in public places.


This, of course, is another reason why domestic violence needs to be addressed and prosecuted. Those who commit this kind of act, hurting the people they claim to love, are more likely to commit this kind of atrocity. Further, they’ve already committed a violent crime that should land them on the list of people who can’t buy guns.

In other words, what we’re seeing is that most of these killers are people who have already broken the laws we have in place that should keep them from getting guns, but for whatever reason, they’re not being prosecuted and convicted.

In short, we have all the laws we need to prevent most mass shootings. They’re already in place. We just need to focus on families pressing charges when stuff like that happens. We do that and convict them, and we have done all we legally can to prevent the next mass shooting.

Only a fool thinks this will stop mass killings, though. It will only force them to shift to other weapons like bombs and trucks. Either that or they’ll find another way to obtain a firearm.

Another thing the study argued was that mental health issues weren’t at the center of this. On that, I’m calling bovine excrement. Mentally healthy people don’t shoot up schools, churches, or concerts. Sorry.


Join the conversation as a VIP Member