Just as anti-gun activists fly the banner of “public health” as a justification for do-nothing gun control legislation, they also like to invoke the language of plague to describe violence committed with firearms. More and more publications speak without qualification of the “mass shooting epidemic” (a term we’ve already shown to be debunked) and the less specific “gun violence epidemic.”
One problem that occurs whenever you talk about “mass shootings” is that you have to define what one is, and anti-gun activists like to lower the threshold to inflate the numbers. But since there is less room for disagreement over what constitutes “gun violence,” this claim is even easier to reject given the ample evidence we have. A recent op-ed in the Daily Signal lays out the case against “epidemic” claims: FBI statistics show a steady drop in violent crime rates over the last 20 years. Yet gun ownership has been rising during the same time period—hardly an “outbreak” scenario.