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Gun fictions

| Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

A new study by Northeastern University researchers of mass-murder trends shakes up a slew of liberal shibboleths regarding guns, background checks and the frequency of attacks. Indeed, findings by James Alan Fox, a criminologist, and graduate student Monica J. DeLateur tear asunder the “solutions” of anti-gun zealots.

That begins with the myth that mass murders (defined by the FBI as a single incident that claims four or more lives) are on the rise. They are not.

Writing in the journal Homicide Studies, the authors, using FBI statistics, report that the number of mass shootings has remained unchanged from 1976 to 2011, averaging about 20 annually. Among other dispelled myths:

• Criminal background checks are ineffective because most mass murderers didn't have criminal records or a history of psychiatric hospitalizations.

• Violent video games do not necessarily promote gun violence, according to social science researchers.

• Handguns, rather than so-called “assault weapons,” are typically used (47.9 percent versus 24.6 percent) in mass shootings. Moreover, the 1994 federal assault weapon ban had no measurable effect on mass shootings.

So, how much freedom should Americans relinquish to achieve the government's “sense” of security? Sadly in too many generalizations about guns, critical thinking has been displaced by baseless assumption.

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