The findings from two separate reports released in the last month—one by the FBI and the other by progressive investigative media outlet Mother Jones—have been offered up as evidence that “mass shootings” are occurring more frequently than ever. The truth, however, is a little more complicated.
To be fair, the authors of the FBI’s “active shooter” report explicitly cautioned their study was not about mass shootings, although this caveat was later ignored in much of the news media’s coverage of it. But a recent article in Mother Jones asserted that we have “entered a new period in which mass shootings are occurring more frequently.” This report relied on the well-known list compiled by Mother Jones, which has been one of the key sources used to support the claim made in the last few years that the incidences of mass shootings have accelerated.
The first problem with the Mother Jones list, which contains 67 cases, is that it significantly underreports the incidents occurring between 1982 and 2013 that meet its definitional requirements. (emphasis mine) The data I’ve collected show there were 114 mass public shootings, which means the Mother Jones list missed more than 40 percent of the cases that took place in the U.S. during this 32-year period.
Read the full article here with a couple really nice graphs