Is America Awash With Mass Shootings?

No.  A piece in today’s Wall Street Journal by Jason Riley notes that “Mass shooting casualties are less than 1% of all gun deaths and their have been 13 mass school shootings since 1966. These data points are cold comfort to those morning the shooting victims in Uvalde, but they ought to inform any public policy response under consideration.”

While gun control advocates, politicians and a complicit media have insisted for decades that the only way to stop school shootings is to ban firearms, they do not have the data to support that demand.  As Mr. Riley notes:

“There are an estimated 400 million guns in circulation in the U.S., which leads gun-control advocates to conclude that school shootings are an inevitable outcome of having so many guns around. Correlation is not causation, however, and research has failed to find a causal relationship between changes in gun-ownership rates and changes in the level of school violence involving firearms. A recent analysis of the Rand Corporation’s firearms database by the University of Oklahoma’s Daniel Hamlin found significant increases and decreases in school gun incidents during periods when gun-ownership rates remained relatively stable.

Gun violence that occurs away from school settings tells a similar story. Gun-ownership rates in rural areas are higher than in urban areas, yet our cities tend to be far more violent. Whites own firearms at much higher rates than blacks or Hispanics, yet gun violence among the latter two groups is much more commonplace. Moreover, proponents of additional gun laws ignore that shootings continue to plague places such as Chicago, which already has some of the country’s most severe gun restrictions. How passing more gun regulations, or taking guns away from the law-abiding, will deter criminals is a question they can’t answer.

Gun-control advocates in the U.S. like to make selective comparisons with other countries, such as Japan, where both gun ownership and gun crimes are lower than in the U.S. But lower levels of gun possession don’t necessarily translate into lower levels of violent crime. Gun ownership rates in Switzerland and Austria, for example, are significantly higher than in Germany, even though the Swiss and the Austrians have lower murder rates than the Germans. Likewise, Russia and Mexico have stronger gun-control laws than we do as well as higher homicide rates.”

The left’s insistence that prohibiting pro-active policing and banning firearms are needed to protect minorities, ignores the fact that urban blacks are disproportionately the victims of violent crime.  In large cities with the strictest gun laws, gun-related homicide is the leading cause of death of young black males.  With the police forced to back off in these urban neighborhoods, “gun restrictions that make it more difficult for law-abiding blacks to defend themselves and their families can only make a bad situation even worse.”

“Deterrence is the more realistic option. Misbehaving students can be suspended and expelled if necessary. Mental-health services can be improved. Armed security guards can be employed. No one thinks turning schools into fortresses is ideal, but turning schools into gun-free zones can make them a magnet for mass shooters. When you’re worried about someone shooting back, sometimes you think twice about taking the first shot.”


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