For many in Congress, a big goal in the push to curb gun violence is a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban that expired in 1994. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has introduced a similar bill, which President Barack Obama will likely mention this afternoon during remarks on gun violence in Minneapolis, Minn.
Feinstein’s proposal is already being met with harsh criticism from gun-rights groups, including the NRA.
A recent report from Mayors Against Illegal Guns attempts to address some of these critiques by outlining mass shootings that have occurred in the U.S. since 2009.
A primary criticism of the proposed assault weapons ban is the idea that the vast majority of gun deaths in the U.S. aren’t performed with the aid of assault weapons. Critics of the ban hold that it will not have a notable effect on gun violence while taking away what they perceive as a right to own semiautomatic weapons.
For the most part, proponents of the ban agree. When Americans kill one another, statistics show that a handgun is typically the weapon of choice.
But an assault weapons ban is designed for an entirely different subset of homicides. It targets the mass shootings that have occurred roughly once per month since 2009, according to the Mayors Against Illegal Guns data.
When assault weapons or high capacity magazines are used in a mass shooting — 23 per cent of the time since 2009 — more people are shot and more people are killed.
Mass shooters who use an assault weapon or a high capacity magazine shoot more than twice as many people than those who use handguns, according to the MAIG data. The data also shows them to be 54 per cent more lethal.
This chart shows the average number of casualties at a mass shooting event since 2009. When a shooter doesn’t use an assault weapon or high capacity magazine, he or she shoots 7 and kills 5.4 people on average. When a shooter is using a high capacity magazine or an assault weapon, he or she shoots 15.6 and kills 8.3 people on average.
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