On Sunday, the day after five people were shot and killed at Colorado Springs’ Club Q, Newsmax pointed to misleading data and claimed there have been over 600 “mass shootings” in 2022.
The title of Newsmax’s November 20 article is “2022 on Record Pace With 601 Mass Shootings to Date.”
Newsmax arrived at this elevated number of mass shootings by relying on the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), which counts incidents in which there are “a minimum of four victims shot, either injured or killed, not including any shooter who may also have been killed or injured in the incident,” as “mass shootings.”
This GVA standard is a much lower threshold for qualifying incidents as “mass shootings” than has traditionally been used. In fact, it allows incidents in which there were no fatalities to be counted as “mass shootings.” It also allows gang incidents, drive-by shootings, and other common street crimes to be counted as “mass shootings.”
For example, an October 28, 2022, incident the GVA lists as a “mass shooting” took place at a funeral for a 20-year-old Pittsburgh man. There were no fatalities in the incident and police are not even sure how many gunman opened fire. Moreover, when police commander Richard Ford was asked if the violence was gang related he responded, “Obviously we believe there’s a dispute going on and we’re looking into that.”
So an incident in which there were no fatalities, and who knows how many shooters, in a location where police think a gang dispute is ongoing, is counted among “mass shootings” by the group on which Newsmax relied for data.
A similar situation occurred with numerous left-leaning celebrities and establishment media outlets in December 2015. At that time, it was in vogue to claim approximately 355 “mass shootings” for the year. But on December 3, 2015, Mother Jones editor Mark Follman corrected the record, noting there had actually been approximately four “mass shootings” in all of 2015 up to that point.
Follman explained that the inflated claims of “mass shootings” were the result of using lower thresholds to categorize incidents as mass shootings.
Writing The New York Times, Follman said:
At Mother Jones, where I work as an editor, we have compiled an in-depth open-source database covering more than three decades of public mass shootings. By our measure, there have been four “mass shootings” this year, including the one in San Bernardino, and at least 73 such attacks since 1982.
Follman was up against individuals and outlets that were relying on sources like Shooting Tracker, which says, “a mass shooting is when four or more people are shot in an event, or related series of events, likely without a cooling off period.” This allowed them to claim many more “mass shootings” than they would have claimed had they relied on the traditional FBI measure, which is four fatalities in one incident.
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News 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 and a Turning Point USA Ambassador. AWR Hawkins holds a PhD in Military History with a focus on the Vietnam War (brown water navy), U.S. Navy since Inception, the Civil War, and Early Modern Europe. Follow him on Instagram: @awr_hawkins. You can sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.