Dan Patrick claim about mass shootings sparked our No. 5 most-clicked fact check

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick of Texas said on Meet the Press Jan. 3, 2016, that only two mass shootings since 1950 have occurred outside gun-free zone (NBC video).

Dan Patrick of Texas touched off our No. 5 most-clicked fact check from 2016 by lofting a historical claim about mass shootings.

The Republican lieutenant governor appeared on NBC’s Jan. 3 edition of Meet the Press as the Texas law permitting licensed individuals to openly carry holstered handguns took effect. Patrick told host Chuck Todd he wants to see a day "when every American citizen can simply have a gun, does not have to go through a long ordeal or pay a high price. We're going to address that in Texas, as well. Because it's the right of every individual under the Second Amendment."

Then came the historical note: "Having law-abiding citizens having guns is a good thing," Patrick said. "In fact, Chuck, every one of the mass shootings except two in America since 1950 have been" in "gun-free zones," his implication being that wrongdoers don’t open fire in places where permitted citizens may have loaded handguns.

Research John Lott Jr. delivered a basis for Patrick’s statement. But Patrick’s all-but-two assessment also rested on how you define a mass shooting or gun-free zone. Change the definitions to take in more events and you end up with more shootings in places that weren’t otherwise free of guns.

All told, we rated Patrick’s statement HALF TRUE.

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