Liberals point to the high rate of gun ownership in American to draw a correlation to the claim that the US has more mass shootings than anywhere else in the world.
But is it true that the US leads the world? Former President Obama said it, so it must be true.
Not according to John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, and Michael Weisser, a former history professor at Columbia University.
In a New York Post op-ed run this week, the men take apart a claim by criminologist Adam Lankford — often cited by the gun control crowd — that the U.S. had 31 percent of public mass shooters despite having less than 5 percent of the population.
“The one thing we do know is that we have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world,” President Barack Obama warned us. To justify this claim and many other similar quotes, Obama’s administration cited a then-unpublished paper by criminologist Adam Lankford.
“The whole episode should provide a cautionary tale of academic malpractice and how evidence is often cherry-picked and not questioned when it fits preconceived ideas,” the pair wrote.
They point out how limited data collection grossly affected the numbers and cited a report from the Crime Prevention Research Center using the same definition of mass public shootings used by Lankford.
Their analysis found that Lankford’s data grossly under-counted foreign attacks.
“Of the 86 countries where we have identified mass public shootings, the US ranks 56th per capita in its rate of attacks and 61st in mass public shooting murder rate. Norway, Finland, Switzerland and Russia all have at least 45 percent higher rates of murder from mass public shootings than the United States,” according to the op-ed.
In a related story, NPR recently reported that the U.S. Education Department claimed that in the 2015-2016 school year, “nearly 240 schools … reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting.”
However, when NPR contacted every school that was named, it found “that more than two-thirds of these reported incidents never happened.”
And we’re talking about a liberal news outlet.
With the help of Child Trends, a nonpartisan nonprofit research organization, NPR reported that they were able to confirm just 11 reported incidents.
“In 161 cases, schools or districts attested that no incident took place or couldn’t confirm one,” the article stated.
In the end, there appear to be serious manipulation of data coming from those who are motivated to restrict gun ownership — be it in the tabulation of incidents or counting a toy cap gun being fired on a school bus as a shooting.
As Lott and Weisser noted in their conclusion, “When Lankford’s data is revised, the relationship between gun ownership rates and mass public shooters disappears.”
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