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.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.