8 things science has shown to be strongly linked with more gun violence - and 2 things that are not
- Mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio killed 31 people in less than 24 hours on August 3 and 4.
- President Donald Trump blamed the shootings on "gruesome video games" and "mentally ill monsters," but there's no scientific link between either of these factors and gun violence.
- Instead, scientific research shows that a history of domestic abuse and easy access to guns are strongly linked to higher rates of gun deaths.
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On Saturday, a gunman opened fire in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, killing 22 people and injuring dozens more before he was arrested. The US Justice Department is investigating the incident as an act of domestic terrorism that may have targeted immigrants.
Less than 24 hours later, another gunman killed nine people on a street in Dayton, Ohio, including his own sister, and wounded 27 others before he was killed by police.
The week before, yet another gunman, a 19-year-old, killed three people (two of them children) and injured 13 before fatally shooting himself at a festival in Gilroy, California.
Though President Donald Trump has blamed these mass shootings on mental illness and video games, the
Here's what research tells us.
Gun violence is poorly researched, but studies have strongly linked it with certain factors — and turned up little evidence for others.
One thing that is not not linked to gun violence: mental illness. So President Trump's claim that "mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger — not the gun" is unfounded.
Trump also falsely suggested that violent video games are associated with violent behavior. But researchers have found no link between mass shootings and video games.
A factor that is clearly linked with higher rates of gun violence, however, is domestic violence. The perpetrators of many of the deadliest mass shootings in recent US history had a history of domestic abuse or violence against women.
When people convicted of domestic abuse were barred from buying guns, gun deaths decreased.
Another factor with a strong link to more gun violence is access to guns.
Permissive gun policies are also associated with more shooting deaths, researchers have found.
Studies have also found a link between more gun purchases and higher rates of accidental gun deaths.
Unsurprisingly, accidental gun deaths are more likely to occur when firearms aren't kept properly locked and away from children.
There's also a clear link between assault weapons and gun massacre deaths. After Congress let a 1994 ban on assault weapons expire in 2004, gun massacres increased by 183%, and associated deaths went up 239%.
Researchers and policy experts think a new ban on assault weapons could reduce mass-shooting deaths.
A lack of background checks is also associated with higher rates gun violence.
Finally, concealed-carry policies are also associated with increased firearm homicide rates.
In 2019 so far, there have been 255 mass shootings in the US, and 8,936 people have died from gun violence, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
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