Op-Ed: Defining the Debate – Active Shooters and Mass Shootings

"Mass public shootings are on the rise!" "Mass public shootings are not rising!"

Oddly enough, both statements are correct, and misused by the gun control lobby to confuse and alarm the public. You need to know the difference, the truth and the oddly calming perspective.

Like the mythical "assault weapons"," everything depends on the definition. Across the nation there have been dozens of different "assault weapon" laws that sought to control anywhere from tens to thousands of different firearms. The definition changed from city to city, state to state and between the states and the federal government. Like in Alice in Wonderland: "It means what we say it means."

Likewise with public shootings. The definitions are slippery, and depending on which one you choose you can prove or disprove nearly anything. So here are the two basic definitions that come from criminologists (and not propagandists):

Mass Public Shootings (MPS): "Slaughter of four or more victims by one or a few assailants within a single event, lasting but a few minutes or as long as several hours."

Active Shooter Events (ASE): "One or more persons engaged in killing or attempting to kill multiple people in an area (or areas) occupied by multiple unrelated individuals. At least one of the victims must be unrelated to the shooter. The primary motive appears to be mass murder; that is the shooting is not a by-product of an attempt to commit another crime."

Notice that MPSs require four or more dead people. ASEs require zero or more. MPSs have remained steady for decades, and in terms of per capita deaths, have fallen. ASEs have climbed moderately.

This is the critical difference, and an important distraction that gun control lobbyists avoid making. They promote the fact that ASEs are rising, while mentioning MPSs such as Sandy Hook to make it seem like MPSs are rising too.


The key points to remember are these.

  1. In the more horrific type of event – mass public shootings – the per capita death rate is falling.
  2. Even so, the deaths from either MPSs or ASEs is a fraction of one percent of gun homicides.

So as a public policy issue, should MPSs and ASEs be the least of our concerns? No, because we know that ASEs and MSPs occur in "gun free zones" created by spin-masters who manipulate statistics to serve their agenda. Your chances of dying in ASEs and MSPs are increased by civilian disarmament ideologues on the public payroll.

Tell them you want to help prevent ASEs and MSPs by being part of the mass murderer’s uncertainty principle, by being an armed citizen–and a constant violence deterrent.

Click here to read the entire op-ed.

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