Are Mass Public Shootings Seasonal? (Corrected)

***CORRECTION: A FACEBOOK READER noticed something in the Mother Jones data I presented recently that I had missed. Beginning in 2013, MJ changed their definition of a mass public shooting from 4 or more victims to 3 or more victims in 2013 (see more below), but did not retroactively update their database. Although not deceptive (they said plainly they were doing this, I simply missed it), this is methodologically problematic. So I eliminated those cases, which reduces the total number in the database from 114 incidents to 95, and re-did the chart here.***

Gun trainer Rob Pincus texted to ask me tonight if I had any source for data on the seasonality of mass shooting activity. I.e., mass shootings by month.

I did not, but I was intrigued enough by the idea to do a little work when I got home tonight. The fruit of that labor is below. Important notes and interpretive points follow the chart.

Mass Shootings by Month Corrected

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How Many Guns Are There In The United States Today? 400 Million Or So

How many guns are there in the United States today? No one really knows, but research conducted by the Geneva, Switzerland based Small Arms Survey provides the best guesstimate for 2017:

Civilian-held Firearms: 393,347,000

Military-owned Firearms: 4,535,380

Law Enforcement Firearms: 1,016,000

TOTAL FIREARMS ESTIMATE (2017): 398,898,380

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Who Are The Gun Curious?

The U.S. population breaks down roughly in thirds –

  • Current Gun Owners: 27 to 33%
  • Not Currently But Possible Gun Owners: 33 to 39%
  • Not Now and Not Ever Gun Owners: 30 to 36%

Americans are politically divided by the issue of guns. But as with other “culture wars,” the fighting is often undertaken by elites, while the muddled masses watch from the sidelines, often with disbelief or revulsion at the true believers screaming past each other.

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