Researcher Adam Lankford claims 31 percent of the world’s mass shootings occur in the U.S. but John Lott’s Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) says the actual U.S. percentage is “over 95 percent” lower than Lankford suggested.
Lankford’s study looked at 1966 to 2012, and found 90 mass shootings in the U.S. during that time frame, and 202 throughout the rest of the world. While the findings of 90 mass shootings over a period of 46 years represent a stark rebuttal to the myriad leftists claiming 300-plus mass shootings a year in the U.S., CPRC is convinced Lankford’s figure on mass shootings throughout the rest of the world is way too low.
CPRC reports that when they looked at mass shootings around the world during a 15-year window of time within Lankford’s overall study period, they discovered “1,448 attacks and at least 3,081 shooters outside the United States.” In other words, they found “at least fifteen times more mass public shooters than Lankford in less than a third the number of years.”
Lankford claims to have “complete” data on such shooters in 171 countries. However, because he has neither identified the cases nor their location nor even a complete description on how he put the cases together, it is impossible to replicate his findings.
It is particularly important that Lankford share his data because of the extreme difficulty in finding mass shooting cases in remote parts of the world going back to 1966. Lack of media coverage could easily lead to under-counting of foreign mass shootings, which would falsely lead to the conclusion that the U.S. has such a large share.
Professor Carl Moody, College of William & Mary offered the following:
The assertion that the US is responsible for 31 percent of worldwide mass shooters is patently absurd. Anyone who doubts the veracity of Dr. Lott’s analysis is welcome to download, for free and in Excel format, the entire Global Terrorism Database. (https://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/contact/). There they will find, with a simple back of the envelope calculation, that worldwide since 1970 there have been 58,445 mass firearm attacks. Of these, 402 have occurred in the United States. The US is, according to the Global Terrorism Database, responsible for less than one percent of all mass shootings (0.69 percent) since 1970. Dr. Lott’s calculations are much more carefully done, but Professor Lankford’s analysis is clearly not in the ballpark. Also, social scientists seldom have laboratories. Replication is the only way to verify claims. Any academic who refuses to share his or her data for replication purposes deserves to be shunned.
CPRC is pressing this issue both because they want accuracy in research and because Lankford’s claim that 31 percent of the world’s mass shootings occurred in the U.S. is being used as an argument against gun ownership.
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets with AWR Hawkins, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at email@example.com. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.