UPDATED: France suffered more casualties (murders and injuries) from mass public shootings in 2015 than the US has suffered during Obama’s entire presidency (UPDATED 532 to 396)

8 Jan , 2016  

Obama press conference in Paris

“But we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency. It doesn’t happen in other advanced countries. It’s not even close. And as I’ve said before, somehow we’ve become numb to it and we start thinking that this is normal.” –President Obama, announcing his new executive orders on guns, January 7, 2016

“The one thing we do know is that we have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world.  And there’s some steps we could take, not to eliminate every one of these mass shootings, but to improve the odds that they don’t happen as frequently.” –President Obama, interview that aired on CBS Evening News, Dec. 2, 2015

“With respect to Planned Parenthood, obviously, my heart goes out to the families of those impacted. … I say this every time we’ve got one of these mass shootings: This just doesn’t happen in other countries.” –Obama, news conference at COP21 climate conference in Paris, Dec. 1, 2015

“We are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months.” –Obama, statement on shootings at Umpqua Community College, Roseburg, Ore., Oct. 1, 2015

“You don’t see murder on this kind of scale, with this kind of frequency, in any other advanced nation on Earth.” –Obama, speech at U.S. Conference of Mayors, June 19, 2015

“At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And it is in our power to do something about it.” –Obama, statement on the shooting in Charleston, S.C., June 18, 2015

Yet, despite the impression that President Obama has been creating, France suffered more casualties (murders and injuries) from mass public shootings in 2015 than the US has suffered during Obama’s entire presidency (Updated 532 to 396).  Note that these numbers don’t adjust for the fact that the US has 4.98 times the population of France.  The per capita rate of casualties in France is thus 8.19 per million and for the US it is 1.22 — France’s per capita rate of casualties is thus 6.68 times higher than the rate in the US.

A systematic look at mass public shootings from the US and Europe is available here.

UPDATE: The number of people injured in the California attack was raised from 17 to 21, thus increasing the US causality total to 396.  The number of people injured in the Paris attacks on November 13th has also been increased from 352 to 368 and the number of people killed by one from 129 to 130 so the total casualties for Paris alone is now 525.

UPDATE: February 4, 2016.  If only by excellent police work and some luck, last November Paris was literally just three days away from several more mass public shootings planned for a nursery school, a shopping mall, and a police station.

Please click on screenshots to enlarge. UPDATED

US MPS 2009 through 2015

France MPS 2009 to 2015


51 Responses

  1. Bartosh Rudnicki says:

    It looks like there’s at least one shooting missing on your list.

    2015, Four people have been killed in a shootout at a Roma camp in north-eastern France: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34056268

  2. Jay Hafemeister says:

    There must a definitional difference somewhere. The lefty media and gun control groups (sorry for being redundant) are touting more than 300 mass shootings just this year.
    Could you please explain the difference in your numbers and theirs?


    • Tom says:

      Jay, those numbers are based on (I wish I was kidding but I’m not) a Reddit group that uses a broad non-standard definition of “mass shooting”. Specifically, the Reddit group includes incidents with no fatalities and at least four injuries (including the shooter) while the FBI definition includes only incidents in which at least four people are killed. This research appears to use the FBI definition.

    • TimG says:

      There is a difference in definition for US figures. I think the figures above come from the official FBI list which requires 4 killed or more to make the grade. The MSM is using a Reddit list where no one killed can make the list.

    • Drew says:

      The huge number that the liberal media is claiming came from a count that came from a reddit group. By definition a mass shooting is a shooting that has more than 4 fatalities. The number of actual mass shootings in the U.S. is much much smaller than 300.

  3. eric. says:

    Their numbers are so high because they include incidents like two kids playing with abb gun and no serious injuries.

    They also don’t list locations…like gun free paradise Chicago and dc.

  4. Jay Hafemeister says:

    Never mind. An editor from Mother Jones answered that for me in The New York Times.

    Now when somebody challenges your stats as being the product of right wing NRA propaganda, I can point them to The New York Times.


  5. Derek says:

    Thank you for another great article to counter all the ant-gun hysteria & hyperbole in the mass media. Even VOA has contributed to the false information about mass shootings:


    You may want to leave a comment.

  6. QB says:

    Yet again, another post that provides no useful information. Still struggling with the definition of the word “frequency”?

  7. QB says:

    Thank you Dr. Lott! Because of your hard work, ISIS can continue shooting US citizens as they wish and catch up on the body counts to those found in European countries (sic). We just learned that Tashfeen Malik pledged allegiance with ISIS. It won’t be difficult for others to get access to firearms continue their work.

  8. Mark says:

    1: There is no source listed for these spreadsheets.

    2: The number of “mass shootings” used by Mother Jones is very specifically defined and limited to mostly single shooters in a single location. That would eliminate Hebdo and the November attacks from the comparison. http://www.motherjones.com/politi…/2012/…/mass-shootings-maphttp://www.motherjones.com/politi…/2012/…/mass-shootings-map

    Hebdo and November were clearly complex, planned, rehearsed attacks requiring international support, financing , and coordination. Part of the plan had to include the acquisition of the weapons and the making of bombs. It is patently ridiculous to compare that to guys grabbing whatever legal military-grade weaponry they had lying around the house.

    Excluding Charlie Hebdo and the recent Paris attacks, in France there was (according to whatever mystery source(s) you are using) one incident this year with 4 fatalities. There are a total of 5 incidents since 2001 and NONE between ’02 and ’09 . There were a grand total of 20 fatalities from 2001 to the time you printed this article. Further, the “other” incident this year, the grocery store would probably not fit the definition either. Coulibaly was acting on instructions, possibly from the same support group as the Hebdo attacks. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/paris-kosher-supermarket-attack-amedy-coulibaly-received-emailed-instructions-1523850. As a side note, he also killed a police woman earlier. The nursery school incident had no fatalities, so that doesn’t fit the definition either.

    So if, in the interest of statistical accuracy of comparing similar incidents – which I am sure since you are a “research center” is a top concern – you eliminate those 2, assuming the other 3 incidents are comparable, here is what you get, beginning in 2001 (the beginning of W Bush’s presidency):
    An average of 1 incident every 56 months
    An average of 5.33 fatalities and .33 injuries per incident
    A total of 16 fatalities and 10 injuries
    Fewer total “casualties” in 14 years than occurred Wednesday.

    Questions for further “research”: What kinds of weapons were used in those 3 French incidents? Were they obtained legally?

    Now, what was the point you were trying to make?

    • Mark says:

      Also, your spreadsheets are comparing France since 2001 vs the US since 2009.
      US 2001-2014 vs France 2001-2014.
      40 incidents
      Casualties: 547
      Source: Mother Jones database

      3 incidents
      Casualties: 26 casulaties
      Source: Crime Prevention Research Center

      US Casualties 21x French casualties
      US Population 5x French population

      Context matters.

    • Mark says:

      To clarify my first statement:
      “An average of 1 incident every 56 months
      An average of 5.33 fatalities and .33 injuries per incident
      A total of 16 fatalities and 10 injuries”

      That is actually misleading, since none of the three 2015 incidents meets the definition used by Mother Jones, there is only data including 2001 through 2012. That makes it 3 incidents in 12 years, with 9+ year period of none.

  9. Sarah Palin says:

    Talk about picking and choosing data. John Lott won’t stop with the lies.

  10. Juan Suarez says:

    So according to the data here in this article, the US really does have a more frequent ‘mass shooting’ rate (“every few months” seems to be about right). France has had very few, but very devastating events, concentrated this year.

    I did a (not-so-quick) search on the motives for all of the US shootings, and the biggest 3 recurring motives are ‘race’ (either lashing out at perceived racism or hatred, as was the case in the Sikh temple shooting), domestic issues (ex: relationship/family problems), and mental issues (schizophrenia/short-fuse rage/self-proclaimed obsession with killing from an early age). Only the most recent event at San Bernardino was related to a terrorist organization, and even then, it’s been said they were self-radicalized (the woman pledging her allegiance to ISIS, though not a direct operative). The 2015 Chattanooga shootings were the only other US shootings listed here related to terrorism, and also reportedly self-radicalized. In France, this is akin to self-radicalized Amedy Coulibaly, who also similarly pledged his allegiance to ISIS before the Grocery Store attacks.

    The France shootings are, by far, the most devastating. But why?

    I researched into the French shootings listed here: 3 were related directly with terrorists (ranging from Al-Qaeda in Yemen to ISIS/Daesh), with one being a racially motivated attack (2012 was an antisemitic attack).

    I’ve seen this article cited to be all “Look how wrong Obama is!” but to claim that is grabbing facts to tell unrelated stories. If we omit the events directly caused by external terrorists (that makes… well, the November attacks in France and the Charlie Hebdo shootings – San Bernardino is ‘internal’ but if you’d like to treat it as though it were directly ISIS related, omit that too), how do the numbers change? For those committed internally (disgruntled employees, racial violence, domestic issues with huge collateral damage), the numbers stagger heavily towards the US. Actually, the entire political statement of this article “France suffered more casualties (murders and injuries) from mass public shootings in 2015 than the US has suffered during Obama’s entire presidency” relies ENTIRELY on the November attacks in France.

    Thanks for posting at least some factual information though – most of the dates corroborate with what I found when looking up the motives (some of them happened over the course of a few days and I see you picked the average for those).

    I actually looked up the shootings one by one and gathered the publicly-released motives in my own spreadsheet. I even found names and motives for some of the French shootings that weren’t listed: 2001 Jean-Pierre Roux-Durrafourt, 2002 Richard Durn.

    So again, thanks for the facts; I’m just disappointed they were used for such a weak political argument as this rather than proposing some kind of … crime prevention statement.

    ex: Most of the school shootings were done by fairly young people with killing obsessions or who have gone through some traumatic family/relationship event and decided they wanted to die, but taking some friends with them. Maybe this can be prevented by finding ways to teach respect of life and how to cope with heavy events to people at a young age, etc. (Just some throwaway idea).

    Then again, if you only look at # casualties rather than motives, you can’t possibly get anything useful from that except for the ability to say “look, more injuries! numbers!” There are way more factors to consider with the numbers anyway, especially for outlier events like terrorist attacks – like how ready were the police before they were able to stop any injuries from happening, how crowded were the areas that were hit? etc.

    • QB says:

      Well, basically Lott is saying that a highway where a bus happened to have crashed with 30 casualties is more dangerous than a highway that experienced 30 crashes with one casualty each ceteris paribus (same exposure, length, time period, etc.). He should try to have this kind of work published in peer-reviewed journals and see where it goes.

      • Chris Bennett says:

        I disagree.

        What he is saying is that Obama has said: “My highway has had 30 bus crashes and no-one else’s highways are having bus crashes at all.”

        This is simply disproving Obama’s statement as factually incorrect in a fairly dramatic fashion.

        • Joe says:

          But it’s silly. You can’t just ignore all non-mass-shooting gun violence – people talk about how you shouldn’t relate gangs shooting each other to a nutjob walking into a theatre with a machine gun, but neither of those things would happen in the UK at all.

          It’s just statistical accounting, having a narrower set of guidelines where mass shootings are only where 4 or more people have been killed is misleading, because it doesn’t take into account all the other violence which European countries don’t have.

          And let’s be honest, France 2015 was targeted by terrorists repeatedly, it’s not really the same situation

        • QB says:

          As Joe said, this is silly. Look up the definition of frequency.

  11. me says:

    Unsurprisingly the statistics are very selective.

    And downright wrong
    Many were victims of bombings in the Paris 130 dead

    likewise the 368 injuries were not all gun related, the bombings, minor injuries like falls, grazes mental trauma, hypothermia was common , even a heart attack are considered in the statistics.

    In other words your real statistics facts
    190 People died in the US (All by Guns!)
    and France 150 Died (not all by guns)

    This also is very specific to limit the ridiculous death toll in US for 1 2 or 3 person fatality events that you’ve deliberately excluded as not be mass shootings

    Since including all gun deaths isn’t about crime prevention is it?

  12. Vincent Goossens says:

    Well, yes, because most US shootings are badly planned. Last time an attack on the US was coordinated as well as the Paris attack, 3000 people died. Remember this was a densely packed nightclub and all casualties ware made before the police heard about it. No gun laws could have prevented casualties in Paris, but they do reduce the number of random shootings drastically.

  13. Greg says:

    This is just wrong and manipulated on so many levels

    Firstly you use two of the worst terror attack in Europe for a decade to try and compare domestic, civilian mass shootings.

    Shootings from terrorist attacks are not caused by gun law management. Virtually all the deaths in mass US shootings have no links to terror related motives and could have been potentially stopped with different gun laws. Discounting terror attacks on both sides leaves 12 dead for France and 185 for the USA

    Secondly, show me the stats for the following countries:

    Czech Republic
    New Zealand

    Let’s start with them. Are any of them anywhere near above you per head? So we can stop discussing anomalies and get back to the vast reality for the developed world?

    Please don’t start to counter my argument until you post stats for all the above countries listed.

  14. Daniel Norton says:

    Reading all of the comments , I was reminded of my Statistics 101 class in college (1960’s). The first reading assignment was:” How to lie with statistics ” William Foote White.

    • johnrlott says:

      The point of this post was to evaluate President Obama’s quote at the beginning of the post. If you could be specific about your comment on these other comments, it would be appreciated.

      • Chris says:

        Obama clearly used the word “frequency” in the quote you cited. Your stats do not show a higher frequency of mass shootings in France.

        • johnrlott says:

          Our second table shows the frequency of mass public shootings across countries. In that rating, France is 11th during Obama’s presidency and the US is 12th. Note last year, despite France having 1/5th the population of the US, they had the same number of mass public shootings as the US. So explain again to me how “It’s not even close” in other countries.

          • QB says:

            You still don’t understand the difference between frequency (events/unit of time) and rate (events/unit of time/exposure). Chris and Obama are right and you are wrong. Furthermore, the relationship between shootings and exposure (i.e., population) is nonlinear. Hence, even using a rate is wrong for comparison purposes.

  15. […] said this repeatedly, and repeatedly been told, even by reliable anti-gun sources that it is false. France suffered more deaths and injuries from mass shootings in the past year than the U.S. has duri…That doesn’t diminish the importance of finding, if possible, effective policies to reduce […]

  16. […] So much of these two opposing Americas come down to a simple question: What’s worse, being killed by a terrorist or being killed by a mass shooter? The left insists all this terrorism talk is just fearmongering that vilifies Muslims. The right insists all this gun-control talk is just fearmongering that vilifies guns. The odds of either thing happening to you or anyone you know are negligible. Even if you were working in Manhattan on 9/11 the odds of you dying were a fraction of a percent. Mass shootings are even rarer, with only a handful of people dying every year. In fact, France suffered more terror casualties in one year than America had mass-shooting casualties over Obama’s entire presidency. […]

  17. Steve says:

    So by the numbers, there were actually less fatalities in france than in the US. Extrapolating on the data the answer is clear. The french are piss poor shots. Good thing they invite all those nice muslim folks in to improve their accuracy numbers. Or should I say zirs? I forget what pronoun france likes to be called.

  18. […] so high because they include incidents like two kids playing with abb gun and no serious injuries. [34] During the time the gun debate has stayed locked in a stalemate in the United States, so much has […]

  19. Poupou007 says:

    It’s funny to read this article and american reactions.
    u know there is a difference between USA and France.

    In 2015
    USA Number of homicides. 34,200
    France 378

    That’s all

  20. ALLAHU AKBAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. URL says:

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More: crimeresearch.org/2016/01/france-suffered-more-casualties-murders-and-injuries-from-mass-public-shootings-in-2015-than-the-us-has-suffered-during-obamas-entire-presidency-508-to-424-2/ […]

  22. Quora says:

    How many more mass shootings must the United States endure before they change their views of guns?

    I suspect you ask a question, not really wishing to hear the real answer…to which I see there are many such responses already. Need I repeat that with mass shootings the issue is not just the guns….there are issues in general with our greatly divid…

  23. DJ Hilton says:

    There’s no information to indicate France has a worse gun crime problem than the US except a very deadly yet very easy to repeat terrorist attack. On the other hand, there are many, many mass shootings in the US with “only” 4-5 victims that seem to have been overlooked.

  24. […] clear and obvious answer. After all, it certainly works in France… D'oh! Ziggy argument=Fallacy UPDATED: France suffered more casualties (murders and injuries) from mass public shootings in 2015 t… __________________ 2009 Cayman PDK With a few […]

  25. freerigr says:

    You’re missing an awful lot of incidents on your list.

    Here’s a good website to peruse: http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/reports/mass-shooting
    I counted 83 incidents with 4+ being killed since they started recording mass shootings in 2012. There’s a lot more with less kills and plenty of injuries.

    I also notice you neglected to draw attention to the fact that the Paris terrorist attack aside, France only had 28 people killed in 6 years.
    And the Paris attack is like 9/11: It’s a statistical anomaly that skews any statistics that include it quite strongly.

  26. Billyboy says:

    Do any of you statisticians know how many were shot in France by their own countrymen as a comparison of those in the US?
    A comparison of French on French as against American on American would put the point better.

  27. Joe says:

    http://crimeresearch.org/2016/01/france-suffered-more-casualties-murders-and-injuries-from-mass-public-shootings-in-2015-than-the-us-has-suffered-during-obamas-entire-presidency-508-to-424-2/ You should do just a little research before you claim things that are easily verified incorrect. Your agendas are more opaque than any politician today and you claim to be a neutral new source, but you’re just an agenda based spokesman like all the rest of the media today.

  28. tom Walton says:

    The article cherry picks one year, 2015 which includes the terrorist attack in Paris on November 13. It was not a typical year because of this attack and it is greatly misleading. Without that attack, there would have been 28 mass shooting deaths in France during the period 2009 to 2015. If the terrorist attacks are removed from the US data shown, we get 172 deaths.
    There are many web sites with differing data on mass shootings. Mother Jones excludes shootings where less than 4 people are killed, regardless of how many are wounded. The FBI uses the same death criteria. Mother Jones EXCLUDES armed robberies, shootings where there are more than one shooter, shootings that did not take place on private property. But it makes some exceptions to these criteria.

    The thesis of the Mother Jones study (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map} is to show that most mass shooters get their guns legally (if you exclude armed robbers who always use legally obtained, registered guns). This should raise alarm bells because it shows very convincingly that it is far too easy for crazy people to obtain fire arms and bring them to a public location.

    But what is disturbing to me is that the shootings where less than 4 people are killed, regardless of the number wounded, are not included in either the FBI stats or in the Mother Jones data. Is a shooting by someone with poor aim any less serious than a shooting by a marksman? Is a shooting in a crowded theater with lots of immobile targets more serious than a shooting in a public park. The mental health and gun control issues are the same.

    The gun manufacturers are doing what the tobacco industry and the asbestos industry did in years gone by and what creationists are doing now. They are telling lies based on misinterpretations of the data published by supposed authorities on the subject. They depend on the fact that no matter how outrageous the lie, there will be people who are dumb enough, weak minded enough, uncritical enough, paranoid enough or with sufficiently conflicted interests, to repeat these lies over and over again, often on radio and television or in the press. And if a lie is repeated often enough by enough people it becomes accepted as fact. The gun manufacturers control the NRA which provides a front for the pro-gun lobby. The struggle for gun control laws has nothing to do with freedom and the Second Amendment and everything to do with corporate profits. Like the tobacco industry, they don’t care that, when used as intended, their product kills and maims people. All they care about is profits. First they sell you a gun and then they sell you ammo.

    There is no constitutional right to keep and bear ammunition.

  29. […] yes, France did suffer more mass public shooting casualties in 2015 than in Obama’s term. Even if you include the recent terrorist attack in Orlando by a […]

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