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ArticlesEdit

LOTT, JOHN R. (2014)
The FBI's Misrepresentation of the Change in Mass Public Shootings; published at the Social Science Research Network.
DOI 10.2139/ssrn.2524731

Abstract

An FBI report released on September 16th, 2014 makes the assertion that active shooter attacks and deaths have increased dramatically since 2000 – both increasing at an annual rate of about 16 percent. As the headline in the Wall Street Journal stated: “Mass Shootings on the Rise, FBI says.”

But the FBI made a number of subtle and misleading decisions as well as outright errors. Once these biases and mistakes are fixed, the annual growth rate in homicides is cut in half. When a longer period of time is examined (1977 through the first half of 2014), deaths from Mass Public Shootings show only a slight, statistically insignificant, increase – an annual increase of less than one percent.

The FBI’s misleadingly includes cases that aren’t mass shootings – cases where no one or only one person was killed in a public place. While the FBI assures people that it “captured the vast majority of incidents falling within the search criteria,” their report missed 20 shootings where at least two people were killed in a public place. Most of these missing cases took place early on, biasing their results towards showing an increase.


LOTT, JOHN R. & LANDES, WILLIAM M. (2000)
Multiple Victim Public Shootings; published at the Social Science Research Network.
DOI 10.2139/ssrn.272929

Abstract

Few events obtain the same instant worldwide news coverage as multiple victim public shootings. These crimes allow us to study the alternative methods used to kill a large number of people (e.g., shootings versus bombings), marginal deterrence and the severity of the crime, substitutability of penalties, private versus public methods of deterrence and incapacitation, and whether attacks produce "copycats." The criminals who commit these crimes are also fairly unusual, recent evidence suggests that about half of these criminals have received a "formal diagnosis of mental illness, often schizophrenia." Yet, economists have not studied multiple victim shootings. Using data that extends until 1999 and includes the recent public school shootings, our results are surprising and dramatic. While arrest or conviction rates and the death penalty reduce "normal" murder rates and these attacks lead to new calls from more gun control, our results find that the only policy factor to have a consistently significant influence on multiple victim public shootings is the passage of concealed handgun laws. We explain why public shootings are more sensitive than other violent crimes to concealed handguns, why the laws reduce the number of shootings and have an even greater effect on their severity.


LOTT, JOHN R. & LANDES, WILLIAM M. (1999)
Multiple Victim Public Shootings, Bombings, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handgun Laws: Contrasting Private and Public Law Enforcement; published at the Social Science Research Network.
DOI 10.2139/ssrn.161637

Abstract

Few events obtain the same instant worldwide news coverage as multiple victim public shootings. These crimes allow us to study the alternative methods used to kill a large number of people (e.g., shootings versus bombings), marginal deterrence and the severity of the crime, substitutability of penalties, private versus public methods of deterrence and incapacitation, and whether attacks produce copycats. Yet, economists have not studied this phenomenon. Our results are surprising and dramatic. While arrest or conviction rates and the death penalty reduce normal murder rates, our results find that the only policy factor to influence multiple victim public shootings is the passage of concealed handgun laws. We explain why public shootings are more sensitive than other violent crimes to concealed handguns, why the laws reduce both the number of shootings as well as their severity, and why other penalties like executions have differential deterrent effects depending upon the type of murder.

BooksEdit

LOTT, JOHN R. (2003)
The Bias Against Guns; Regnery Publishing, Washington, D.C.
ISBN 9781596986695

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