Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

John Fund: the facts about mass shootings

From National Review. This article was being shared a lot on Facebook.

Excerpt:

Mass shootings are no more common than they have been in past decades, despite the impression given by the media.

In fact, the high point for mass killings in the U.S. was 1929, according to criminologist Grant Duwe of the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

Incidents of mass murder in the U.S. declined from 42 in the 1990s to 26 in the first decade of this century.

The chances of being killed in a mass shooting are about what they are for being struck by lightning.

Until the Newtown horror, the three worst K–12 school shootings ever had taken place in either Britain or Germany.

[...]First, the mental-health issue. A lengthy study by Mother Jones magazine found that at least 38 of the 61 mass shooters in the past three decades “displayed signs of mental health problems prior to the killings.”New York Times columnist David Brooks and Cornell Law School professor William Jacobson have both suggested that the ACLU-inspired laws that make it so difficult to intervene and identify potentially dangerous people should be loosened. “Will we address mental-health and educational-privacy laws, which instill fear of legal liability for reporting potentially violent mentally ill people to law enforcement?” asks Professor Jacobson. “I doubt it.”

[...]Economists John Lott and William Landes conducted a groundbreaking study in 1999, and found that a common theme of mass shootings is that they occur in places where guns are banned and killers know everyone will be unarmed, such as shopping malls and schools.

I spoke with Lott after the Newtown shooting, and he confirmed that nothing has changed to alter his findings. He noted that the Aurora shooter, who killed twelve people earlier this year, had a choice of seven movie theaters that were showing the Batman movie he was obsessed with. All were within a 20-minute drive of his home. The Cinemark Theater the killer ultimately chose wasn’t the closest, but it was the only one that posted signs saying it banned concealed handguns carried by law-abiding individuals. All of the other theaters allowed the approximately 4 percent of Colorado adults who have a concealed-handgun permit to enter with their weapons.

[...]Lott offers a final damning statistic: “With just one single exception, the attack on congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in 2011, every public shooting since at least 1950 in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry guns.”

There is no evidence that private holders of concealed-carry permits (which are either easy to obtain or not even required in more than 40 states) are any more irresponsible with firearms than the police. According to a 2005 to 2007 study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin and Bowling Green State University, police nationwide were convicted of firearms violations at least at a 0.002 percent annual rate. That’s about the same rate as holders of carry permits in the states with “shall issue” laws.

Please read it. It’s good to have the facts when deciding what to make of individual tragic occurrences.

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Connecticut shooting shows why we need to ban gun-free zones

Do criminals about to do a mass shooting care about signs?

Do criminals about to do a mass shooting care about signs?

(Thanks to TM for the image)

USA Today has an editorial about the recent shooting in Connecticut and gun-free zones.

Excerpt:

“After a shooting spree,” author William Burroughs once said, “they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it.” Burroughs continued: “I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military.”

Plenty of people — especially among America’s political and journalistic classes — feel differently. They’d be much more comfortable seeing ordinary Americans disarmed. And whenever there is a mass shooting, or other gun incident that snags the headlines, they do their best to exploit the tragedy and push for laws that would, well, take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it.

There are a lot of problems with this approach, but one of the most significant is this one: It doesn’t work. One of the interesting characteristics of mass shootings is that they generally occur in places where firearms are banned: malls, schools, etc. That was the finding of a famous 1999 study by John Lott of the University of Maryland and William Landes of the University of Chicago, and it appears to have been borne out by experience since then as well.

In a way, this is no surprise. If there’s someone present with a gun when a mass shooting begins, the shooter is likely to be shot himself. And, in fact, many mass shootings — from the high school shooting by Luke Woodham in Pearl, Miss., to the New Life Church shooting in Colorado Springs, Colo., where an armed volunteer shot the attacker — have been terminated when someone retrieved a gun from a car or elsewhere and confronted the shooter.

Policies making areas “gun free” provide a sense of safety to those who engage in magical thinking, but in practice, of course, killers aren’t stopped by gun-free zones. As always, it’s the honest people — the very ones you want to be armed — who tend to obey the law.

Here’s Dr. John R. Lott to make the case.

Excerpt:

It wasn’t supposed to happen in England, with its very strict gun-control laws. And yet last week, Derrick Bird shot twelve people to death and wounded eleven others in the northwestern county of Cumbria. A headline in the London Times read: “Toughest laws in the world could not stop Cumbria tragedy.”

But surely this was an aberration. Because America has the most guns, multiple-victim public shootings are an American thing, right? No, not at all. Contrary to public perception, Western Europe, most of whose countries have much tougher gun laws than the United States, has experienced many of the worst multiple-victim public shootings. Particularly telling, all the multiple-victim public shootings in Western Europe have occurred in places where civilians are not permitted to carry guns. The same is true in the United States: All the public shootings in which more than three people have been killed have occurred in places where civilians may not legally bring guns.

Look at recent history. Where have the worst K–12 school shootings occurred? Nearly all of them in Europe. The very worst one occurred in a high school in Erfurt, Germany, in 2002, where 18 were killed. The second-worst took place in Dunblane, Scotland, in 1996, where 16 kindergartners and their teacher were killed. The third-worst, with 15 dead, happened in Winnenden, Germany. The fourth-worst was in the U.S. — Columbine High School in 1999, leaving 13 dead. The fifth-worst, with eleven murdered, occurred in Emsdetten, Germany.

It may be a surprise to those who believe in gun control that Germany was home to three of the five worst attacks. Though not quite as tight as the U.K.’s regulations, Germany’s gun-control laws are some of the most restrictive in Europe. German gun licenses are valid for only three years, and to obtain one, the person must demonstrate such hard-to-define characteristics as trustworthiness, and must also convince authorities that he needs a gun. This is on top of prohibitions on gun ownership for those with mental disorders, drug or alcohol addictions, violent or aggressive tendencies, or felony convictions.

The phenomenon is not limited to school attacks. Multiple-victim public shootings in general appear to be at least as common in Western Europe as they are here. The following is a partial list of attacks since 2001. As mentioned, all of them occurred in gun-free zones — places where guns in the hands of civilians are outlawed.

He then lists about two dozen incidents – all occurring in gun free zones.

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Do gun-free zones prevent incidents like the Colorado theater shooting?

Do criminals about to do a mass shooting care about signs?

Do criminals about to do a mass shooting care about signs?

(Thanks to TM for the image)

In light of the shooting at the Colorado theater, which is apparently a gun-free zone, I want to review why I think that gun-free zones should be renamed slaughterhouse zones.

Here’s Dr. John R. Lott to make the case.

Excerpt:

It wasn’t supposed to happen in England, with its very strict gun-control laws. And yet last week, Derrick Bird shot twelve people to death and wounded eleven others in the northwestern county of Cumbria. A headline in the London Times read: “Toughest laws in the world could not stop Cumbria tragedy.”

But surely this was an aberration. Because America has the most guns, multiple-victim public shootings are an American thing, right? No, not at all. Contrary to public perception, Western Europe, most of whose countries have much tougher gun laws than the United States, has experienced many of the worst multiple-victim public shootings. Particularly telling, all the multiple-victim public shootings in Western Europe have occurred in places where civilians are not permitted to carry guns. The same is true in the United States: All the public shootings in which more than three people have been killed have occurred in places where civilians may not legally bring guns.

Look at recent history. Where have the worst K–12 school shootings occurred? Nearly all of them in Europe. The very worst one occurred in a high school in Erfurt, Germany, in 2002, where 18 were killed. The second-worst took place in Dunblane, Scotland, in 1996, where 16 kindergartners and their teacher were killed. The third-worst, with 15 dead, happened in Winnenden, Germany. The fourth-worst was in the U.S. — Columbine High School in 1999, leaving 13 dead. The fifth-worst, with eleven murdered, occurred in Emsdetten, Germany.

It may be a surprise to those who believe in gun control that Germany was home to three of the five worst attacks. Though not quite as tight as the U.K.’s regulations, Germany’s gun-control laws are some of the most restrictive in Europe. German gun licenses are valid for only three years, and to obtain one, the person must demonstrate such hard-to-define characteristics as trustworthiness, and must also convince authorities that he needs a gun. This is on top of prohibitions on gun ownership for those with mental disorders, drug or alcohol addictions, violent or aggressive tendencies, or felony convictions.

The phenomenon is not limited to school attacks. Multiple-victim public shootings in general appear to be at least as common in Western Europe as they are here. The following is a partial list of attacks since 2001. As mentioned, all of them occurred in gun-free zones — places where guns in the hands of civilians are outlawed.

He then lists about two dozen incidents – all occurring in gun free zones.

Related posts

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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