Written by Andrew Follett, Energy and Environmental Reporter, 06/20/2016
Blue states have 42 percent more mass shootings than red states after adjusting for population, according to data published by Vox, a progressive media outlet, and examined by The Daily Caller News Foundation. Vox published its data after the Orlando terror attack last Sunday, and it suggests that blue states, which tend to have extremely strict gun laws, are ironically much more likely to have mass shootings than red states with less strict gun laws.
TheDCNF’s analysis found that 543 of the mass shootings listed by Vox occurred in blue states while only 330 occurred in red states. If adjusted to account for differences in the size of population, blue states have .381 mass shootings per 100,000 people, while red states have a mere .267.Places where Democrats controlled the state legislature were even more likely to have mass shootings than the average blue state. This means that a mass shooting, as defined by Vox, is 42 percent more likely to occur in a blue state after accounting for population differences.
The deep blue areas of Washington, D.C. and Maryland led the nation with 2.38 and .998 mass shootings per 100,000 people. Illinois, Delaware, Michigan Rhode Island, and California were relatively close behind and had more mass shootings than the blue state average, according to Vox’s data.
Gun laws are generally drafted by state legislatures — Democrats control both branches of the state legislature in Maryland, Illinois, Delaware, Rhode Island, and California. Washington, D.C., which had the worst per capita mass shootings, does not have a state legislature, but every member of the current city council is a Democrat and the city has never elected a Republican mayor. This correlation between mass shootings and Democratic control of state legislature is especially striking as Democrats are currently in full control of just 11 state legislatures while the GOP is in full control of 30 state legislatures.
The typical liberal explanation for this is that mass shooters go to red states to buy guns, which they use in blue states. Even progressive Politifact finds these claims “misleading for a varied number of reasons.” This also ignores the fact that there are already roughly 360 million firearms in America, or more guns than people.
Republicans currently control the state legislature and the governor’s office of Michigan, but the state has consistently voted for Democrats in the last six presidential elections. During the last six years, the GOP has won governorships in purple and even deep blue states: Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, New Mexico.
Of the top ten states by mass shootings per capita, TheDCNF’s analysis found that six of them were deep blue states. Several red states such as Idaho, North Dakota, and Wyoming did not have a single mass shooting.
TheDCNF concluded that a state was blue or red based on how it voted in each of the last four presidential elections. This methodology only factored in America’s 22 red states and 18 blue states. This means that if everything else was even, statistically, red states should be over-represented as there are more of them. This methodology excluded large swings states like Ohio and Florida and states, which leaned red or blue.
TheDCNF previously found that of the 998 “mass shootings” noted by Vox only 86, or roughly eight percent, meet the threshold of a “mass murder,” as defined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and academics. Vox’s data claimed America had 11.6 times more mass shootings than actually occurred. This lack of “mass murder” didn’t stop Vox founder Ezra Klein from tweeting out an updated map of 998 “mass shootings,” which was retweeted almost 25,000 times and favorited more than 22,000 times.
Vox’s definition of a “mass shooting” isn’t an official one taken from law enforcement or academia, but appears to be originally created by anti-gun activists from the website Reddit. Vox defined a mass shooting as any shooting where four or more people are injured or killed, not counting the shooter. Criminologists and law enforcement, however define it as four or more people killed, not counting the shooter.
Daily Caller interns Dan Chaison, Josh Hamburger, Ford Springer and Jacqueline Thomas contributed to the analysis of Vox’s data that went into this report.