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US has 5 percent of world’s population, but had 31 percent of its public mass shooters from 1966-2012

CHICAGO — Despite having only about 5 percent of the world’s population, the United States was the attack site for a disproportionate 31 percent of public mass shooters globally from 1966-2012, according to new research that will be presented at the 110th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA).

“The United States, Yemen, Switzerland, Finland, and Serbia are ranked as the Top 5 countries in firearms owned per capita, according to the 2007 Small Arms Survey, and my study found that all five are ranked in the Top 15 countries in public mass shooters per capita,” said study author Adam Lankford, an associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Alabama. “That is not a coincidence.”

Lankford’s study, which examines the period from 1966-2012, relies on data from the New York City Police Department’s 2012 active shooter report, the FBI’s 2014 active shooter report, and multiple international sources. It is the first quantitative analysis of all reported public mass shootings around the world that resulted in the deaths of four or more people. By definition, these shootings do not include incidents that occurred solely in domestic settings or were primarily gang-related, drive-by shootings, hostage taking incidents, or robberies.

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