Written by Bob Adelmann
President Obama’s reiteration of his claim that “this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency” on Tuesday following the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs, galvanized John Lott to refute it. Lott, the author of More Guns, Less Crime and founder of the Crime Prevention Research Center, examined the facts and published them at Fox News.
First, Lott noted, Obama was speaking from Paris, France, which country has suffered not one, not two, but three mass public shootings this year: two in January (one at the headquarters of the Charlie Hebdo magazine followed by the other in a Paris supermarket), and then the horrific attack in November where 129 people were killed and 352 injured. As Lott explained:
In just 2015 [alone], France suffered more casualties — killings and injuries — from mass public shootings that the U.S. has suffered during Obama’s entire presidency. This number includes the San Bernardino massacre on Wednesday.
Wrote Lott, when measured by mass shooting fatalities per million people, Macedonia was highest, followed by Serbia, Slovakia, Finland, Belgium, and the Czech Republic. The United States came in at 8th place.
When measured by frequency of attacks, Lott wrote, Macedonia again comes in with the highest frequency, followed by Serbia, Switzerland, Norway, Slovakia, Finland, Belgium, and the Czech Republic. The United States ranked 9th.
Politifact.com, a project operated by the Tampa Bay Times in which reporters and editors fact-check statements by members of Congress, the White House, lobbyists and various interest groups, has repeatedly been asked to verify this statement from Obama, along with others he has made over the years. Following the church shootings in Charleston, Obama said: “this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.” Responded Politifact:
The data shows that it clearly happens in other countries, and in at least three of them, there’s evidence that the rate of killings in mass-shooting events occurred at a higher per-capita rate than in the United States between 2000 and 2014.
The only partial support for Obama’s claim is that the per-capita gun-incident fatality rate in the United States does rank in the top one-third of the list of 11 countries studied.
On balance, we rate [Obama’s] claim Mostly False.
Politifact gave its “Lie of the Year” in 2013 to President Obama for his lie that “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” In fact, writers and editors at Politifact have been kept busy trying to keep up with Obama’s lies. Here are just a few of the more memorable ones:
The “most realistic estimates” for jobs created by Keystone XL are “maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline.” Politifact: His own administration’s estimates say otherwise.
“We’ve got close to 7 million Americans who have access to health care for the first time because of Medicaid expansion.” Politifact: Well under half that.
“We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas.” Politifact: Doubled … in 2025.
“Fast and Furious” began under the Bush administration. Politifact: “Fast and Furious” began in 2009.
If the Supreme Court throws out the federal health care law, it “would be an unprecedented extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically-elected Congress.” Politifact: Slim majority, not unprecedented.
“I didn’t raise taxes once.” Politifact: We’ve tracked a few increases.
“The vast majority of the money I got was from small donors all across the country.” Politifact: Big donors bankrolled much of Obama’s campaign.
Insurers delayed an Illinois man’s treatment, “and he died because of it.” Politifact: Insurer’s decision was reversed and the man lived three more years.
“I have not said that I was a single-payer supporter.” Politifact: Oh, yes he did.
In concluding his review of the facts in refuting Obama’s claim about mass shootings in the United States, Lott said:
Can Obama actually believe his claim that these attacks “just don’t happen in other countries?” More likely, Obama is willing to go to any extreme as he pushes for European-type gun control [here].
The last thing he wants to admit is that countries with such strict gun-control laws can have so many deadly attacks.