Mass Shootings (MS)include multiple-victim shooting incidents that occur in connection with some other crime. These may include felony-related shootings where both the victims and offenders may be involved in unlawful activities, such as organized crime, gang activity and drug deals. Domestic disputes are incidents where the majority of victims are members of the offender’s family, not random victims as are associated with mass public shootings. Depending how the MS data is sliced, events associated with domestic violence and criminal activity make up80 to 88 percent of mass shooting incidents in the U.S. with four or more fatally injured victims (Krouse, William J. and Daniel J. Richardson, Mass Murder with Firearms: Incidents and Victims, 1999–2013, Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service, R44126, 2015.).
Although the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired on September 13, 2004, in accordance with its sunset provision, the definition provides a basis for identifying how many mass public shooters used this type of firearm. That definition of “semi-automatic weapon” included specific semi-automatic firearm models by name, and other semi-automatic firearms that possessed two or more certain features. Based on the GunFacts.info MPS Database, assault rifles were used in approximately 14 percent of those events.
High-Capacity Magazines Per the Heritage Foundation website, noted in The Current Gun Debate: Mass Shootings (March 2018), “Few mass public shooters have used high-capacity magazines, and there is no evidence that the lethality of such attacks would have been affected by delays of two to four seconds to switch magazines. In fact, some of the largest mass shootings in U.S. history were carried out with low-capacity weapons:
The Virginia Tech shooter killed 32 and injured 17 with two handguns, one of which had a 10-round magazine and the other a 15-round magazine. He simply brought 19 extra magazines.
Twenty-three people were killed and another 20 injured in a Killeen, Texas, cafeteria by a man with two 9mm handguns, capable of maximums of 15-round and 17-round magazines, respectively.
A mentally disturbed man armed with two handguns and a shotgun shot and killed 21 people in a San Ysidro McDonald’s and injured another 19. The handguns utilized 13-round and 20-round magazines, and the shotgun had a five-round capacity.
Although mass public shootings account for only 0.1 percent of the total firearm-related mortality between 2000 and 2014, they bring national attention to the issue of firearm violence. Then a familiar series of events follow: First, there is a discussion of how that particular event could have been prevented, followed by a public outcry that stricter gun laws are needed. In actuality, existing laws that, if followed, may have prevented the event in question, are often not enforced.In March, based on Michael Siegel Claire Boine’s article entitled “What Are The Most Effective Policies In Reducing Gun Homicides?”, knee-jerk reactions rooted in emotion will not solve the problem. To date, evidence shows that the problem requires solutions that are versatile and grounded in evidence. Analysis shows no significant association between homicide rates and assault weapons bans, large-capacity ammunition magazine bans, one-gun-per-month laws, “stand your ground” laws or prohibitions on gun trafficking.
The findings suggest that laws which regulate the “what” (i.e., what guns/products are allowed) do not have much of an impact on overall population homicide. In contrast, laws that regulate the “who” (i.e., who has legal access to firearms) may have an appreciable impact on firearm homicide, especially if access is restricted specifically to those people who are at the greatest risk of violence: Namely, people who have a history of violence or represent an imminent threat of violence.