Scaring the American public is one of President Obama’s favorite political tactics to get gun control. Just hours after the terrible shooting at the Naval Yard on Monday, Mr. Obama said that even though he didn’t have the facts, “We’re confronting — yet another — mass shooting. And today it happened on a military installation in our nation’s capital.”
The last mass shooting was over nine months ago at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. While we mourn every one of those children and educators lost that day — and today in Washington, D.C. — these events are not a cause for increased alarm.
A report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Study (CRS) released in April showed there have been 78 public mass shootings in the last 30 years that claimed 547 lives. That averages to 18 victims a year.
To put that number in context, there were 8,583 murders by firearm in the U.S. in 2011, the most recent year for which we have figures from the FBI. And, there were 851 people accidentally killed by firearms in 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The congressional report concluded that, “While tragic and shocking, public mass shootings account for few of the murders related to firearms that occur annually in the United States.”
The president also added as the press conference that the horrific crime at the naval building will “be investigating thoroughly what happened — as we do so many of these shootings sadly that have happened and do everything we can to try to prevent them.”