US becoming safer compared to Europe in both fatalities and frequency of Mass Public Shootings: US Now ranks 11th in fatalities and 12th in frequency

12 Jan , 2016  

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“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 (Emphasis added.)

This claim is simply not true.  Between January 2009 and December 2015, the period that President Obama has been in office, there are 11 European countries with a higher frequency of these mass public shootings than the US, and 10 European countries with a higher rate of deaths from these attacks.

Indeed, over that same period of time, the European Union (EU) suffered 303 deaths from mass public shootings, while the US had 199.  In terms of injuries from these attacks the gap was even much greater, with EU countries facing 680 versus just 197 for the US.  However, given the EU’s larger population, the per million people fatality rate for the US and the EU as a whole are virtually identical (0.62 for the US and 0.60 for the EU).  By contrast, the injury rate in the EU is much higher (0.61 for the US and 1.34 for the EU).

This past year was a particularly bad one for Europe, with 8 Mass Public Shootings versus only 4 for the United States.  Indeed, these 8 Mass Public Shootings for Europe in 2015 count for one-third of all their attacks over the entire seven year period of time.  These attacks have dramatically worsened the rankings for European countries in terms of both the rate fatalities and their frequency of attacks.  Compared to our last ranking of the US and Europe in June 2015, the US has dropped from 8th to 11th in terms of per capita fatalities from Mass Public Shootings and from 9th to 12th in terms of the frequency of these attacks.

Mass public shootings – defined as four or more people killed in a public place, and not in the course of committing another crime, and not involving struggles over sovereignty.  The focus on excluding shootings that do not involve other crimes (e.g., gang fights or robberies) has been used from the original research by Lott and Landes to more recently the FBI) from 2009 to December 31, 2015 (this matches the starting period for another recent study we did on US shootings and we chose that because that was the starting point that Bloomberg’s group had picked).  The cases were complied doing a news search.  The starting year was picked simply because it matched a report the time frame from a recent Bloomberg report and when we evaluated that report it was the last year we looked at Mass Public Shootings in the US starting in 2009.

Annual Death Rate from MPS Europe and US 2009 to 2015

Even if one puts it in terms of frequency, the president’s statement is still false, with the US ranking 12th compared to European countries.

Frequency of Mass Public Shootings in Europe and US 2009 to 2015

Click on tables to enlarge them.

EU and Europe MPS 2009 to 2015

US MPS 2009 through 2015

The CPRC has also collected data on the worst mass public shootings, those cases where at least 15 people were killed in the attack.

UPDATE: We limited our discussion to the Obama administration simply out of convenience and the difficulty in going through foreign language media.  Not all mass public shootings in foreign countries get news coverage in English papers.  Still some claim that Mass Public Shootings simply didn’t occur in Europe before 2009.  So here are some of the mass pubic shootings for four European countries from 2001 to 2008.  This list is not meant to be exhaustive for these four countries.

Zug, Switzerland, Sept. 27, 2001: A man whose lawsuits had been denied murdered 14 members of a cantonal parliament.

Tours, France, Oct. 29, 2001: Four people were killed and ten wounded when a French railway worker started shooting at a busy intersection.

Nanterre, France, March 27, 2002: A man killed eight city-council members after a council meeting.

Erfurt, Germany, April 26, 2002: A former student killed 18 at a secondary school.

Freising, Germany, Feb. 19, 2002: Three people killed and one wounded.

Emsdetten, Germany, Nov. 20, 2006: A former student murdered eleven people at a high school.

Tuusula, Finland, Nov. 7, 2007: Seven students and the principal killed at a high school.

Kauhajoki, Finland, Sept. 23, 2008: Ten people shot to death at a college.



40 Responses

  1. Chris Bennett says:

    Hi john

    I really think the conversation should be about mass public killings not shootings.

    If the definition is moved from shootings to killings it becomes more representative of the phenomenon. Why, for example, is the German pilot murder-suicide different (in principle) from that of, say Seung-Hui Cho at Virginia Tech? Does mass public shootings only take account of Anders Brevik’s shooting and not his simultaneous bombing attack?

    If mass public killings are not used, China’s mass public stabbings disappear from the conversation. China has very, very stringent weapon laws and when attacked, what do Chinese people do to protect themselves?

    Also, that bastion of alleged gun control success, Australia, gets away with various mass killings such as arson attacks etc.

    My point is that the big picture is being missed. I do believe that if the big picture is captured, it will actually support your point very strongly.

    • Bartosh Rudnicki says:

      “I really think the conversation should be about mass public killings not shootings”

      I agree completely.

    • Tom Campbell says:

      If we use mass public killings or casualties, it would still be well to try to identify the weapons or means used to emphasize the point that substitution works: there are lots of ways besides guns to hurt large numbers of people in a short time.

    • Sleepy Gardener says:

      Dead right dude. As an Aussie I am fucking embarrassed every time someone brings up our idiotic gun buyback as a great thing. It cost taxpayers money, police manhours, and halted the steady decrease in gun crime causing us to plateau for a few years. Oh and there is still a black market for guns and more than enough criminals arrested possesing multiple restricted firearms. Our own Prime minister had the effectiveness of the program studied and couldn’t demonstrate any positive effects (despite the fact that we for some idiotic reason include suicide and non fatal shootings in our gun homicide numbers). If you want to kill someone or many someones you will find a way.

  2. Tom Campbell says:

    If we use mass public killings or casualties, it would still be well to try to identify the weapons or means used to emphasize the point that substitution works: there are lots of ways besides guns to hurt large numbers of people in a short time.

  3. Jonny Darwood says:

    Am I missing something? None of the studies linked here seem to contain the source data for the tables. Where do they come from?

  4. William C. says:

    Obviously, the random choice to focus on a seven year period is debatable at least (why not 5? 2? 10?), but the general sloppiness of this data is cringeworthy:
    1) since when has Switzerland entered the EU?
    2) since when has Norway entered the EU?
    3) since when is “England” a country?
    4) why is a only shooting with at least 4 fatalities a “mass shooting”? If someone shoots 30 people and only two of them die, it somehow doesn’t qualify as “mass shooting”?
    5) if you exclude the two worst terrorist attacks on European mainland (Breivik in Norway and IS in Paris), you are only left with 140 victims in 7 years. Also, lots of victims in Paris died from suicide bombs, how is that a “shooting?

    • June says:

      I was thinking in Your direction & I appreciate your homework. I am beyond SAD that “excuses” & “studies ” control doing NOTHING about situation. I’d appreciate you reviewing the Aussie’s negative remarks about his own country.

  5. Magnus says:

    as someone not familiar with statistics, I have a few questions that maybe someone can help out with?

    1. Is it relevant that most of the countries ahead of the U.S. have only had one or two attacks in the seven years?

    2. Is it fair to say that the U.S. is becoming safer compared to Europe when all that has happened since the last study on this site was adding the hundreds of casualties from one attack in France?

    3. Would it be more or less relevant than the above method to look at casualty rates on a year by year basis? By my rough calculations (using the above data), the U.S. would rank second or third in five of the seven years, and fourth and fifth in the other two. Four other countries appear in the top three twice, all the others once or had no attacks. This obviously makes the U.S. look worse than the above method, but I don’t understand if it is more or less valid or just different?

    4. Perhaps related to the above, and also to my country of birth :), is it fair to use the above results to say that Norway is more dangerous for mass shootings than the U.S.? I know that’s what the numbers above suggest, but does anyone seriously believe that’s the reality?


    • Statistics Guy says:

      Hi Magnus,

      I am very familiar with statistics. It is how I make my living.

      Most of your questions relate to the fact that the US is a very large country being compared to a bunch of much smaller countries. Some are very small, others are just small compared to the US.

      Suppose –for the sake of argument — that mass shootings are about equally common in the US and Europe.

      In the US, one would expect a few shootings every year because it is very large.

      In a group of much smaller countries, some countries would have no shootings and some countries would have 1 or 2. Over time, these would average out but over short samples, a particular small country could look very safe or very dangerous, even though it is really no safer or more dangerous than other small countries or the large country.

      With this in mind, here are the answers to your questions.
      1. One would expect this because in a group of small countries, a few will have no shootings and a few will have 1 or 2 shootings. The ones with shootings will look dangerous.

      2. It is probably not fair to say that the “US is becoming safer relative to Europe,” but it is fair to say that “the US looks about as safe as Europe,” when we look at all the data, including data from the past year.

      3. No, it would not be more relevant to look at the casualty rates on a year by year basis. Because shootings are so rare, as one looks at smaller time intervals, there will a few very dangerous small countries and a few that look very safe, even though they are really no different.

      4. Norway is probably not more dangerous with respect to mass shootings than the US but it — and other European countries — are also probably no safer either.

      As I look at the numbers, it seems very likely to me that the US and Europe have similar rates of mass shootings, with the US looking perhaps marginally safer. The rankings that I see are consistent with this.

      I hope that helps, Magnus.

    • billo says:

      Here’s my answers, though I’m a forensic pathologist and not a statistician:

      1) I think the thing you have to think about is normalizing for population. If the US has a population of 319 million, and Norway has a population of 5 million, but the US has had 10 attacks and Norway has had only two, Norway still has the higher rate, because the US has 62 times the population.

      2) Yes, if by “safer” you mean “fewer people killed.” For instance, let’s say you had a policy you thought would be bad at preventing attacks but was good at decreasing the mortality of the attacks, such as, say, increasing concealed carry. So country A had 10 atttacks and 1000 fatalities because nobody could respond to the attack in a timely manner, while country B had 20 attacks and 10 fatalities because the attacks are aborted quickly. Country B is safer.

      3) Looking at things on a year by year basis would help with looking for trends. What you are really asking is whether or not just looking at one year — usually the most recent — is better. The answer depends on how noisy the data is. Since these things happen in cycles, one year is very susceptible to noise.

      4) Yes, it is the reality, probably. But it’s also a factor of population density. The same kind of thing happens when looking at rural versus urban populations in the US. The rural homicide rate is high in the US — much higher than seems intuitive. Is that because people out on the farm are out killing each other right and left? Not so much, it’s also because there are so few people out on the farm that each killing counts “more” in the relative sense. You see this also with articles that look at the “risk” of cancer with certain foods. If eating eggplant is associated with an increase in cancer risk from 0.0000000001 to 0.000000001, its a 10 times increase in risk! But it’s still very small in any real sense. In order to have a homicide rate of 5% in Norway, you have to kill 250,000 people. In order to have a homicide rate of 5% in the US, you have to kill almost 16 million.

    • KH says:

      Magnus, as another Norwegian, let me say that no, Norway is not safer than the U.S. especially when considering all the attacks that have been prevented in Norway (ask the police security service (PST) about that ).
      And yes it is fair to compare the U.S. with the whole of Europe. If you only compared year by year, then most small states in the U.S. can also claim to have few or mass shootings in any particular year. Thus, comparing equal-sized entities, many, if not most U.S. states can claim to be very safe, thus placing the U.S. as a whole in the middle, internationally.

    • buzzardist says:

      1. If it were one country with one attack ahead of the U.S., we could call this potentially a statistical fluke. With ten countries ahead of the U.S., it becomes clear that this is not a fluke, but a broader trend. A lot has to do with relative population sizes. With Norway, for example, we’re dealing with a population of 5 million, vs. 319 million in the U.S. One attack in ten years in Norway would be on par with nearly 64 attacks in the U.S. during the same period. But was that one Norway attack a random fluke, or is it statistically relevant as a trend? Based on Norway alone, it’s impossible to tell. But when we take Europe as a whole, we have a large enough population and frequent enough attacks that it becomes fair to compare trends.

      2. You’re attacking the headline, but not the substance of the article. I agree that “becoming safer” could be misleading. Is America becoming safer compared to America’s past with regard to mass public shootings? Or is Europe simply growing more dangerous with regard to mass public shootings? If “becoming safer” is equivalent to other places becoming more dangerous, then the phrasing is O.K. If not, then the headline is poorly written. Regardless, the data in the article is the same. I’m not sure what previous study on this site you’re referring to, but the addition of 8 attacks in Europe in 2015 is significant. Yes, the one very bad attack in France boosts fatality and injury rates, but attacks cannot be excluded simply because they happened to be especially bad.

      3. You could do this, but the statistical relevance goes down considerably when you do. Per my point above, many European countries are small. One attack in Norway is comparable to, adjusted for population, nearly 64 attacks in the U.S. One attack in France is equal to nearly five attacks in the U.S., given relative population sizes. Thus, yes, in any given year, there might be one, two, three, or four European countries ahead of the U.S. in mass shooting fatalities or injuries. But because the sample sizes for those European countries are comparatively so much smaller on a year-by-year basis, the statistical significance decreases. For any given year, it’s necessary to compare the U.S. with Europe as a whole to maintain statistical significance. Even then, these attacks are highly uncommon events, so plotting statistical trends is much more relevant when we deal with longer spans of time.

      4. It may be fair to say, or it may not. Is that one attack statistically relevant or not? If twenty more years pass and Norway has no more mass public shootings, while the U.S. continues to have about four per year, then Norway will steadily start to look safer than the U.S. Norway is so small in population that it is really hard to compare. What we really need are 64 Norways, and then we could see what percentage of them have attacks and what percentage don’t. This would let us make a more direct comparison with the U.S. But we don’t have 64 Norways. As such, it’s impossible to tell if that one attack was a random fluke that doesn’t represent Norway’s actual danger level, or a relevant data point that will reveal a significant trend over time. Give the data another 20 or 30 years, and it will become clearer.

      For now, the best we can do is to lump Norway in with other European countries to take a European average. Taken in context of broader trends in European countries, if Norway is consistent with the rest of Europe, then I’d say that Norway is probably about equally dangerous to the U.S. for mass public shootings.

      That said, mass public shootings remain exceedingly rare events. Statistically, it is highly unlikely that anyone in any country will ever personally face one of these attacks. If we see them becoming more and more frequent, then, yes, we should ask why. But it is often unwise to base public policy on exceedingly rare events, which is what politicians usually try to do in the wake of such attacks.

    • Kevin P. says:

      Magnus: A fair question, but if you leave out outliers even when they fit the reasonable criteria, then what are you left with?

      Norway is analogous to a single state in the US. If you leave out Norway, then you should also leave out Virginia Tech and its 2007 shooting.

    • Dyspeptic says:

      I’m not a statistician or a criminologist either Magnus but I will try to address your questions.
      1 – Yes it is relevant but not salient. The statistics sited above do include both frequency of mass public shootings and fatality rates.
      2 – The headline for this article does state the relevant facts even if they happen to involve relatively few events of large magnitude. The fact that the Paris attacks are an anomaly is true for mass public shootings in general, including in the U.S. Hyperbolic and dishonest media coverage gives the false impression that mass public shootings occur with much greater frequency than is actually the case in this country. Of course, it all depends on how you choose to define the term “mass public shooting”. 3 – I’m sure there is some relevance to observing year to year fluctuations in this phenomenon but for purposes of social science research and it’s relevance to public policy it seems that long term trends are more relevant than yearly fluctuations. Again, the relative infrequency of these events in general makes yearly comparisons somewhat misleading I think.
      4 – So far as I can tell the relevant standard for determining public safety with respect to mass public shootings involves primarily fatality rates but also frequency of incidents, both of which are accounted for here. If there is another standard please tell us what it might be.

      Finally, I think the purpose of this article is to prove that President Obama is wrong when he states falsely that mass public shootings are somehow unique to the United States and occur in no other “advanced” country. I suppose one could give him the benefit of the doubt and say he is simply uninformed, however he is a highly intelligent and well educated man with the best resources available to obtain the truth. Also he has a rather long and proven track record of lying when it suits his political agenda. Therefore I think it is most reasonable to conclude that Obama lies about mass public shootings to generate support for his illegal, unconstitutional and tyrannical executive orders on gun control.

      • Janet Walgren says:

        You nailed it. Our second amendment was intended to allow citizens the ability to protect ourselves from all enemies both foreign and domestic including our own government if necessary. The globalist want our guns because they can’t take away our sovereignty and liberty when we are armed.

    • Sam P says:

      Mass shooting killings are rare events. The main determinant whether you get on that first list is whether you had an incident or not. Since most European countries are pretty small (compared to behemoths like the US), most decades those small countries will have no incidents. Given the few incidents, personally I’d just compute per capita rates for the US and the EU as a whole, which are mentioned in the fourth paragraph. Really, that’s what ought to be in the headline for a neutral article. (“Fatalities due to mass shootings equal between US and EU, injuries lower in the US”)

      There is little point in computing rates for regions with as small a population as Norway–it’s all about having had one incident or not.

    • raynebc says:

      They were playing by the gun control lobby’s rules by selecting that date range. Framing statistics to get desired results can be done by anybody.

      • johnrlott says:

        The date range was Obama’s presidency and that was picked because of Obama’s claims about the rate of mass public shootings in the US virus other advanced countries. It seems only fair to make the comparison during his administration, though if he were more specific we could count other years. Given the desire to evaluate Obama’s comments, how else would you have done that? If you think that these years are unusual for Europe, you are wrong. Here are some of the incidents in four countries over the years 2001 to 2008.

        Zug, Switzerland, Sept. 27, 2001: A man whose lawsuits had been denied murdered 14 members of a cantonal parliament.
        Tours, France, Oct. 29, 2001: Four people were killed and ten wounded when a French railway worker started shooting at a busy intersection.
        Nanterre, France, March 27, 2002: A man killed eight city-council members after a council meeting.
        Erfurt, Germany, April 26, 2002: A former student killed 18 at a secondary school.
        Freising, Germany, Feb. 19, 2002: Three people killed and one wounded.
        Emsdetten, Germany, Nov. 20, 2006: A former student murdered eleven people at a high school.
        Tuusula, Finland, Nov. 7, 2007: Seven students and the principal killed at a high school.
        Kauhajoki, Finland, Sept. 23, 2008: Ten people shot to death at a college.

    • Steve S says:

      In the order of your questions:
      1) The 2nd chart addresses frequency of occurrences – and the US ranks even lower there than on the per-capita comparison in the first chart;
      2) Excluding the tragedies in France in 2015 would put France at #12, just behind Austria, and everyone above that would move up one place in the list. However, cherry-picking data does not demonstrate a conclusion – it demonstrates an agenda;
      3) The study range was chosen so that the data used across all countries covered the same period (see the 6th paragraph), to get apples-to-apples comparative data;
      4) The above data DO NOT say that one country is more or less dangerous than another country on the list. The above data deal ONLY with deaths from mass shootings, but do not deal with anything else (e.g. overall murder rates). The data only rank the death rates from mass shootings – nothing more. On the face of it, Norway has the highest death rate from mass shootings out of the 17 countries listed. Conclusions about the danger or safety of any of the countries are outside the scope of what is presented.

    • Neshobanakni says:

      The figures prove Norway to be more dangerous in this respect. Adjusting the stats for population size gives a much clearer picture.

    • Divemedic says:

      1. Yes, it is. Mass shootings are black swan events. A country of 300 million that has three shootings is statistically much safer than a country of 50 million that has one. This year, there were 46 states in the US that had no mass shootings. Keep in m

      2. There was more than just the one Paris attack. The past year saw eight shootings in the EU, and only four in the US.

      3. Most of these countries have populations that are less than the population of a single US city. This means that a single shooting makes a large difference. There are 8 years where a small country doesn’t have a single shooting, but only has a population of 5 million. (Finland) In totality, the countries listed (without counting Russia) have a population that is roughly the same as the US. If you look at it like that, the US has a lower frequency of events than all of Europe.

      4. Depends on where you live in the US. 33 states in the US didn’t have ANY mass shootings. So yes, they ARE safer than Norway from a mass shooting standpoint. Facts are facts.

    • Kevin says:

      Hi Magnus, hopefully I can help answer your questions. Regarding all of your questions, the simple answer is that it is up to you how the information is interpreted. The statistics may say that Norway is more dangerous for mass shootings than the US and statistically that is true. However, you may point to other variables that were not included and question the findings as there are always variables unaccounted for.

      Regarding your other questions, you would not want to have a year by year basis for this kind of study because the question is about severity and not about frequency. If we have a year by year basis, it will mislead the public (see the wage gap for more about how statistics can mislead the public). This can also answer your first question.

      Regarding your second question, it is up to you to decide whether the US is becoming safer than Europe. Statistically, it is true though.

      • Kevin says:

        I wanted to correct my comment as the wording on a part was poor.

        When I say it is not about frequency, I mean that it is not about annual frequency. You need to have a cumulative frequency in order for the statistics to not be misleading.

    • Cherie says:

      Magnus – your questions are quite valid. It is appalling that the data used is restricted to the number of deaths as opposed to frequency of shootings in public venues. Redefining what a “mass shooting” is doesn’t change the fact that the US has one identified mass shooting per day. Not all result in deaths or involve injuries to large numbers of people (thankfully). It is this statistic to which I believe Obama was referring. This article seems to be a vehicle to support the NRA views and whitewash the American situation.

      • johnrlott says:

        Dear Cherie:
        That is simply not true. The post (indeed if the title) mentions frequency of mass public shootings. As the quote at the beginning of our post notes, President Obama is referencing these mass public shootings and we are responding to his claim. As to definitions, we are using a basing our definition on a mass public shooting so that it follows the FBI definition.

        As to the claim that there is one mass public shooting a day, virtually all of those cases involve gang shootings. Gang shootings are a concern, but their causes and cures are completely different from the mass public shootings which are driven by the desire to kill and would as many people as possible. We were focusing on the cases that drive the debate and get media attention.

        • sd says:

          on your position that policy should not be based on rare occurrences, we should not have gone to war with Iraq or Afghanistan or established no fly lists or increases wire taps and surveillance. Based on one terror attack on 9/11.

      • Chris Bennett says:


        I believe that comes from gang shootings?

        Gang shootings are excluded by the FBI by my understanding. In fact, if you take out gang shootings the homicide rate of the US is comparable to many “peaceful” EU states including the UK.

        The US actually has an inner-city gang problem, not a gun problem. But reforming gang culture is too difficult so politicians don’t go there.

  6. mrjest says:

    Just out of curiosity, why are the stats per million instead of the more standard per 100k?

  7. Kurt says:

    The real point is that mass shootings happen without regard to gun control laws, and they are so infrequent that they are statistically insignificant in all the countries listed. If all it takes is one nutcase in Norway to outdo all the crazies in the USA, how could you say that the USA is particularly dangerous in this regard? We aren’t really talking about Norway, but we shouldn’t be singling out the USA, either. The entire conversation is nonsensical.

    People like Obama play fast and loose with statistics to pull on the heartstrings of their gullible voters, using these events to justify laws which would have done nothing to stop these shootings in the first place. One suspects that far more efficient means of killing would be used by mass killers if guns were not available (large, heavy vehicles in crowds; bombs; aircraft; etc have been used before to great effect), but of course stopping mass killing isn’t really the objective.

  8. Magnus, those are fair questions and I will do what I can with them. By way of introduction, I will note that my son in Tromso is planning to move back to America because he doesn’t like how things are trending. I explain that he is not correct – yet.

    Norway has about 1.5% of the population as the US, so a single event will show much larger there, and might, indeed, be unrepresentative. This is true for all the European countries, even the largest. However, taking them in aggregate the populations are roughly similar, and the overall comparison is just. Brevik was a one-off event, but France had two “one-off” events. Switzerland had one, etc. Eventually, we have to say they are not really one-off events. Best to look at the numbers of Europe as a whole, with a second eye out for where exactly they are occurring.

    I also think including bombings and arson would provide a more accurate picture. Not different, just more precise.

  9. Kristo Miettinen says:

    How difficult would it be to run the same statistics for Canada? To compare the US to Europe naturally invites the question of our semi-European semi-American neighbors…

    To Magnus:

    1. It is somewhat relevant to the specific small countries, but not to the overall comparison of the US to the group of small European countries. In other words, if you group together Norway, Finland, Netherlands, Belgium etc as representing “northern Europe” (too bad Sweden and Denmark aren’t in the data set), then there is not too much relevance to the fact that in this group the Netherlands are the safest this time, but there is some relevance to the result that the US is better than all but one.

    2. It depends on whether you are of the opinion that the Paris attack was a one-time fluke, or that it is the beginning of more to follow. But consider also how the data are skewed by omitting countries like Greece, Iceland, etc. The picture of Europe is incomplete.

    3. Looking year by year is bad, just as chopping Europe up into countries is bad. Imagine if the US data were reported state-by-state. Many US states, like Vermont, would seem to be the safest places on earth despite having the most relaxed gun laws in the USA. The more you can aggregate, under the assumption that what you are aggregating are “sames” or similars, the less affected you are by random variation. Not that Vermont’s exceptionalism is random, it is consistent year after year, decade after decade.

    4. Yes. I, a Finnish-American, truly believe that. Especially when you hold constant sociological factors (educated, middle class, conventional professional job). Living what would be an ordinary life for me in Helsinki or Oslo would be much more dangerous that living that same life in the USA (where I am more likely to live in a “provincial” city rather than the dominant national city, as in fact I do). Mind you, both would be quite safe, one is just safer than the other. That’s part of why I’m here.

  10. Alan says:

    “I really think the conversation should be about mass public killings not shootings”

    Which conversation? The conversation about killings or the conversation about guns? I think that you should have realized that this particular article is about shootings.

  11. Don Edwards says:

    One of the worst school massacres in this country’s history occurred in Bath, Michigan in 1929. Not one gun was used. The perpetrator used fire and explosives. Thirty-eight elementary school children died, along with six adults. Fifty-eight others were injured.

  12. Magnus says:

    Wow, I wasn’t expecting such a comprehensive response, so much appreciated everyone 🙂 it’s good to see that people with opposing political views can still be civil to each other (you probably realised I’m a dastardly liberal). To respond to my own questions:

    1. I realise how population can affect statistics, so I didn’t word my question well here. The answers to number 3 helped here.

    2. Yes, my fault. In the site it looked like only the French attacks had been added.

    3. Your answers make sense here. I still like the idea of being able to see where one large attack may have skewed the results without discounting it.

    4. Yes, we probably need more data here! Is six years considers enough to see a trend?

    Only one more point came to mind, then I promise to leave it alone! People talked a lot about the smaller size of the European countries versus the U.S. I get this, so rather than comparing the U.S. To individual European countries, would it make more sense to compare it to the whole of Europe, all 750 million of us? That would then include large countries like Spain, Portugal, Poland, Ireland (who perhaps have not had any mass shootings). Or add all the countries in Europe (since the results are supposed to be comparing the U.S. to Europe) to the list above to show where the U.S. ranks in relation to all of them-at the moment it’s just a list of countries in Europe that have had mass shootings,


  13. […] in US, other European countries actually have a worse problem.  From 2009 through December 2015, eleven European countries experienced mass public shootings at a greater frequency than did the US, after adjusting for population.  These countries include Switzerland, Norway, […]

  14. […] Crime Prevention Research Center (2016, January). US becoming safer compared to Europe in both fatalities and frequency of mass public shootings:  US now ranks 11th in fatalities and 12th in frequency.  Retrieved from https://crimeresearch.org/2016/01/compared-to-europe-the-us-falls-in-rank-for-fatalities-and-frequenc… […]

  15. Cub38 says:

    That’s just manipulating data to fit your message. You want to show that the US is safe, so you say “ok with the unusual event in Norway and the terrorist attacks we can manipulate annual shooting victims and say America is safer”. You’re totally missing the point. The point is that the US is the only country in the world with those mass school shootings done by local white boys buying guns so easily because of your gun laws. No country in the world has recurring shootings like that. Sandy Hook, Columbine, Virginia Tech and many more… They could all be avoided with gun control laws, and that was the whole point of Obama’s speech. Oh and why did you NOT include what happened during the Bush administration ? Well because you’d have had to include 9/11 victims and your stats would have done the same than what you’re doing with the European stats: being artificially blown up, and not being a reflection of the real situation.

    The situation is this: almost no school shootings in Europe. Several a year in the US. That’s the whole point. The Norway thing ? No one had seen this before, I think only the shooting in Tasmania was comparable. It never happens, it’s not a stat. The terrorist attacks ? You have those too, and they shouldn’t be part of the equation. Same with the Lufthansa plane crash. Sure stronger gun laws wouldn’t stop gun violence by gangs, organized crime and terrorists, but school shootings is a problem with a very simple solution. They’re so rare in Europe because those white boys who always seem to do the shooting have a similar profile: antisocial, lonely, disturbed. And those guys can’t get guns in Europe, they have no connection with organised crime, they can’t buy one in the shops… The killings in Erfurt, Germany was done by a guy with a sport shooting licence, and Germany strengthened their gun laws after that. It worked. Same in Scotland after Dunblane. Same in Australia, the most famous example, after Port Arthur. And again, it worked, no mass shooting since. It is very easy to implement this. And there is still hunting and sport shooting in Europe and Australia, so the whole “the government will take our guns” rubbish is just nonsense. It will simply prevent crazy shooters from buying them so easily. The whole point here is: when a drama like in Norway or Tasmania happen, governments actually DO SOMETHING. In the US, the president wants to do something and your useless congress says “back off”.

    • johnrlott says:

      It is too bad that you ignore the fact that we have already gone through this set of questions many times.

      1) You can’t compare a country Norway with 5 million people to the US, a country with over 320 million people. You have to put it in a per capita rate, that is what we do when we compare murder rates across states or across cities. We can pick individual US states that haven’t had any mass public shootings, but even then I would hope that you would adjust for population differences.
      2) In any case, you ignore that we compare the entire EU to the US or Europe to the US. So that you have places of roughly equal populations.
      3) There simply aren’t several mass public shootings at US schools year after year (a list is provided). In any case, Germany, a country with a third of the US population, has had three of the 5 worst K-12 school shootings (the UK has had another) between the US and Europe.
      4) You ask why we picked the period of time that we did. Well, this was explained if you had read our piece. “(this matches the starting period for another recent study we did on US shootings and we chose that because that was the starting point that Bloomberg’s group had picked)”
      5) There have been mass public shootings in the UK after 1996 (the worst leaving 12 people killed). But it doesn’t make any sense to look at just time series data for one place. For example, NZ had a bigger drop in mass public shootings after 1996 than Australia and they didn’t change their gun control laws.

      You seem to be throwing everything up against the wall without actually reading through what we have put up.

      Let me just note that all my sources are public and easily checkable.

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