Thank you for covering this issue. I completely agree that we need to be aggressive with new, national gun safety laws, No loopholes, not states that opt out and become the source of guns for others. The public has to be pushed to actually tell their congressman to stop taking gun money.

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I live in Texas and it is frightening. I am also a teacher and I made quiet lollipop bags for our classes for lockdowns to help keep our littlest loves calm and quiet. I cried making them. How can our Governor and state lawmakers think that putting more guns in schools, teaching third graders to apply tourniquets is better than making smart gun laws, and getting insurance to pay for mental health. It baffles me.

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May 8·edited May 8

Can someone clarify what Age-adjusted means with respect to this data in the graphs above? (the body text says population adjusted, which is rather self explanatory, but I'm not sure how the other adjustment is reached.)

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Thank you for laying out the data in such an easy to follow way. Two questions popped out for me looking at the graph that takes gun laws into account: what is happening with Arkansas - an outlier with many shootings and restrictive firearm policies and what is happening with Vermont - an outlier with fewer shootings but permissive firearm policies. If we understood the factors involved in these two states, might we find some clues of changes that could reduce firearm deaths?

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Thank you. So glad you will keep sending us what you find. Mystified why people are not letting their peers know this is unacceptable. The government is obviously not going to change this for us. If Sandy Hook wasn't enough, what could be?

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Great column on an important topic. It is nice to see someone say (with back-up) that states with tougher gun laws have fewer mass shootings. On a lighter note your column made me rethink a vacation in Wyoming :-)

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Mass shootings have become the dominant argument for sane gun policies. HOrrible as they are, they are not the whole story. I read somewhere recently, I think the Times, that over two hundred kids were shot in Philadelphia last year. Two hundred. Working from statistics like that could also help to move the needle.

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I’m trying to understand what the correlation between mental health and guns/mass shootings in Texas have to do with each other.

Either way, we have to many mass shootings in this country. If it’s a mental health issue, these ‘mental health’, ‘mentally unstable’, individuals are still able to walk into a gun shop, or gun show, and purchase a firearm. They are still able to purchase several at one time, with ammunition, then a week, or two weeks, later go out and kill a bunch of innocent people shopping, or attending church, or any number of other things.

It all boils down to one thing. GUN CONTROL. The control of the purchasing, and carrying, firearms. If the laws, nationwide, were uniform between all states, a mentally deficient individual wouldn’t be abjection go to Florida, or Texas, and buy a firearm freely. An individual with any type of criminal record wouldn’t be able to set foot in a gun shop or gun show.

The regulations to purchase/own firearms had to be changed.

A. Extend the waiting period from 3 days to 30-60 days.

B. Change the Application to Purchase a Firearm. Make it more extensive than simple “yes” “no” answers. Get the individuals medical history, cross Minsk history, have them list every firearm they currently own, with serial numbers. The gun dealer must enter this application to the Federal “Cloud” for all agencies to automatically have instant access so background checks may begin.

C. The individual must have a complete medical/psychological assessment completed.

D. The individual, irregardless of prior firearms education/training must successfully complete a Federal Firearms Safety Course.

F. ALL law enforcement agencies (local, county, state, and federal) must complete a thorough background investigation of the individual.

G. A National Firearms Database must be established for the gun dealers to enter any firearm/ammunition sold, prior to it being delivered to the individual and leaving the premises.

H. All gun dealers should be required, by law, to check this database to ensure any individual isn’t going to numerous gun dealers to purchase numerous firearms.

I. No firearm may be sold at the same time as purchasing ammunition. There must me minimum of 3-5 day waiting period prior to being able to purchase ammunition for any firearm. If an individual goes into a gun dealer to purchase ammunition, an “Application to Purchase a Firearm/Ammunition must be completed. Then a minimum 3-5 day waiting period for all checks to be completed before the individual my pick up the ammunition.

J. The penalties for violations should be extremely harsh.

For firearms dealers, if an individual purchases a firearm, and the stipulations/law isn’t followed to the letter, or the dealer fails to do his diligence on the computer checks, entering the information, or checking fir prior purchases as laid out in the law, a felony charge shall be imposed, and his firearms license to sell be immediately revoked with no opportunity for reinstatement.

For individuals, a felony charge should be imposed if they are found to have lied on the Application to Purchase a Firearm/Ammunition. If, during the 30-60 day waiting period this individual is found to be incompetent, mentally, to own/possess or have in his/her possession or premises any firearm, then his Application shall be immediately flagged, his immediate family notified, and given them the opportunity to remove all firearms from the residence where this individual resides. If the family doesn’t complete this, then the authorities shall remove them.

K. Weapons of mass destruction, weapons used by military/law enforcement, shall not be manufactured or sold to the general public, by any licensed gun dealer, or individual.

Yes, mental health is an issue for someone owning a firearm, and knowing when/how to use it properly. But, not every case of masa shootings have individuals with mental health issues committing them. Case in point. This last mass shooting in Texas was committed by an individual with ties to Neo-Nazi groups. That’s not mental health, Governor. That’s just plain old fashioned white supremacy!

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Thank you for another great post.

For states that have low mass shootings yet a high number of firearm deaths per capita, I'd be curious what the reasons are for the firearm death? Every death from a firearm is tragic, yet it's a little more predictable when it's a hunting accident or gang related. What makes mass shootings so horrific, apart from their mass nature where many are killed within minutes, is their seemingly random occurrence in places where people should be safe - schools, churches, shopping centers, nightclubs - often targeting innocent children.

Also, I'm sure there's a good reason for this, but I couldn't figure out why firearm deaths needed to be "age-adjusted"? Or how the charts might look different if they weren't "age-adjusted"? Also, what year(s) is the data from?

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The bar graph on permissive/restrictive laws says it all (for me at least). Regulation saves actual human lives. So, a reasonable reaction to that would be to increase regulation of firearms rather than get into nebulous philosophizing about second amendment interpretation.

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So I went to chatGPT, and asked "Best approach to prevent mass shootings ?"

Here is the response.... not bad, actually.



Preventing mass shootings is a complex issue with no easy solution. However, a comprehensive approach that combines multiple strategies can help reduce the risk and impact of such incidents. Here are some key approaches that can be effective:

Improved access to mental health care: Addressing mental health issues is crucial, as many mass shooters have a history of mental health problems. Communities should prioritize early identification and intervention, promote mental health awareness, and ensure access to affordable and quality mental health services.

Strengthening gun control measures: Implementing stricter gun control laws can help prevent individuals with dangerous intentions from accessing firearms. This can include comprehensive background checks, waiting periods, restrictions on high-capacity magazines and assault weapons, and ensuring the responsible ownership and storage of firearms.

Threat assessment and intervention: Developing threat assessment programs can help identify individuals who pose a risk of violence. These programs involve early identification, assessment, and intervention by trained professionals, such as mental health experts, law enforcement, and school personnel, to address potential threats before they escalate.

Improved school safety measures: Schools should prioritize implementing effective security measures, such as access controls, surveillance systems, and emergency response protocols. Additionally, promoting a positive school climate, fostering strong relationships between students and staff, and providing mental health support within schools can help create a supportive environment that reduces the risk of violence.

Enhanced community engagement: Communities play a crucial role in preventing mass shootings. Encouraging open communication and fostering strong community ties can help identify and address potential threats. Encouraging reporting of suspicious behavior and establishing anonymous reporting mechanisms can also aid in early intervention.

Media literacy and responsible reporting: Media outlets should exercise responsible reporting to avoid sensationalizing mass shootings, which can inadvertently inspire others. Promoting media literacy and educating the public on critical thinking skills can help reduce the potential influence of violent media on individuals.

Research and data-driven policies: Supporting research on the causes and risk factors of mass shootings can inform evidence-based policies. Governments should invest in research and collect data to better understand the phenomenon and develop targeted interventions.

It's important to note that there is no foolproof approach, and addressing mass shootings requires a multi-faceted effort involving collaboration between individuals, communities, policymakers, mental health professionals, and law enforcement agencies.

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So sad. Sorry it was close to home this time. I live in Philly, so "close to home" is a relative term here. It still feels very neighborhood-dependent, even if those neighborhoods feel far away at 1-2 miles from my door.

According to the city: "Mapping Philadelphia's Gun Violence Crisis:

To date, there have been 142 homicides in 2023, a 12% decrease from 2022.

This app maps the victims of gun violence: 477 nonfatal and 118 fatal shooting victims as of May 7, 2023."

The interactive nature of this map is really fascinating, a whole civics lesson in data.


I don't even feel comfortable holding a gun. It freaks me out. I guess like everything else, familiarity must breed comfort. Too many guns, and the guns are too powerful. Wyoming is a freak show of gun ownership according to that graph you referenced. Remind me to never move there. I'd rather pay taxes.

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Many such statistics (such as the "14 in the last 10 years") are created shortly after an incident. These statistics have a bias because of that. Consider if you dealt out a sequence of cards and noticed you had a run of two spades and wondered if spades occurred more often, so you look at the cards dealt to that point -- likely you'll find that spades did occur more often than other suits. If you trigger your statistics by events, of course the events will show up more often than if you look at some "average" interval.

Similarly, bias is introduced by your being aware of the event (ie, usually due to coverage by news media). That shouldn't affect properly sampled data, but it does affect people's perceptions (individually and as communities). Right now, just about every shooting far from you is in your local coverage. This magnification of coverage will affect how we see the issue. It also sells more ads.

Unfortunately, this magnification may also contribute to more shootings (or suicides, kidnappings, hijackings, or whatever else is the news de jour).

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What is the "age adjustment" you made? Would the results be different without an "age adjustment?

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You: "This epidemic is out of control."

Me: "My friends at Moderna and Pfizer are working on a vaccine."

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Ok, starting with a deep breath.

As I said in my comments to a previous blog about mass shootings, trying to equate or even correlate all violence committed with guns to incidents like the recent mall shooting in TX does not work. There are differences between, accidental deaths such as hunting accidents and kids playing with guns in closets (which shouldn't happen), suicides, gang and criminal violence, and cases like this where an unhinged person decides to go on a rampage which really a form of terrorism more than anything else.

Second, the cries of outrage and racism from the "left" ring absolutely hollow. The hypocrisy is on full display because anytime the event doesn't fit the desired narrative of it being some crazy right wing Trump supporter, or one where the race baiters can't leverage it, it quickly dies from media mention. Furthermore, no mention is ever made to "do something" about all the black on black crime and killing taking place in the urban ghettos. Then there was the incident, this very same weekend, a person drove a car into a bunch of people killing seven and wounding seven more. Why are the lefties screaming for car safety legislation (eye roll). It's a bunch of politically motivated BS and anyone with two thinking brain cells can see it for what it is.

Third, what gets really old is reading about how these dangerous perpetrators are often times "known" to the legal system, having been arrested or even deported in the case of illegal aliens. The soft on crime, Soros bought, democrat prosecutors and the courts have plenty of guilt to go around. Oh, and we're supposed to believe that if we only had additional laws it is somehow going to stop the crime. Oh wait, it isn't really about the crime, it's about control of the people and the desire to subjugate the people.

Fourth even if there is some sort of correlation between gun crime and control laws, according to the list in the blog, the places with the lowest gun crime are also what around here we refer to as The People's Republics. I have no desire to even visit those places, let alone live in them. If I wanted to live in a totalitarian police state I would move to China.

Lastly, thank the deities that crap like was spewed in other comments about things like waiting periods and "civilians" not being able to have access to the same guns as cops (who are also civilians, by the way) is simply not going to happen. It's not even up for debate or discussion. There is no conversation to be had. As I said, thankfully, not going to happen because history is full of examples where it did and none of them are pretty.

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