The Kids Are Alright; It's the Grown-Ups Who Scare Me: A Comparative Look at Mass Shootings in the United States and Australia

16 Gonz. J. Int'l L. 33 (2012)

29 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2012 Last revised: 31 Jan 2013

See all articles by Mark Melter

Mark Melter

Gonzaga University, Graduate School of Business

Abstract

To the casual observer, mass shootings appear to have become commonplace in modern America. Reliable data regarding mass shootings, however, is difficult to obtain. The data that is available is often couched in partisan politics and personal agendas. The following pages attempt to bridge this disconnect by providing a historical and cultural context for mass shootings in the United States.

This article begins by refuting two common myths about modern mass shootings: first, that America is currently experiencing a mass murder epidemic; and second, that mass murder is a uniquely American phenomenon. In rebutting these myths, the author provides a background of mass shooting statistics, a profile of the typical mass shooter, and a brief explanation of the popular assertion that concealed and carry laws lower mass shooting rates. The article then illustrates Australia’s remarkably successful attempt to curb mass shootings through firearm legislation and addresses whether similar results can be achieved in the United States. The author closes by advancing three claims: First, concealed and carry laws are not sound public policy for lowering the mass shooting rate in the United States. Second, increased mental health screening and a national firearm-licensing scheme are reasonable alternatives for reducing American mass shootings. Finally, the best mechanism for curbing the global mass shooting rate is to increase worldwide access to mental health services and professionals.

Keywords: mass shootings, gun control, Second Amendment

Suggested Citation

Melter, Mark, The Kids Are Alright; It's the Grown-Ups Who Scare Me: A Comparative Look at Mass Shootings in the United States and Australia. 16 Gonz. J. Int'l L. 33 (2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2192209

Mark Melter (Contact Author)

Gonzaga University, Graduate School of Business ( email )

United States

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