Mass Public Shootings around the World: In two days there were large mass public shootings in Brazil and New Zealand

Mar 15, 2019 | Featured

The attack at a public school in Suzano, Brazil on March 13th, 2019, resulted in eight deaths and 23 people wounded. Two former students committed the massacre, and they reportedly modeled their attack after the Columbine attack, the 20th anniversary of which will fall next month. The weapons used were a .38 caliber revolver, crossbow, bow and arrow, and hatchet. Updated: On March 18th, four people were killed and four were wounded on a tram in a Utrecht, Netherlands attack.

After the two Mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, the NZ PM reports that 50 people were killed and another 50 wounded, 20+ seriously injured. At one of the Mosques, when the attack started at 1:45 PM local time, some 400 people were present for Friday prayer. The killer, Brenton Tarrant, 28, who has been charged with the killings and has lived off-and-on in New Zealand for years, used two shotguns, two semi-automatic weapons, and one lever-action firearm during the massacres.

Our data on mass public shootings from around the world are available here.

Brazil has some of the strictest gun control laws in the world. In 1999, less than one percent of adults were legally licensed to own a gun, and most of these were police officers. Self-defense is not considered as an acceptable reason to own a gun.

New Zealand isn’t as restrictive, but they do have an assault weapon ban and people aren’t allowed to legally carry concealed guns. Only 250,000 (6.56%) of New Zealand’s 3.81 million adults have licenses to own a gun.

The graph below shows the number of people who have been issued permits each year in Brazil. With a population in 2019 of 215 million with 74% of those being 15 years or older, the percent of the adult population with a permit is extremely low. Permits last for five years, so the number of people at the end of 2018 who had permits was about 8,834. Given that there are 158.5 million people fifteen or older, the percent of those with permits is 0.0056%.



  1. ezkl2230

    Interesting contrast. On the Christchurch attacks, one mosque was attacked and resulted in multiple casualties, while in the second mosque to be attacked the same day, one of the worshippers used his own firearm to engage and drive off the second shooter.

    Of course, of the reports I have read so far regarding these two, apparently simultaneous shootings, none media outlet recorded this critical difference; it was reported on wikipedia,

  2. Patrick T Peterson

    Way down in the LA Times story, this was mentioned:

    “During a second shooting at the Linwood Masjid Mosque, seven people were killed…
    Mark Nichols told the New Zealand Herald he heard about five gunshots and that a Friday prayer-goer returned fire with a rifle or shotgun.”

    Also of note: “The man who claimed responsibility for the shooting said he came to New Zealand only to plan and train for the attack. He said he was not a member of any organization, but had donated to and interacted with many nationalist groups, though he acted alone and no group ordered the attack.”

    And back to the Wikipedia article:
    “The Al Noor shooter livestreamed 16 minutes of his attack on Facebook Live, where he identified himself as a 28-year-old Australian white supremacist.[11][12] Early moments of the livestream showed the shooter driving his car toward the mosque and listening to a Serbian language song celebrating Radovan Karadžić, who was found guilty of genocide against Bosnian Muslims.[13][14]”

  3. Patrick T Peterson

    And from the NYTimes, NO mention at all either of any self-defence at the 2nd Mosque, but the same differential in deaths between the Mosques 41-7.

    But at the very bottom of the article, there is this statement:
    “In his manifesto, he identified himself as a 28-year-old man born in Australia and listed his white nationalist heroes.

    Writing that he had purposely used guns to stir discord in the United States over the Second Amendment’s provision on the right to bear arms, he also declared himself a fascist. “For once, the person that will be called a fascist, is an actual fascist,” he wrote.”

  4. Michael

    I’m going to have to disagree with your characterization of the Christchurch shooter’s armaments, as while what you said is factually true, it omits important information. When I click on your link (“Obviously, as shown in the picture here”), the first image I see is an AR-15 with a drum magazine, which looks like a Magpul D60. This was main weapon used by the shooter during his attack on the mosque. Implying the shooter carried out his attack with “a number of hunting rifles with small capacity magazines,” which I didn’t even see touch using during his video, is disingenuous and may undermine important points you may be trying to argue.