New research on mass shootings shows no increase in frequency, assault weapon use rare

The report contends that so called assault rifles are rarely used in mass shootings in the US.

The report contends that so called assault rifles are rarely used in mass shootings in the US.

A recently completed study at Northeastern University finds that many of the ‘facts’ circulated by gun control groups about mass shootings in the US are far from it. In fact, the study contends that mass murders rarely use ‘assault weapons,’  cannot be prevented with background checks and gun bans, and that the rates of these shootings as well as their toll is not increasing.

The 22-page study, entitled  Mass Shootings in America: Moving Beyond Newtown was compiled by criminology professor James Alan Fox and Monica J. DeLateur. In the study, the two smash a number of gun myths through hard statistical work. Without taking funds from either side in the argument, the work is impartial.

Addressing the popular myth that mass murderers ‘snap and kill indiscriminately’, the study contends that many recent events are very carefully planned out far in advance. Further, instead of being without motivation, five specific causes are mentioned with revenge being ‘by far, the most commonplace’.

Professor Fox, one of the report's authors is described as “arguably the nation’s foremost criminologist." Photo Credit Northwestern University

Professor Fox, one of the report’s authors has been described as “arguably the nation’s foremost criminologist.” (Photo credit: Northeaster University)

“Mass murderers often see themselves as victims—victims of injustice (They seek payback for what they perceive to be unfair treatment by targeting those they hold responsible for their misfortunes.” The study elaborates.

Tackling the subject of violent video games being linked to mass murders in recent years, the study brings into question the fact of whether these individuals were drawn to the game or abandoned to it by an ever-weaker fabric in today’s family structure.

“To the extent that youngsters spend endless hours being entertained by violence says more about the lack of parental supervision and control. It isn’t that the entertainment media are so powerful; it is that our other institutions—family, school, religion, and neighborhood—have grown weaker with respect to socializing children.”

With attention both nationwide and in states like New York and Colorado being placed on extensive and increased background checks, Fox and DeLateur’s findings contend that “Most mass murderers do not have criminal records or a history of psychiatric hospitalization.”

Further, on the subject of banning so-called assault weapons to prevent these shootings, the study concludes, “The overwhelming majority of mass murderers use firearms that would not be restricted by an assault weapons ban.” With just 14 of 93 mass shootings involving a firearm that used a magazine with a capacity of more than 10-rounds.

This revelation is corroborated by the Centers for Disease Control’s own previous study that found, “insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws reviewed for preventing violence.”

The study shows that the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994-2005 had little effect on the number of mass shootings per year.

The study shows that the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994-2005 had little effect on the number of mass shootings per year.

Countering the myth that mass shootings are on the rise, Fox’s research concludes that over the past several decades there has been an average  of about 20 of these events each year in the US. This has remained constant even though the crime rate has fallen over the same period. Even the contention that ‘body counts’ are growing is dissolved with the study noting that the Luby’s Restaurant murders in Killeen Texas and the San Sedro McDonald’s massacre, both with exceptionally high numbers of victims, took place in 1991 and 1984 respectively. Further, the worst incident of mass murder at a school took place in 1927.

“Without minimizing the pain and suffering of the hundreds of those who have been victimized in recent attacks, the facts clearly say that there has been no increase in mass shootings and certainly no epidemic.” In its closing, the study’s author states that these crimes may be inevitable concluding that, “..those who have suggested that their plan for change will ensure that a crime such as the Sandy Hook massacre will never reoccur will be bitterly disappointed.”

The full report can be found here (pdf)