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In the wake of the murders in Charleston, President Obama has made more exaggerations and false claims about gun violence in America. He made two public addresses this past week — one to the nation on Thursday and one to the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Friday. On both occasions, he gave distorted impressions of how rates of violence in America compare with those in the rest of the world.
In his address to the nation, Obama claimed that, “We as a country will have to reckon with the fact 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.”
But Obama overlooks Norway, where Anders Behring Breivik used a gun to kill 67 people and wound 110 others. Still others were killed by bombs that Breivik detonated. Three of the six worst K-12 school shootings ever have occurred in Europe. Germany saw two of these — one in 2002 at Erfurt and another in 2009 at Winnenden. The combined death toll was 34. France and Belgium have both faced multiple terrorist attacks over the past year.
After adjusting for America’s much larger population, we see that many European countries actually have higher rates of death in mass public shootings.