Assault Weapon Deadliness

Mass Public Shooting Deaths and Woundings by Weapon Type - 1982 thru 2020-06-26.png

“Assault weapons must be banned because they are vastly more deadly!” (It is equally believable that this was said by Everytown, MSNBC, or the crazy homeless person on the corner… it is getting hard to tell the difference.) Are “assault weapons” inherently more dangerous that any other type of gun? I know ardent gunnies will go into deep discourse about the relative energy transfer potentials of sundry ammo types and rifle configurations. But thanks to the Gun Facts Mass Public Shooting database, we can make a quicker review. The High-Level Numbers NOTE #1: “Assault weapon” is a legislative term, not a technical one. There are a plethora of “assault weapons” laws that cover everything from handguns to hunting rifles to Lord Knows What. So we use the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons bill definition since it is the only one that covered all of the United States. NOTE #2: It is … Continue reading

Fame, Media and Mass Shootings

Why people shoot herds of innocent bystanders in bars, concerts, movie theaters and schools is an area of earnest interest to the Gun Facts project, and to other researchers. So acute  is this interest that the academic journal Criminology & Public Policy devoted their entire February issue to 16 new papers on the topic. The Gun Facts project hopes to read all of them, but we start with a tantalizing and slightly flawed item, Why have public mass shootings become more deadly? Assessing how perpetrators’ motives and methods have changed over time. Not criminology malpractice This certainly is not a John Hopkins style selection of anti-intellectual tripe composed (allegedly) by doctors pretending to be number nuts. No, this paper is rightful criminology research and the type that the Gun Facts project prefers – namely being devoid of statistical hocus pocus and instead a solid tally of bad tidings. In short, … Continue reading

Magazine Capacity Muckraking

Deaths in Mass Public Shootings by Magazine Capacity - 1998-2018

The capacity of a firearm magazine should not make anyone high. But given the hyperbole over “high capacity” magazines, I fear some politicians are positively stoned. Whenever there is a mad rush to legislation, accompanied by exaggerated sound bites, we at the Gun Facts project just have to take a closer look. Research is our drug of choice. Main Take-aways Magazine capacity is only applicable to mass shootings Mass shootings are rare events Magazine capacity is not the underlying factor in high death rates The number of people killed at mass shootings is a tiny fraction of homicides Legislative Limberness Exactly what is a “high” capacity magazine? It depends on who you ask. Ardent firearm enthusiasts consider a 30 round magazine commonplace and can cite meaningful usefulness for 100 round mags. Some gun control supporters believe anything over six is excessive. As with “assault weapons”, “high” capacity is in the … Continue reading

Impractically Useless

Crime Gun Acquisition by Source

Legislation that does nothing is almost as bad as legislation that overtly harms. It gives people the false notion that the government is doing something for their benefit, a common enough delusion. This is the basis for the recently proposed ‘‘Background Check Expansion Act,’’ which is the name for the Senate version of the “universal” or “comprehensive” background checks for firearm purchases and transfers. SIDE NOTE: At this writing the House version has not been filed. The Senate version is the least objectionable variation of such bills. A common legislative technique is to get one body to float a bill to which fewer people would object, let the public believe that is the stated plan, then introduce something more draconian in the other chamber after the public has generally consented to the lesser bill. At the Gun Facts project, we won’t take ideological sides, but we will see if the … Continue reading

Mass Shooting Cattle Pens

U.S. Mass Public Shootings Per Capita 1982 through 2016

“The rate of mass shootings per 100,000 population has gone DOWN by an extraordinary degree.” Though not a recurring pro-gun meme, this one was sent to the Gun Facts Project by someone from the pro-gun camp. It was an interesting claim, but incorrect. Investigating the claim then led us to dig and try to find underlying realities. Seriously, the Gun Facts researchers need to get a life. Mass Shootings Increase Mass shooting incidents and fatalities are on the increase (and highly covariant with reported adverse reactions to prescription psychotropic medications). When we adjust for the increasing U.S. population, we still see per capita increases in the number of instances as well as the number of fatalities and woundings. One thing jumped out at us from the initial charts, namely several outliers. Certain years showed dramatically large spikes. The most prominent of the spikes were the years of the Virginia Tech, … Continue reading

Meds and Mass Murder

GUNS AND CRIME - Psychotropic medications covariance with mass public shootings - 1999 through 2017

Is national consumption of brain candy contributory to mass public shootings? Looks like it might well be. Takeaways There exists covariant rise in the per capita number of adverse psychological reactions to prescription psychotropic medications and mass public shootings. The rate of adverse medication reactions may be low by an order of magnitude. Mental health and mass shootings The Gun Facts project previously reported on the association between mental health and mass public shootings. However, the review omitted one interesting issue – the contribution of pharmaceutical psychotropic medications. psychotropic: affecting mental activity, behavior, or perception We first became concerned with this topic after the Columbine Massacre. It was reported that one of the two assassins did a cold turkey withdraw from Luvox (an antidepressant) because a known side effect was rage. In other words, he wanted to be as amped-up as possible to commit mass murder. When we started looking … Continue reading

AR-15s: Mostly Harmless

AR-15 and Violence - infographic

The AR-15, allegedly the most popular consumer rifle in the United States, has become the poster child of the gun control industry. But from a homicide statistics standpoint, they are mostly harmless. Main Take-aways AR-15s constitute maybe 4% of all American firearms. AR-15s are used in 0.4% of firearm homicides, maximum. Just How Many AR-15s Are We Talking About? There is no doubt the AR-15 is a popular rifle. The firearm industry notes this. Users note this. Even the gun control industry notes this. Knowing how many are out there is crucial for understanding if they are a problem or not. The AR-15 has been around since 1959, but the last eight years has seen a significant increase in its popularity. And no wonder. The rifle is lightweight, meaning anyone can shoot it (YouTube has a bunch of videos of tiny young girls firing them). They don’t recoil much due … Continue reading

Good Guy with a Gun?

Much has been made in public discussion about a slogan popularized (though I doubt originally penned by) the National Rifle Association, namely: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Ignoring that no such absolute statement is true (e.g., “all politicians are criminals”), it is a good slogan to ponder. What is the efficacy of armed response to an attacker? We at the Gun Facts project have covered this question quite a bit on the Guns and Crime Prevention page, and there is no use going through all that again. But in terms of mass public shootings (MPSs), and we’ll include active shooter events (ASEs) in this tally as well, the situation has better clarity due to the fact there is an indisputable violent event happening. Many defensive gun uses (DGUs) may be against unarmed attackers or have a lower … Continue reading

Mental Health and Homicides

It is time to tap dance on landmines and begin the Gun Facts investigation of the intersection of mental health and gun violence. This will be an ongoing project, as it appears to be a determinant variable in mass homicides (and hence, mass shootings). Main Takeaways Three forms of mental impairment are tightly associated with spree and serial killers. 74% of mass shooters had some form of genetic or induced disorder. Deinstitutionalization has removed dangerous people from being closely monitored In-patient psychiatric care was replaced, in part, with psychotropic medications, some of which can amplify violent desires. Triggering the Investigation News reports too often detail that mass public shooters had prior histories of mental health issues. One need only look at some of the twenty-first century’s mass murderers (the rogues galley at right being a representative sample) and you can tell there is something fundamentally different and dangerous about them. … Continue reading

Pondering Parkland

Now that details of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida have emerged, we can begin to explore causes and potential cures (unlike members of the gun control industry who didn’t hesitate a moment before proffering legislation of dubious efficacy). In this article we review: The high-level notes about the event Mental health and its recurrence in such incidents Legal intervention failures – Parkland and Virginia Tech (VT) Mass shootings as a policy priority What to watch in the political arena Legislative options and realities The high-level notes about the event The shooter was autistic, as was the Sandy Hook shooter. He had regular behavioral problems to the point that his mother would sometimes call the police to come over and talk to him. He had been treated at a local mental health center and had been on medications He was in a degrading mental state. He had a set of … Continue reading