FACT CHECK: Gun Owners of America Spokeswoman Claims ’94 Percent of Mass Shootings Occur in Gun-Free Zones’

CLAIM: During Tuesday’s congressional testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Gun Owners of America’s (GOA) Antonia Okafor said, “94 percent of mass shootings occur in gun-free zones.”

VERDICT: True, when “gun-free zones” are defined as “places where where general citizens couldn’t carry guns.”

Okafor’s testimony is part of the Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing “examining the practices and profits of gun manufacturers.”

The hearing centered on AR-15 rifles, which Okafor said she was proud to defend. She listed numerous instances in which law-abiding citizens have used AR-15s for self-defense, then noted that mass public attacks with ARs largely occur in gun-free zones.

Okafor intimated that the attackers enjoy the gun-free zones because they know they will not face armed retaliation.

She said, “It’s not surprising that 94 percent of mass shootings occur in gun-free zones.”

In a 2014 study, updated in 2018 then again on July 6, 2019, the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) showed that 94 percent of mass public shootings between 1950 and the date(s) of the study occurred in gun-free zones.

Mass shootings which occurred in gun-free zones during the study’s time frame include the Virginia Tech University attack, which killed 32 (April 16, 2007); the Fort Hood attack, which killed 13 (November 5, 2009); the Aurora movie theater attack, which killed 12 (July 20, 2012); the Sandy Hook Elementary School attack, which killed 26 (December 12, 2014); the D.C. Navy Yard attack, which killed 13 (September 16, 2013); the Chattanooga military base attack, which killed 5 (July 16, 2015); the Umpqua Community College attack, which killed 9 (October 1, 2015); the San Bernardino attack, which killed 14 (December 2, 2015); the Orlando Pulse attack, which killed 49 (June 12, 2016); the Parkland high school attack, which killed 17 (February 14, 2018); and the Santa Fe High School attack, which killed 10 (May 18, 2018).

On July 31, 2019, Breitbart News pointed to another study by CPRC which looked at a smaller window of time and even then nearly 90 percent of mass shootings between 1998 and June 2019 occurred in gun-free zones.