Media, Politicians Chronically Mislead On Total Number Of ‘Mass Shootings,’ Data Analysis Shows

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More than 97% of “mass shootings” that have occurred in the U.S. in the first six months of 2023 do not fit the “active shooter” type scenario driving the majority of new legislative proposals, a Daily Caller analysis of the Gun Violence Archive (GVA) shows.

Stricter gun regulation favored by Democrats would only address 38 of the 1,768 people killed or injured in shootings with more than four victims, a comprehensive analysis of mass shootings from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2023 shows. The remaining 1,730 casualties are from suspects that do not conform to the dominant narrative of premeditated, often ideologically charged, shooters deliberately targeting innocent bystanders. The legislation proposed to address those 38 cases leave the situations leading to the remaining 1,730 untouched.

The Daily Caller’s analysis of GVA’s mass shooting data from Jan. 1, 2023, to June 30, 2023 was both quantitative and qualitative. It broke down to 335 mass shootings with a total of 1,768 fatalities. In each of the 335 cases, the Daily Caller analyzed the time and location of the mass shooting and noted suspect information — including gang affiliation, criminal records, if a semi-automatic rifle or pistol was used and, in cases where it is known, whether the gun was legally owned. The Daily Caller also noted the circumstances that led to the shooting.

Two major profiles of “mass shooters” emerged as a result of the analysis:

  • Mass murderer targeting innocents: Preplanned targeting of public places with little security and a large opportunity for mass murder. Subsequent investigations often revealed these shooters had ideological motivations and a history of mental illness.
  • Seemingly random, violent criminal event: A criminal activity that escalated from an altercation, often in a public place like a bar or a club, often at night, and more often than not involving an illegal firearm, when such information was available. Gang-related affiliations or activities were also not uncommon.

“I think we’ve seen also an increase in gun violence gun deaths over the past three years, sort of homicide, and essentially mass shootings as GVA defines it, largely because there is less social control being exercised formally and informally, over the small subset of the population,” Charles Lehman, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, told the Daily Caller. (RELATED: 9 Injured In Ohio Shooting, Prompting Congresswoman To Call For ‘Significant Legislative Action’)

Prosecutors in some cities in recent years have been increasingly hesitant to prosecute that small subset of the population that is responsible for the majority of gun violence due to criminal justice reform efforts. News stories covering mass shootings rarely, if ever, mention what kind of criminal is driving the mass shooting statistics.

Pew Research Center, CNN, The New York Times and the National Institute of Health are just a few of the major media outlets using GVA data in their reporting. In every article that the Daily Caller reviewed, reporters failed to contextualize the numbers. 

The public is then left to assume that most of the 335 mass shooting cases in 2023 are caused by Nazi-adjacent, bigoted, terrorists who deliberately target random, innocent people. Four mass shooting cases out of the 335 best fit this scenario — East Lansing, MI, Nashville, TN, Allen, TX and Farmington, NM. The remaining 97% — or 1,730 of the 1,768 casualties — happen due to public disagreements that turned deadly outside of clubs and bars in mostly urban areas. Often they are correlated with gang and criminal activity with the use of illegally obtained firearms. 

“The term ‘mass shooting’ has been grossly manipulated by the media and politicians to distract from the real crisis: the Biden Crime Wave. This national crisis is caused by coddling criminals and not prosecuting and punishing them. The Daily Caller’s analysis of the GVA proves this to be true,” National Rifle Association (NRA) Spokesperson Billy McLaughlin said in a statement to the Daily Caller. 

President Biden signed an executive order aimed at curbing gun violence by increasing background checks and banning assault rifles and high-capacity magazines. The order additionally seeks to promote awareness surrounding “red flag laws” and keep the gun industry accountable through public awareness and safety practices.

“Mass shootings” only account for 5.6% of the work done by the GVA, director Mark Bryan told the Daily Caller. “Most journalists are lazy and they’re going to just go to the top line number,” Bryan said. The GVA is a platform dedicated to reporting various gun-related activities around the U.S., including unintentional shootings, defensive use and home invasions. GVA provides the “full number and then lets you, the journalists, do as much work as you want to understand that number,” Bryan said. 

Lehman told the Daily Caller that the “solution to that problem” of gun violence is “more aggressive policing and more aggressive incarceration, more aggressive prosecution, which we’ve seen less over the past three years.” 

President Biden spoke at the National Safer Communities Summit in Connecticut to address rising gun violence in June. “We all want to drop them off at a house of worship, a mall, a movie, a school door without worrying that it’s the last time we’re going to see them,” President Biden stated. 

The Daily Caller analysis shows that 1.7% of “mass shootings” that have occurred in the first six months of 2023 were in “a house of worship, a mall, a movie, a school.” There has been little to no motivation from leaders to address the remaining 98.3% of shootings. (RELATED: California’s Share Of Mass Shootings Remains High Despite Strict Gun Laws)

President Biden said that the Justice Department had provided more than $230 million for states to expand the Safer Communities Act and the laws that come along with it, including stricter background tests. Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services has also provided more than $1.5 billion to states to hire 14,000 mental health professionals for schools. 

“There’s not one mass public shooting this century that would have been stopped if you had such a law in effect, and had been perfectly enforced. There’s not one attack,” Dr. John Lott, President of the Crime Research Prevention Center, told the Daily Caller. Lott also explained that these initiatives furthered the long-standing efforts of the Obama administration and resulted in higher Federal Firearm License (FFL) costs that make it difficult for “law-abiding good citizens.” 

“President Biden and his allies target law-abiding citizens exercising their constitutional rights, while ignoring law-breaking thugs obtaining illegal guns and spreading violence. The media is complicit in overusing the term ‘mass shootings’, which helps Biden and his team to sweep their disastrous policies under the rug,” McLaughlin continued. 

The Daily Caller analysis found that of the 335 “mass shootings,” 77 reports provided information on the weapon. Fifty-five cases involved an illegally possessed gun, thus being untouched by stricter regulations. “Law enforcement never even sees half the guns used in murders each year,” Bryan told the Daily Caller. (RELATED: Texas GOP Rep. Says Americans Should Carry Guns To Stop Active Shooters, Following Mall Shooting)

The conflation of career criminals with attention-driven killers through the term ‘mass shootings’ has shifted focus from violent criminals, corrupt prosecutors and failed policies to the “good guys,” McLaughlin stated.

“The way you reduce crime is you have higher arrest rates. Higher conviction rates, longer prison sentences, you make it risky for criminals to go and commit crime,” Lott concurred.


Matt Buckley contributed to this report.