Guns, Gun Control, and Shootings since Sandy Hook
On the third anniversary of the Dec. 14, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting (during which 20 children and 6 adults were fatally shot), the media is reviewing guns, gun control, and shootings. Collected below are just a few of the statistics.
At least 555 American children under the age of 12 were killed by gun violence since the Sandy Hook shooting. In the four years before Sandy Hook, an average of 212 children under 12 were killed by gun violence per year according to the CDC.
67% of Americans stated that mass shootings are a “critical issue” in the United States, according to a Dec. 10, 2015 Public Religion Research Institute survey. 71% believed shootings and random acts of violence are “now [a] normal part of American life,” according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. The same poll found that 67% of Americans were not worried or only slightly worried that a loved one will be the victim of gun violence.
Google Trends data shows that US searches for “concealed carry” have increased dramatically, rising almost 70% from Nov. 2012, right before the Sandy Hook shooting. John Lott, PhD, founder and President of Crime Prevention Research Center, estimated that, in 2015, there are approximately 12.8 million concealed carry permit holders, an increase of 8.2 million permits since 2007.
An Oct. 20, 2015 Gallup poll found that 56% of Americans believed more concealed carry weapons would make the country safer. However, 41% believed more concealed carry weapons would make the country less safe. The same poll found a majority, 86%, favored universal background checks with a centralized database for gun purchases.
Eugene Volokh, Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law, found 10 instances in which an armed civilian has stopped or prevented a mass shooting since 2007. Volokh’s list includes the Apr. 17, 2015 shooting in which an Uber driver shot and wounded a gunman who was firing on a busy Chicago intersection. The Violence Policy Center has documented 29 mass shootings (three or more people killed) since 2007 in which the shooter was a concealed carry permit holder. That list includes the Chapel Hill, NC man who shot three of his Muslim neighbors on Feb. 10, 2015.
Search data for the term “gun control” from Google Trends shows an increase immediately following an event—a 61% increase following the Sandy Hook shooting, for example—but, overall, the search term remains steady and relatively low. Meanwhile, search data for “gun shop” has steadily increased over time, with spikes following events, such as a 34% increase following the Sandy Hook shooting.
Similarly, gun sales have steadily increased since 2000, according to estimates based on federal background checks, with dramatic increases in sales after an event. Two million guns were sold in Jan. 2013 after the Sandy Hook shooting and President Obama’s reelection, compared to 754,000 guns sold in the month of Sep. 2011. An estimated 1.2 million guns were sold in Nov. 2015. Gun sales also showed regional increases in reaction to events such as Hurricane Katrina. Also of note is the type of guns being sold. In 2000, rifles and shotguns were over 50% more popular than handguns but, as of 2014, handguns are the more popular purchase.
Gun control advocates continue to call for more legislation they believe will stem or stop shooting violence while gun rights advocates remain firm that more concealed weapons permits will help citizens stop gun violence. The 2016 Presidential candidate’s positions on gun control may be found on our 2016 Election site.
Gregor Aisch and Josh Keller, “What Drives Gun Sales: Terrorism, Politics and Calls for Restrictions,” www.nytimes.com, Dec. 10, 2015
Mike Brunker and Polly DeFrank, “Since Sandy Hook, an American Kid Has Died by a Gun Every Other Day,” www.nbcnews.com, Dec. 14, 2015
CDC, WISQARS, www.cdc.gov (accessed Dec. 14, 2015)
Julia Dahl, “Wife of Alleged NC Killer: He ‘Believed Everyone Was Equal,'” www.cbsnews.com, Feb. 11, 2015
Google Trends, www.google.com/trends (accessed Dec. 14, 2015)
Christopher Ingraham, “After San Bernardino, Everyone Wants to Be a ‘Good Guy with a Gun,'” www.washingtonpost.com, Dec. 10, 2015
Christopher Ingraham, “People with Concealed Carry Permits Have Committed at Least 29 Mass Shootings since 2007,” www.washingtonpost.com, Oct. 26, 2015
Mark Murray, “Poll: 71% Say Shooting Violence Now Normal Part of American Life,” www.nbcnews.com, Dec. 14, 2015
Frank Newport, “Majority Say More Concealed Weapons Would Make U.S. Safer,” www.gallup.com, Oct. 20, 2015
Public Religion Research Institute, “Survey / Nearly Half of Americans Worried that They or Their Family Will Be a Victim of Terrorism,” publicreligion.org, Dec. 12, 2015
Eugene Volokh, “Do Citizens (Not Police Officers) with Guns Ever Stop Mass Shootings?,” www.washingtonpost.com, Oct. 3, 2015
Jeff Ziezulewicz, “Uber Driver, Licensed to Carry Gun, Shoots Gunman in Logan Square,” www.chicagotribune.com, Apr. 20, 2015