Nature, Trends, Correlates, and Prevention of Mass Public Shootings in America, 1976-2018   [open pdf - 2MB]

From the Project Summary: "Recent mass public shootings in venues as diverse as a school, a church, and a concert, have alarmed policymakers and the public alike. The massive amount of media attention given these tragedies has convinced many observers that such incidents are on the rise--that we are experiencing a virtual epidemic of bloodshed. Notwithstanding this widely-held perception, shootings in which four or more victims are killed in a public place unrelated to other criminal activity remain rare events, especially when adjusted for population growth. While there has been some increase in the number of cases, the severity--in terms of the number killed and wounded--has spiked over the past several years, with seven of the ten deadliest occurring since 2007. Because of this, and the associated news and social media obsession, the most pronounced increase has been in fear. Despite mounting interest among journalists and academics, questions regarding the nature and prevention of mass shootings remain. For example, to what extent do mass shooters have histories of mental illness, substance abuse, or violence? Does strengthening or weakening gun control laws have an impact on the incidence or severity of mass public shootings? Are mass shooters influenced by media coverage of these events?"

James Alan Fox
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U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs: https://www.ojp.gov/
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