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Mass shootingsFive things to know about mass shootings in America

By Frederic Lemieux

Published 21 May 2018

At least 10 students were killed at a Santa Fe, Texas high school on May 18 after a classmate opened fire with a shotgun and a .38 revolver. The shooting came just three months after another teen shooter killed 17 in Parkland, Florida, sparking nationwide youth-led protests over gun violence – and a familiar debate over what changes could really make a difference. As a criminologist, I often hear misconceptions creeping into the debate that springs up whenever a mass shooting occurs.  Here’s what the research actually shows.

At least 10 students were killed at a Santa Fe, Texas high school on May 18 after a classmate opened fire with a shotgun and a .38 revolver.

The shooting came just three months after another teen shooter killed 17 in Parkland, Florida, sparking nationwide youth-led protests over gun violence – and a familiar debate over what changes could really make a difference.

As a criminologist, I often hear misconceptions creeping into the debate that springs up whenever a mass shooting occurs.

Here’s what the research actually shows.

#1: More guns don’t make you safer
A study I conducted on mass shootings indicated that this phenomenon is not limited to the United States.

Mass shootings also took place in 25 other wealthy nations between 1983 and 2013, but the number of mass shootings in the United States far surpasses that of any other country included in the study during the same period of time.

The U.S. had 78 mass shootings during that 30-year period.

The highest number of mass shootings experienced outside the United States was in Germany – where seven shootings occurred.

In the other 24 industrialized countries taken together, 41 mass shootings took place.

In other words, the U.S. had nearly double the number of mass shootings than all other 24 countries combined in the same 30-year period.

Another significant finding is that mass shootings and gun ownership rates are highly correlated. The higher the gun ownership rate, the more a country is susceptible to experiencing mass shooting incidents. This association remains high even when the United States is withdrawn from the analysis.

Similar results have been found by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which states that countries with higher levels of firearm ownership also have higher firearm homicide rates.