Mass shooting expert: “It’s not a matter of opinion,” the United States’ "firearm ownership rate is the explanation for why we have far more public mass shooters"
Adam Lankford: "The United States is number one in the world in firearm ownership rate, number one in the world in public mass shooters"
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From the February 15 edition of MSNBC Live:
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KATY TUR (HOST): Adam, you’ve looked into this. Michael said there’s no real answer to this because each thing leads you down to a dead end. Talking about HIPPA privacies, civil rights, et cetera, the Second Amendment et cetera, but in your estimation, from doing all the studies you've done, is that realistic or is there something that we can do to mitigate this now?
ADAM LANKFORD (ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA): Well, to say there's no easy answer, I think, is accurate, but to say that we don't know what's to blame, what the culprit is here would not be accurate. So in my study I looked at more than 40 years of public mass shooters around the world. And I tried to explain why do some countries have more public mass shooters than other countries. I tested things like homicide rate, suicide rate, national wealth, urbanization, and also firearm ownership rate. And what the statistics clearly show -- it's not a matter of opinion, it's what the statistical tests show -- firearm ownership rate is the explanation for why we have far more public mass shooters than other countries.
TUR: That alone?
LANKFORD: Well, yeah. There may be other things that are difficult to quantify, so -- it's difficult to measure culture, and I was coding variables for 171 different countries. Some people think, researchers believe we're in the midst of a narcissism epidemic, that fame seeking, particularly among young people, is part of the problem. I think that's true, but in terms of what you can quantify, the United States is number one in the world in firearm ownership rate, number one in the world in public mass shooters. In fact, when I looked at school shooters and workplace shooters, we had 62 percent of attackers despite having only about 5 percent of the world's population. So we clearly have far more than our share.