Crime Research Prevention Center Gives Update Report on Mass Shootings for 2023

by Tommy Grant
crime scene

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Annually, Dr. John Lott at the Crime Research Prevention Center gives a report on updated statistics concerning so-called “mass shootings.” The data set that Lott used are statistics from 1998 to 2023. The FBI aggregates this information and annually releases it as the Uniform Crime Report. While getting to the bottom of the numbers is sometimes difficult, that’s because there are so-called “news sources” reporting on alleged mass shootings that do not fit the accepted definition by the government. On January 12, Lott released his findings.

When another shooting happens at a place such as a school or a mall, politicians and the media are apt to claim that many hundreds of mass shootings occur each year. “Over the last year since Uvalde, our country has experienced a staggering 650 mass shootings,” President Joe Biden claimed last year. After a shooting in Lewiston, Maine in late October, CNN said that there had already been “586 mass shootings” that year.

These statements give an incorrect impression that there are massacres every day, like the infamous 2022 Uvalde shooting, which claimed the lives of nineteen students and two teachers, or the one in Lewiston, which claimed eighteen lives. 

The numbers cited by Biden and CNN come from the Gun Violence Archive, which broadly defines mass shootings to include any case with four or more people shot or injured. The injuries could occur in the course of running away, and not from actually being shot. However, the GVA has also included cases with only three injured people (e.g., a July 22, 2023 attack at a residence at 10700 Rosehaven Dr, Houston, Texas.

Lott observed the same thing that several of our colleagues have observed, that the use of Gun Violence Archive’s data is not consistent with what’s the standard. Lott noted, “Traditionally, the FBI has classified ‘mass’ as four or more people being murdered. Academic studies have used a similar definition.”

One of the other problems with the data from GVA is that the information collected is based on news reports rather than police reports. Better yet, the FBI aggregates all the data from the law enforcement side of things and at this time we can look at those numbers to have some trustworthiness. We should not be leaning on conjecture through news reports.

Some high points in Lott’s report involve the statistics on demographics concerning those with veteran status or who have formerly sought mental health help. “From January 1st, 1998, to October 25th, 2023, 51% of mass murderers have seen mental health care professionals before their attacks.” The report noted. “In 2022, about 6% of the US were veterans, but almost 20% of mass public shooters were veterans.”

Other areas of interest involved the race of both perpetrators and victims in these events. Overwhelmingly, by the percentages, the majority of instances for both victims and perpetrators involved white individuals. 3.9% of all the shooters were female, the rest male.

The percentage of victims and shooters who are white are at the national average of the population, with only a deviation of +/- a percent in either instance. Whereas the report noted that “blacks are underrepresented as a share of the victims. Blacks comprise 16.7% of the murderers but only 9.9% of the victims. That 9.9% is less than their 13.6% of the general population.”

Most damaging of all to the anti-liberty movement are some of the final numbers that Lott’s report brought up. “Eighty-two percent of the attacks since 1998 and 94 percent since 1950 have occurred in places where guns are banned. For those who read these murderers’ diaries or manifestos, these numbers aren’t too surprising.”

The fact that disarmed persons make a better target does not get lost statically in California’s numbers. With The Golden State having some of the strictest gun laws in the Union, it also sees a higher number of mass shooting events than the national average, “Since 2000, California’s rate is 0.33 per million, and for the rest of the US, it was 0.25. Since 2010, California’s rate is 0.28 per million and 0.15 for the rest of the US. Since 2020, it has been 0.13 for California and 0.05 for the rest of the US.”

Lott’s look into these statistics is important work. If you get a chance, I’d recommend reading the whole thing in its entirety, as I’ve only scratched the surface. One of the takeaways here is that Lott continues to prove time and time again that more guns equals less crime. The number of mass shooting events in so-called “gun free zones” and the way California’s numbers look, it certainly does prove that being disarmed does not help. To read all of Lott’s findings, head over to the Crime Research Prevention Center and check out “Updated information on Mass Public Shootings from 1998 through October 2023.”

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