A number of top-ranking Democrats have oft-repeated a claim that the United States has far more mass shootings than in other Western countries.
“Let’s be clear,” Barack Obama said in 2015, according to CNBC. “At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.”
“The United States is the only advanced country where this type of mass violence occurs,” said former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, according to The Hill.
Following the Parkland Highschool shooting earlier this month, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said, “This happens nowhere else other than the United States of America.”
But according to a study on mass shootings around the globe, the United States ranks 11th on a list of countries which lead the world in mass shootings per capita.
The study, led by economist John Lott at the Crime Research Prevention Center, is based on data from 2009 to 2015.
So where does the United States actually stand? Here is the list of the 18 countries with the highest rate of deaths from public mass shootings per million people:
- Norway: 1.888
- Serbia: 0.381
- France: 0.347
- Macedonia: 0.337
- Albania: 0.206
- Slovakia: 0.185
- Switzerland: 0.142
- Finland: 0.132
- Belgium: 0.128
- Czech Republic: 0.123
- United States: 0.089
- Austria: 0.068
- The Netherlands: 0. 051
- Canada: 0.032
- England: 0.027
- Germany: 0.023
- Russia: 0.012
- Italy: 0.009
Norway tops the list because of a massacre in 2011 where 77 people were killed.
“Some people have defended President Obama’s statement by pointing to the word ‘frequency.’ But, even if one puts it in terms of frequency, the president’s statement is still false, with the US ranking 12th compared to European countries,” the study authors wrote.
“There were 27% more casualties per capita from mass public shootings in EU than US from 2009-15,” the authors added.
“There were 16 cases where at least 15 people were killed,” the study says. “Out of those cases, four were in the United States, two in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. But the U.S. has a population four times greater than Germany’s and five times the U.K.’s, so on a per-capita basis the U.S. ranks low in comparison — actually, those two countries would have had a frequency of attacks 1.96 (Germany) and 2.46 (UK) times higher.”