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If You Look at This Chart of Top 10 Nations in the World for Mass Shootings – One Thing Jumps Out

Getty - Saul Loeb

While in Paris for the climate change conference, President Obama commented on the Colorado Springs shooting that killed three people and injured nine others.

The president again made the claim that mass shootings don’t happen in other countries.

“I say this every time we have one of these mass shootings. This just doesn’t happen in other countries,” President Obama said.

The president made the statement in Paris, the site of a recent armed ISIS attack that killed 130 civilians, and the location of Charlie Hedbo magazine attacks that killed 12 people and injured 11 people in January.

So, are the president’s claims true?

The following is a chart of mass shooting statistics, when corrected for population. It shows that the U.S. has comparable frequency to other nations when accounting for its large population size. It should also be noted that the U.S. by far has most armed citizens in the world.

Screenshot - 6_18_2015 , 9_43_12 PM

Image credit: OECD data. Archived at: http://archive.is/f4gbv

The Rampage Shooting Index. Taken from a now-defunct website, assembled data from around the world to construct a per capita mass shootings index that controls for population differences. [Update: Archived data based on OECD and other statistics can be found here.]

And since we’re just talking about members of the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), we can assume these 34 countries are sufficiently “advanced” to enter into the discussion.

The bottom line: The United States falls from number one due to its frequency of 38 mass shootings from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2013 (which would be number one without correcting for population) to number seven.

Security Magazine commented on the data findings:

Between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2013,there were 413 fatalities from mass shootings in the 34 member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). From the five-year period of 2008-2012, there were 373 total spree shooting fatalities.

According to the OECD’s latest version of the Rampage Shooting Index, a pair of deadly shootings in Switzerland in early 2013 pushed the U.S. out of the top five OECD nations for the most per capita fatalities, but the U.S. continues to have the most rampage shooting deaths (one reason could be its size – The U.S. population accounts for 25 percent of the OECD total). However, the U.S. saw a drop in mass shooting deaths from 93 in 2012 to 68 in 2013.

The U.S.’ index of 0.12 per 5,000,000 places it behind Norway (recall the Anders Breivik massacre), Finland, Slovakia, Israel, and Switzerland – at half the ratio.

Another thing one might note: The top 5 countries for mass shootings per capita all have “restrictive” gun policies.

Editor’s note: This article was updated after publication.


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