I love my job, but there are certain times I’m not enjoying life. These are the days I have to write about a mass shooting.
The terrible loss of life alone is enough of a reason to dislike it, but it also brings up memories I’d rather not bring up. Then couple it with the vultures trying to capitalize on the shooting to advance their own agenda and you can imagine why I’m less than thrilled.
But as bad as the personal aspects might be, there’s also the misinformation that surrounds mass shootings as a whole.
Even when there’s not a recent shooting, this misinformation is still everywhere and we routinely have to debunk it.
Over at RealClearPolicy, John Lott has penned a piece that does just that. It starts with the claim that there are hundreds upon hundreds of mass shootings each year, citing examples from both President Joe Biden and CNN.
The numbers cited by Biden and CNN come from the Gun Violence Archive, broadly defines mass shootings to include any case with four or more people shot or injured. Some injuries are not from actually being shot.
The vast majority of the GVA numbers involve rival drug gang members. We hear about all the shootings in Chicago, but the individual attacks almost never get national coverage because they overwhelmingly involve drug gangs. Any type of murder is a tragedy, but the causes and solutions differ for drug gang fights and school shootings.
Since 1998, there have never been more than eight mass shootings in a public place not involving another crime in a year. These are referred to as mass public shootings. The annual average has been 3.9 attacks and 33.1 murders. In 2023, there were seven attacks.
Now, let’s understand that the average Bearing Arms reader already knows this. We know why GVA’s numbers are bogus. This isn’t new and if this was all Lott was arguing, I probably wouldn’t bother with writing about it because we’ve tread this ground so often, though the actual number of mass shootings isn’t something we’ve hit on much.
But Lott doesn’t stop there.
California has the strictest gun control laws in the country, but its per capita annual rate of mass public shootings is much higher than in the rest of the country. Since 2000, California’s rate has been 0.33 per million, whereas the rest of the US has had a rate of 0.25 per million. Since 2010, California’s rate has been 0.28 per million versus 0.15 for the rest of the US. And since 2020, it has been 0.13 for California and 0.05 for the rest of the US. California’s rate is also consistently higher than that of Texas — a state that gun control advocates sometimes like to demonize.
The media likes to give the impression that attacks with “assault rifles” are pervasive. In fact, seventeen percent of attacks involve just any type of rifle. Fifty-three percent of attacks involve only handguns.
This is important because we typically see an anti-assault weapon push in the wake of mass shootings. Biden is notorious for calling for such a ban even before we know what kind of weapon was used in such a killing.
It’s also important because people often cite California as a model for the rest of us to follow when, clearly, that’s not remotely the case.
California and lawmakers from there routinely try to inflict the state’s draconian anti-gun regulations on the rest of the country, somehow arguing that it’s why the state is so much safer. Yet it’s not really all that safe, especially when you’re talking about mass shootings.
There’s a lot of misinformation on mass shootings out there and we’re going to have to keep calling it out.