Dem Senator Claims There Were 372 Mass Shootings Last Year

Some people are saying there were only four mass shootings last year. So, what is this Democrat Senator talking about? Is he lying and using his own criteria for “mass shooting?”

AWR Hawkins with Breitbart reported:

On December 31 Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) claimed there were 372 mass shootings–or more than one mass shooting a day–during calendar year 2015. On the other hand, Mother Jones editor Mark Follman reported four mass shootings for the whole year and USA Today reported approximately 22.

What accounts for the jump from four–or even 22–to 372? The jump is the result of Senator Chris Murphy’s (D-CT) complete rejection of the FBI criteria for a mass shooting. That criteria is four fatalities in one shooting incident. Instead of using this, Murphy has adopted the criteria of Shooting Tracker, a website which labels any shooting or series of shootings a “mass shooting” if there are four or more injuries.

There does not have to be a death, and the injuries do not have to be the result of just one shooting incident but can be the result of numerous incidents added together. This means Senator Murphy counts a parking lot shootout–like the one WMC-TV reported between two groups of people in two separate cars in Memphis, Tennessee in October–as a “mass shooting.” And it also means that an Elkhart, Indiana, parking brawl involving over a 100 people–where some of those people pulled guns and opened fire–counts as a “mass shooting” too. The South Bend Tribune reported that “four individuals were found to be wounded” in that October 14 brawl.

Actually, I would disagree with Mr. Hawkins. Not to defend the Democrat Senator, but the FBI doesn’t have a set definition for “mass shooting.” “Mass murder,” yes. The FBI’s criterion for a mass murder is when four or more victims are killed in the same vicinity around the same time. All mass murders – involving guns, that is – are mass shootings, but not all mass shootings are mass murders. You can have a mass shooting that doesn’t result in any deaths. Technically, the Senator is correct.

You can go to shootingtracker.com, and it links to mass shootings in 2013, 2014, and 2015. The lists are compiled by gunviolencearchive.org. Even they draw a distinction:

“Mass Murder:  FOUR or more killed in a single event [incident], at the same general time and location not including the shooter.

Mass Shooting:  FOUR or more shot and/or killed in a single event [incident], at the same general time and location  not including the shooter.”

But, to Mr. Hawkins’ point, the Senator must know what most people think of as mass shootings. The media always report mass shootings. San Bernardino and that community college in Oregon were examples of mass shootings. Sandy Hook was a mass shooting, a mass school shooting. The emphasis is always on the shooting part, instead of the murder part. Technically, all the widely publicized mass shootings were mass murders. But the media and politicians want to focus on the fact that guns were used, not the fact that many people were murdered.

Because of this, most people think that mass shootings are mass murders with guns. So, when the Senator said that there were 372 mass shootings, people took that to mean that there were that many mass murders with guns. Technically, he’s correct. But he’s banking on his supporters not knowing the difference.