Mass shootings in the United States
- High-capacity ammunition magazines are the common thread that runs through most mass shootings: giving attackers the ability to fire numerous bullets without reloading....
Here are just 10 of the U.S. mass shootings that involved high-capacity ammunition magazines.
1. Hartford Distributors
On August 3, 2010, concealed handgun permit holder Omar Thornton, armed with a Sturm, Ruger SR9 semi-automatic pistol and high-capacity ammunition magazine, opened fire on his co-workers at beer distributor Hartford Distributors in Manchester, CT, killing eight and wounding two before taking his own life.
2. Fort Hood
On November 5, 2009, Nidal Hasan, armed with an FN 5.7 semi-automatic pistol and 30- and 20-round high-capacity ammunition magazines, killed 13 and wounded more than 30 at the Fort Hood military base in Fort Hood, TX.
3. Virginia Tech
On April 16, 2007, Seung-Hui Cho, armed with a Glock 19 semi-automatic pistol, Walther P22 semi-automatic pistol, and 15-round high-capacity ammunition magazines, killed 32 and wounded 17 on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, before taking his own life.
4. Xerox Office Building
On November 2, 1999, Byran Uyesugi, armed with a Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol and three 15-round high-capacity magazines, opened fire at the Xerox Office Building in Honolulu, HA, killing seven.
5. Wedgewood Baptist Church
On September 15, 1999, Larry Gene Ashbrook, armed with a Sturm, Ruger P85 9mm semi-automatic pistol and three 15-round high-capacity magazines, opened fire at Wedgewood Baptist Church, killing seven and wounding seven before taking his own life.
On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, armed with an Intratec TEC-DC9 semi-automatic assault pistol, Hi-Point 9mm semi-automatic Carbine, two Savage shotguns, and high-capacity ammunition magazines, killed 13 and wounded 23 at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO, before taking their own lives.
7. Long Island Railroad
On December 7, 1993, Colin Ferguson, armed with a Sturm, Ruger P89 9mm semi-automatic pistol and four 15-round high-capacity ammunition magazines, opened fire on Long Island Railroad commuters, killing six and wounding 19.
8. Pettit & Martin, 101 California
On July 1, 1993, Gian Luigi Ferri, armed with two Intratec TEC-DC9 semi-automatic assault pistols, a 45 caliber semi-automatic pistol, and 40- to 50-round high-capacity ammunition magazines, opened fire at the San Francisco, CA, law firm of Pettit & Martin, killing eight and and wounding six before taking his own life.
9. Luby's Cafeteria
On October 16, 1991, George Hennard, armed with a Sturm, Ruger P89 semi-automatic pistol, Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistol, and 17- and 15-round magazines, killed 23 and wounded 20 at Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, TX, before taking his own life.
On January 17, 1989, Patrick Purdy, armed with an AK-47 semi-automatic assault rifle, Taurus 9mm semi-automatic pistol, an unidentified semi-automatic pistol, and a 75-round high-capacity drum magazine, opened fire on grade school children at Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, CA, killing five and wounding 30 before taking his own life.
- Sugarmann, Josh (January 13, 2011). "10 U.S. Mass Shootings Involving High-Capacity Ammunition Magazines". HuffPost. Retrieved on October 17, 2018.
- Investigators say that on Nov. 30, Jared L. Loughner went to a Sportsman’s Warehouse in Tucson, Ariz., and bought a Glock 19, which sells for roughly $500. He is accused of using it during a rampage on Jan. 8 that left 6 people dead and 13 wounded, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, who also owns a Glock....
The guns are popular with law enforcement, consumers and, apparently, some young men intent on massacre. Seung-Hui Cho, who killed 32 at Virginia Tech University in 2007, and Steven Kazmierczak, who killed five at Northern Illinois University in 2008, were armed with Glocks.
- In America today—where virtually anyone with a credit card and a grudge can outfit their own personal army—mass shootings are as predictable as they are tragic. Just as predictably, those who celebrate this lethal shift—the NRA and its gun industry partners remain mute when families and communities suffer the consequences. And when attention fades, they'll once again resume their lethal trade, unless we stand together as Americans to stop them.
- Violence Policy Center and others, joint statement, July 20 2012 (Over 30 National, State, and Local Gun Violence Prevention Groups Issue Statement on Colorado Mass Shooting. Violence Policy Center (July 20, 2012).; Horwitz, Sari (July 20, 2012). "Glock semiautomatic pistol links recent mass shootings". The Washington Post. )
- The feverish demand for military-style rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines is outstripping supply, ahead of legislative efforts to ban them in the wake of mass shootings....
Online retailers are running out of semiautomatic rifles -- known variously as assault weapons, tactical rifles or modern sporting rifles -- and magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds.
Brick-and-mortar gun shops are also working furiously to meet demand.
- These results indicate that fatalities due to mass shootings were lower during both the federal and state assault weapons ban periods. Although some prior research has shown either that assault weapons bans did not reduce crime or that they actually increased gun-related murder rates, the present study’s focus on mass shootings shows the effectiveness of these gun control measures in reducing murders due to mass shootings. Regarding the injury regression, state-level assault weapons bans had no statistically-significant effects, but the federal ban had a significant and negative effect on mass shooting injuries....the present study’s focus on mass shootings shows the effectiveness of these gun control measures in reducing murders due to mass shootings...In 2012, for example, there were 72 fatalities due to mass public shootings. Of those 72, at least 30 were committed using a rifle. In the same year, there were 12,765 murders, of which only 322 were committed using a rifle. Rifles (assault weapons) are used much more frequently in mass shootings than they are in murders in general. Hence, any law that restricts access to rifles is likely to be much more effective in reducing mass shootings than it is in reducing murders in general.
- More than one a day.
That is how often, on average, shootings that left four or more people wounded or dead occurred in the United States this year, according to compilations of episodes derived from news reports.
Including the worst mass shooting of the year, which unfolded horrifically on Wednesday in San Bernardino, Calif., a total of 462 people have died and 1,314 have been wounded in such attacks this year, many of which occurred on streets or in public settings, the databases indicate.
- LaFraniere, Sharon; Cohen, Sarah; Oppel Jr., Richard A. (December 2, 2015). "How Often Do Mass Shootings Occur? On Average, Every Day, Records Show". The New York Times.
- If it sounds familiar that a gunman in a mass shooting would have a history of domestic violence, it should...When Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control group, analyzed F.B.I. data on mass shootings from 2009 to 2015, it found that 57 percent of the cases included a spouse, former spouse or other family member among the victims — and that 16 percent of the attackers had previously been charged with domestic violence.
- Taub, Amanda (June 15, 2016). "Control and Fear: What Mass Killings and Domestic Violence Have in Common". The New York Times. ; Mayer, Jane (June 16, 2017). "The Link Between Domestic Violence and Mass Shootings". The New Yorker.
- By now, the pattern of public response is tragically familiar. Cable news covers the atrocities around the clock. Victims’ relatives and political leaders express horror, outrage, and resolve. Editorials call for new laws to limit access to the tools of mass murder. Gun rights advocates respond that the answer lies in getting more guns into the right hands, not in gun bans that will prove ineffectual in a nation that already boasts approximately 300 million guns, or eighty-eight for every hundred people....
A few isolated states may strengthen their gun laws, but at least an equal number will do the opposite.
- Recent research done by Everytown for Gun Safety has found that of the mass shootings in the United States between 2009 and 2015, 57 percent included victims who were a family member, spouse, or former spouse of the shooter. Sixteen percent of attackers had been previously charged with domestic violence. A recent piece in the New York Times suggested that the impulse toward domestic, gendered violence may be the thing that draws a few terrorists toward the Islamic State, since ISIS’s practices include sexual slavery and a fidelity to traditional gender norms as recruiting tools for young men.
But that doesn’t make any religion — whether it’s Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel’s Islam or Robert Lewis Dear’s evangelical Christianity — the defining factor in mass shootings. Perhaps these disturbed men — and 98 percent of mass killers are men — are drawn to the patriarchal traditions upheld by some religions to make sense of or justify their anger and resentment toward women. But we might do better to examine the patterns of violence toward women themselves.
- Our father, Eugene Stoner, designed the AR-15 and subsequent M-16 as a military weapon to give our soldiers an advantage over the AK-47. He died long before any mass shootings occurred. But, we do think he would have been horrified and sickened as anyone, if not more by these events.
- The family of Eugene Stoner, speaking under condition of individual anonymity to NBC News on June 16, 2016, after the June 12, 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting (Dokoupil, Tony (June 16, 2016). "Family of AR-15 Inventor Eugene Stoner: He Didn't Intend It for Civilians". NBC News. Retrieved on August 25, 2018. ; Frizell, Sam (June 16, 2016). "AR-15 Inventor's Family: This Was Meant to Be a Military Weapon". Time. Retrieved on September 23, 2018. ).
- What do James Holmes, Adam Lanza, and Omar Mateen have in common? Besides being the perpetrators of three of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, they all share a preference for the AR-15 assault rifle. The AR-15 assault rifle was used at the Aurora, Colo. shooting, the Newtown, Conn. shooting, and now the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla. that killed 50 and is officially the deadliest such massacre in U.S. history...While Colt alone makes the official AR-15, variants and knock-offs are made by a huge number of gun manufactures, including Bushmaster, Les Baer, Remington, Smith & Wesson (swhc, +0.00%), and Sturm & Ruger (rgr, -2.04%), just to name a few. TacticalRetailer claims that from 2000 to 2015 the AR manufacturing sector expanded from 29 AR makers to about 500, “a stunning 1,700% increase.”
- O’Dea, Meghan (June 13, 2016). "What Makes the AR-15 So Appealing to Mass Shooters?". Fortune. Retrieved on October 19, 2018.
- So why is the AR-15 so appealing to mass shooters?
To answer that question, it’s best to look at why the AR-15 is so popular in general...
Essentially, the AR-15 is a versatile civilian-grade firearm that boasts ease of use, sheer firepower, and a certain cultural and aesthetic cache...
Relatively inexpensive, readily available, highly customizable, and easily modified (whether legally or into a fully automatic weapon), the reasons for the AR-15’s popularity are apparent.
- O’Dea, Meghan (June 13, 2016). "What Makes the AR-15 So Appealing to Mass Shooters?". Fortune. Retrieved on October 19, 2018.
- On July 20, 2012, a mass murderer killed 12 and wounded 58 others at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., using a Smith & Wesson M&P15. On Dec. 12, 2012, another mass murderer killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., using his mother's Bushmaster XM15-E2S. The letter and number suffixes belie a simple truth -- the guts of both guns look just like an M-16 or, as it is known for civilian use, an AR-15. OK, the M-16 can fire in fully automatic mode but otherwise, the same.
In Orlando just this month, it was a similar type of semiautomatic assault weapon, a Sig Sauer MCX, that helped claim 49 lives.
- Kingsbury, Alex (June 16 2016). "Meet the must-have Bling for Your Gun". Boston Globe.
- The AR-15 is the model of gun used in several recent mass shootings in America, including the massacres at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012 and the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in June this year.
It is not unusual that gun sales rise at election time in the US. The more dramatic surges usually come in the immediate aftermath of mass shootings, however, as buyers both feel greater concern about their own safety and fear a US government response to crack down sales.
In the year that followed Newton, Sturm Ruger, Remington Outdoor, and Smith & Wesson - the three most important gun manufacturers in the US - saw a windfall of over $390 million in profits on record sales. Shares in publicly traded Sturm Ruger and Smith & Wesson jumped more than 70 percent in the same year.
- Usborne, David (November 2, 2016). "Fear of Hillary Clinton victory sends gun manufacturer sales and profits soaring". The Independent. Retrieved on November 4, 2018.
- For full disclosure, I own 12 guns and have always been an avid wapiti hunter. But I have also experienced the Columbine School and Aurora Theater shootings and I do not own an AR-15.
An astounding fact is that gun homicide rates in the United States are 25 times higher than any other high-income country in the world. The objective of this Committee on Trauma survey was to identify areas of consensus to develop action plans.
Although laudable, this process carries a risk of merely supporting the bandwagons already in motion. In that light, I would like to focus on the conspicuous area of disagreement, specifically, civilian access to assault rifles. These weapons are designed to permit the shooter to deliver sequentially, as fast as the trigger can be pulled, life-threatening moderate energy missiles, resulting in multiple deaths at short distance over a short time period.
The debate is not about ammunition. These same bullets are used for small game hunting, but at a longer distance. The fundamental issue is the magazine capacity of rifles, housing 30 or more bullets, enabling rapid shooting. Mass shootings, defined as greater than or equal to five victims, are currently an epidemic in our country, reported as literally occurring every week. The volatile issue in controlling gun violence is eliminating assault rifles to reduce mass shootings and fundamentally distills into the interpretation of the Second Amendment "to keep and bear Arms." I do not believe a randomized, prospective trial is necessary to establish the fact that mass shootings are only feasible because irresponsible individuals have access to these weapons, designed by the military to accomplish this mission.
- Dr. Ernest E. Moore, trauma surgeon, editor of the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery (American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma Injury Prevention and Control Committee (May 2017). "Survey of American College of Surgeons Committee on trauma members on firearm injury: Consensus and opportunities". Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery 82 (5): pp. 877-886. doi:10.1097/TA.0000000000001405. PMID 28240673. )
- No outer trauma or inner demon can justify the worst mass killing in northeast Pennsylvania — one of the deadliest sprees of violence in American history.
Banks sits alone in his cell at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford for days at a time, occupied by the fantasies and delusions that have played in his psyche since before the Sept. 25, 1982, shooting spree that left 13 people dead in Wilkes Barre and Jenkins Township, including five of his own children....
Banks wore military-style fatigues and a T-shirt that read, “Kill ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out,” as he used an M-16 rifle and an AR-15 automatic rifle to end the lives of girlfriends Regina Clemens, 29, Dorothy Lyons, 29, Sharon Mazzillo, 24, and Susan Yuhas, 23; sons Kissmayu, 5, Boende, 4, and Forarode, 1; daughters Montanzima, 6, and Maritanya, 1; and four others: Lyons’ daughter, Nancy, 11; Mazzillo’s nephew, Scott, 7, and mother, Alice, 47; and Raymond Hall, 24, a guest at a party across the street from the Schoolhouse Lane crime scene.
- "Decades on death row: Now delusional, George Banks killed 13 people, including 5 of his children in 1982". The Patriot-News. Associated Press (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania). September 29, 2017. Retrieved on November 6, 2018.
- Whether a state has a large capacity ammunition magazine ban is the single best predictor of the mass shooting rate in that state.
- Michael Siegel, professor of community health science professor at the Boston University School of Public Health (Petulla, Sam (October 5, 2017). "Here is 1 correlation between state gun laws and mass shootings". CNN. )
- While nearly anything, including human hands, may be used to kill, the gun is created for the specific purpose of killing a living creature.
Gun-love can be akin to non-chemical addictions like gambling or hoarding, either of which can have devastating effects, mainly economic, but murder, suicide, accidental death, and mass shootings result only from guns....
Although each of these mass killings is idiosyncratic, they often share many features, including but not limited to the most obvious, which bears repeating – their use of guns....
Indeed, the history of public mass shootings by a lone gunman killing or wounding strangers parallels the rise of the gun rights movement and the United States’ ramped-up militarism, suggesting that it is not only the sheer number of guns in the hands of private citizens or the lack of regulation and licensing, but also a gun culture at work, along with a military culture, a more difficult matter to resolve than imposing regulations on firearms.
- Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Professor Emerita of Ethnic Studies at California State University (Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne (November 10, 2017). "Inside the minds of American mass shooters". The Guardian. ; Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne (2018). Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment. City Lights. ISBN 9780872867246. )
- Here is a look at other shooting sprees in the U.S.:
* June 12, 2016: Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard, kills 49 people and wounds 58 others at a gay nightclub in Orlando that was hosting a Latin night. Mateen was killed by police. It was the deadliest terror attack in the U.S. since 9/11, and at the time was the worst mass shooting in the nation by a single gunman.
* April 16, 2007: Seung Hui Cho, a 23-year-old student, went on a shooting spree at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., killing 32 people, before killing himself.
* Dec. 14, 2012: Adam Lanza, 20, gunned down 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School before killing himself.
* Oct. 16, 1991: George Hennard, 35, crashed his pickup through the wall of Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas. He shot and killed 23 people before committing suicide.
* July 18, 1984: James Huberty, 41, gunned down 21 adults and children at a McDonald's in San Ysidro, Calif., before being killed by police.
* Aug. 1, 1966: Charles Joseph Whitman, a former U.S. Marine, shot and killed 16 people from a university tower at the University of Texas in Austin before being shot by police.
* Aug. 20, 1986: A part-time mail carrier, Patrick Henry Sherrill, shot and killed 14 postal workers in Edmund, Okla., before killing himself.
* Dec. 2, 2015: Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married couple living in Redlands, Calif., opened fire at a San Bernardino County Department of Public Health training event and holiday party, killing 14 people and injuring 22 in a matter of minutes. Farook, an American-born U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, worked at the health department. Malik had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in a Facebook post before the shooting.
* Nov. 5, 2009: U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan fatally shot 13 people and injured 30 others at Fort Hood near Killeen, Texas. Hasan, a psychiatrist, appeared to have been radicalized by an Islamic cleric. He was convicted and sentenced to death.
* Sept. 16, 2013: Gunman Aaron Alexis, 34, fatally shot 12 people and injured three others at the headquarters of the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, D.C. He was later killed by police.
* July 20, 2012: James Holmes gunned down 12 people in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater. Last year he was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted murder and sentenced to 12 consecutive life sentences plus 3,318 years without parole.
* Oct. 1, 2015: Christopher Harper-Mercer, a 26-year-old student at Umpqua Community College near Roseburg, Ore., shot an assistant professor and eight students in a classroom. After a shootout with police, he committed suicide.
* June 18, 2015: A gunman opened fire at a weekly Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. Nine people were killed, including the pastor Clementa Pinckney; a 10th victim survived. The morning after the attack police arrested a suspect, Dylann Roof, 21, who said he wanted to start a race war. In December 2016 Roof was convicted of 33 federal hate crimes charges, and in January he was sentenced to death.
* July 16, 2015: Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez opened fire on two military installations in Chattanooga, Tenn. The first was a drive-by shooting at a recruiting center; the second was at a U.S. Navy Reserve center. Four Marines and a Navy sailor died; a Marine recruit officer and a police officer were wounded. Abdulazeez was killed by police in a gunfight.
* Nov. 27, 2015: A gunman attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo., killing a police officer and two civilians and injuring nine others. Robert Lewis Dear was taken into custody after a five-hour standoff and charged with first-degree murder.
- Miller, Susan (October 2, 2017). "Las Vegas shooting now tops list of worst mass shootings in U.S. history". USA Today.
- Whether a state has a large capacity ammunition magazine ban is the single best predictor of the mass shooting rate in that state.
- Michael Siegel, professor of community health sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health (Petulla, Sam (October 5, 2017). "Here is 1 correlation between state gun laws and mass shootings". CNN. )
- These are the things you can count on like clockwork after each of the mass murders that have become a grimly familiar American trope: The National Rifle Association’s Twitter account goes silent. The Onion’s painfully on-point satire, “‘No Way to Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens,” makes the rounds again. And there’s a chorus of outrage against “politicizing the tragedy.”... Perhaps the single most terrifying thing we’ve discovered in five years of in-depth reporting on gun violence is how little is actually known about what is now an undeniable public health crisis. This ignorance is not happenstance. It is willful and politically motivated, the direct result of concerted efforts to suppress research and reporting on this topic. And it deprives all of us of the information we need to stop these tragedies and save lives...
- Mass shootings are only “inexplicable” if we let them be... Surely, there must be data out there somewhere. We’d go find it... No one in academia, media, or government had compiled a basic study of how often someone heads to a public place with a gun and murders strangers. Nor had anyone investigated the context to these killings: How did shooters get their weapons? What kind did they use? How many had symptoms of mental illness or psychopathy? We also found out the reason... Much like the tobacco industry in its day, the gun lobby sees data as its enemy. Thanks to gun industry advocates in Congress, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been prohibited from using government funds to investigate gun violence since 1996.... We spent two years working with outside researchers to discover the staggering total (cost of gun violence in the U.S.): $229 billion, more than $700 for every American. Per year.
..The more we, as a society, confront the facts on this issue, the more reaction after tragedies... can shift from wonderment about “inexplicable” violence to insight and action. Mass shootings are only inexplicable if we let them be.
- The ‘pathway to violence’ refers to a series of escalating behaviors leading to an attack, which can comprise a crucial period of time for possible intervention. Typically this process begins with a deep-seated grievance that turns to motivation, followed by planning and then an act of targeted violence. Though the process varies widely in its circumstances and duration, it precedes virtually all mass shootings.
- Mark Follman quoted in Here Is Exactly the Right Time to Talk About Gun Violence, Some surprising lessons from five years of reporting on mass shootings,Mother Jones, October 10, 2017
- Because an AR-15, or a variant, was reportedly used in several mass shootings — including Aurora, Colorado; Newtown, Connecticut; San Bernardino,California; Sutherland Springs, Texas; Las Vegas and Parkland, Florida, in which a total of 154 people were killed — this civilian sibling of a military assault rifle is an exceptionally polarizing product of modern American industry. The AR-15 and its semiautomatic cousins — they shoot one round for each pull of the trigger ─ incite repulsion among those who see them as excessive, grotesque and having no place on the civilian market.
It is the focus of multiple attempts at prohibition, which in turn has prompted people to run out and buy more. Such “panic buying” drove sales of AR-15s to record levels during the presidency of Barack Obama and the 2016 presidential campaign.
- Schuppe, Jon (December 27, 2017). "America's rifle: Why so many people love the AR-15". NBC News. Retrieved on November 6, 2018.
- Turn on your television right now. You're going to see scenes of children running for their lives. What looks to be the nineteenth school shooting in this country, and we have not even hit March ... This happens nowhere else other than the United States of America. This epidemic of mass slaughter, this scourge of school shooting after school shooting, it only happens here not because of coincidence, not because of bad luck, but as a consequence of our inaction. We are responsible for a level of mass atrocity that happens in this country with zero parallel anywhere else.
- Senator Chris Murphy in a speech to the Senate. Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy on Florida Shooting: ‘We Are Responsible’, thedailybeast.com (February 14, 2018)
- The AR-15, the civilian version of the military assault rifle (M16 or M4), has become the most commonly used rifle in US mass shootings; the recent shootings in Parkland and Las Vegas, for instance, testify to the effectiveness of this weapon’s design. It was made for the military, to allow members of the armed forces to better dispatch multiple enemies in short order; in the hands of civilians, it not only clearly serves the same purpose for some individuals, but it’s unclear what other purpose it could serve, given how and why it was made.
...a typical 9mm handgun wound to the liver will produce a pathway of tissue destruction in the order of 1-2 inches. In comparison, an AR-15 round to the liver will literally pulverize it, much like dropping a watermelon onto concrete results in the destruction of the watermelon. Wounds like this, as one sees in school shootings like Sandy Hook and Parkland where AR-15s were used, have high fatality rates....
The efficiency of the AR-15 is further compounded by large capacity ammunition magazines that permit feeding 30 or more bullets into the rifle without reloading.
Mass shootings with high fatalities are fundamentally the result of the combination of a deranged individual who wants to end the lives of a large number of random humans and his or her ability to access an assault rifle.
- Dr. Ernest E. Moore, trauma surgeon, editor of the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery (Moore, Ernest E. (February 15, 2018). "The Parkland shooter's AR-15 was designed to kill as efficiently as possible". NBC News. Retrieved on August 25, 2018. ).
- The N.R.A. calls the AR-15 the most popular rifle in America. The carnage in Florida on Wednesday that left at least 17 dead seemed to confirm that the rifle and its variants have also become the weapons of choice for mass killers.
- Oppel Jr., Richard A. (15 February 2018), "In Florida, an AR-15 Is Easier to Buy Than a Handgun", The New York Times, retrieved on September 3, 2018
- On the civilian market, the AR-15 didn’t sell terribly well for years, in part because of its connection with the Vietnam conflict, which was no one’s idea of a model of American greatness. Many gun enthusiasts didn’t like the AR-15 because it was so light; some dismissed it as feeling like a toy.
But the AR-15 found new life in 2004 when President George W. Bush allowed the ban on assault weapons that had been enacted under President Bill Clinton in 1994 to die.
And in 2005, Bush signed into law a measure protecting arms makers and dealers from liability for crimes committed with their products. The NRA called it “the most significant piece of pro-gun legislation in twenty years.”
AR-15s flew off the shelves. Sales spiked again during the Obama administration, when the country suffered a flurry of mass shootings, which in turn led to calls by Democrats to reinstate the ban on assault weapons. Persistent campaigns by the NRA and many Republican supporters of gun rights spread the idea that President Barack Obama intended to ban and confiscate Americans’ firearms, leading to a massive surge in sales. Obama never launched any such initiative.
- Marc Fisher, senior editor of the The Washington Post (Fisher, Marc (February 15, 2018). "The AR-15: ‘America’s rifle’ or illegitimate killing machine?". The Washington Post. Retrieved on November 6, 2018. ).
- The ability to add a high-capacity magazine to the rifles is certainly one factor that makes them attractive to people looking to commit mass murder. A 30-round magazine is fairly standard with MSRs (although some states cap the capacity to 10 or 15 rounds), but "drums" holding as many as 100 rounds are also available.
- Cummings, William; Jansen, Bart (February 15, 2017). "Why the AR-15 keeps appearing at America's deadliest mass shootings". USA Today. Retrieved on September 26, 2018.
- Even though it’s illegal for the CDC to study gun violence and how to prevent it, there are still some data. One fact is that the AR-15 has emerged as a gun of choice for mass shootings—used in Parkland this week as well as Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, Orlando, and many other places now synonymous with tragedy. Meanwhile, in Kansas, a Republican congressional candidate is giving away an AR-15 as part of his campaign.
Unlike pornography, the AR-15 was not a product designed for pleasure or fantasy, but for maximizing harm, a triumph of “wound ballistics.”
- Our nation mourns once again a horrific loss of life that should be unthinkable, yet is becoming routine. Assault weapons, like the AR-15 style weapon used in yesterday’s attack, are military bred firearms designed for a specific purpose: to kill as many people as possible in as short an amount of time as available. Mass shooters utilize guns like the AR-15 because of their specific anti-personnel design characteristics. We cannot talk about effective solutions to stopping these types of attacks without addressing the tools that make them possible. Until assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines are banned, these attacks will continue to threaten our public life and define our nation.
- Josh Sugarmann, Executive Director, Violence Policy Center (Sugarmann, Josh (February 15, 2018). Violence Policy Center Statement on Mass Shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Violence Policy Center. Retrieved on October 5, 2018.)
- Following news reports that the AR-15 style rifle used in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida was a Smith & Wesson M&P15 assault rifle, the Violence Policy Center (VPC) today released Understanding the Smith & Wesson M&P15 Semiautomatic Assault Rifle.
According to the VPC backgrounder, “The Smith & Wesson M&P15 assault rifle demonstrates the clear and present danger of a gun designed for war and ruthlessly marketed for profit to civilians.”
The same model assault rifle was also used in an attack that left 12 dead at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado in 2012 and in a mass shooting at a community center in San Bernardino, California in 2015 that left 14 dead.
- Backgrounder on Smith & Wesson M&P15 Assault Rifle Used in Mass Shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Violence Policy Center (February 16, 2018). Retrieved on November 12, 2018.; "About the Smith & Wesson M&P15 rifle used in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School". The Wisconsin Gazette. February 17, 2018. Retrieved on November 12, 2018.
- Stocks were up Thursday for American Outdoor Brands, the company that makes the AR-15 rifle used in the Florida school shooting that claimed 17 lives.
The company’s shares closed up 1.49%, netting the company an additional $8.8 million on the day.
The Associated Press reported that accused gunman Nikolas Cruz used a Smith & Wesson M&P15 rifle – a variant of the AR-15 – during his allegedly shooting spree at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday.
Smith & Wesson, which was founded in 1852, is a Springfield, Mass.-based holding of American Outdoor Brands....
Shares of American Outdoor Brands closed 5.6% higher on Wednesday, the day of the shooting. It’s not uncommon for gun maker shares to rise following a mass shooting as people are likely to stock up fearing potential gun control measures.
This is the third time an M&P15 has been used in a mass shooting in the United States.
James E. Holmes, who was convicted of killing 12 and wounding 70 in the 2012 Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting, used a Smith & Wesson M&P15 rifle. An illegally modified Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport rifle was recovered by law enforcement officials after the 2015 San Bernardino shooting, where 14 people were killed.
- Gray, Sarah (February 16, 2018). "Stocks Rise for Maker of AR-15 Rifle Used in the Florida School Shooting". Time. Retrieved on November 12, 2018.
- Compared with pistols, assault rifles are used rarely in shootings. According to F.B.I. statistics, 374 people were murdered with any kind of rifle in 2016; 7,105 were killed by a handgun.
But the AR-15 has been a recurring character in some of America’s most infamous violent crimes. Adam Lanza used his to kill 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook. Stephen Paddock used an enhanced AR-style gun to kill 58 concertgoers and wound hundreds on the Las Vegas Strip in October. A month later, Devin Kelley murdered 26 congregants with a Ruger AR-15 variant at a church in Sutherland Springs, Tex. And the rampage last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., renewed calls for assault-style rifles to be banned — a common refrain after mass shootings.
- Watkins, Ali; Ismay, John; Gibbons-Neff, Thomas (March 3, 2018). "Once Banned, Now Loved and Loathed: How the AR-15 Became ‘America’s Rifle’". The New York Times. Retrieved on November 6, 2018.
- Indeed, the AR-15 is also inextricably linked to tragedy. Mass shootings are central to the gun’s narrative, and its popularity....
It is unclear when and how the rifle worked its way into the United States’ lexicon of violent crimes. In 1982, George E. Banks shot to death 13 people with the weapon, and in 1997, an AR-15, among other semiautomatic military-style rifles, was used in the North Hollywood shootout, a daytime robbery in California that devolved into a nearly hourlong firefight and was televised live across the country. During the gun battle, police officers were forced to run to a local gun store and take rifles to try to contend with the robbers’ firepower and body armor. Afterward, police departments around the country started making AR-15s standard issue for officers.
- Watkins, Ali; Ismay, John; Gibbons-Neff, Thomas (March 3, 2018). "Once Banned, Now Loved and Loathed: How the AR-15 Became ‘America’s Rifle’". The New York Times. Retrieved on June 10, 2018.
- But this once-easy relationship between city and gunmaker has been rattled by the discovery that the firearm used to kill 17 people at a Parkland, Fla., high school last month was made here. The gun was a Smith & Wesson M&P15, a version of the controversial AR-15 military-style rifle. And that weapon had been used in mass shootings before, including in Aurora, Colo., and San Bernardino, Calif.
- Frankel, Todd C. (March 22, 2018). "A city that makes guns confronts its role in the Parkland mass shooting". The Washington Post. Retrieved on July 20, 2018.
- I got disturbed after Las Vegas. I got disturbed after Parkland. I was feeling like I killed Jaime Guttenberg. Gun owners, we killed Jaime Guttenberg by our inactivity. We could’ve said no after Columbine. We didn't. We could have said no after Virginia Tech. We didn’t. Those of us, who up until now guns were in our life but not our life, we can’t continue to be casual about this issue. The next Jaime Guttenberg is on our hands.
- Bob Ware, gun owner from South Carolina, refering to Stoneman Douglas High School shooting victim Jaime Guttenberg (Sit, Ryan (March 30, 2018). "How Big Is the NRA? Gun Group’s Membership Might Not Be as Powerful as It Says". Newsweek. Retrieved on December 7, 2018. )
- ... we are all seeking solutions to the epidemic of gun violence in our country....The majority of guns used in crimes in major U.S. cities are AOBC guns. AOBC’s AR-15 style rifle was used in mass shootings in Parkland, Florida, San Bernardino, California and Aurora, Colorado. These are only a few of the most recent and highest profile violent incidents involving AOBC products that present grave financial and reputational risks. Each event brings new threats of lawsuits, boycotts, divestment and demonstrations - and along with them, a wave of damaging news stories about gun companies and their inability to make their products safer for civilians, and most critically, to help prevent their misuse by children.
- Sister Judy Byron, Adrian Dominican Sisters, director of the Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investments, addressing the American Outdoor Brands Corporation annual shareholders meeting, September 25, 2018 (Byron, Judy (September 25, 2018). Judy Byron’s Remarks: AOBC AGM. Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.)
- Parkland, Florida.
Las Vegas, Nevada.
Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Now, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Recent deadly mass shootings in these US cities have at least one thing in common: the AR-15....
This weapon has become increasingly popular in the US, especially since the 1994 federal weapons ban expired in 2004, and has been used in many other mass shootings around the country. Not just the three listed above.
To understand how and why this has happened, we put together a historical overview of the weapon and spoke with David Chipman, a senior policy analyst at Giffords and former special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives....
Chipman said that he believes AR-15s have been so frequently used in mass shootings for two reasons: popularity and lethality.
"It's a two-fold thing: the AR-15 is like the 4-door sedan of assault rifles," Chipman said. "It was America's weapon ... there's an Americana aspect."
But so many mass shootings become mass shootings "because the AR-15 was used," he said, adding that the damage the weapon does to the human body pales in comparison to a handgun.
"I've talked to ER physicians," Chipman said. "Rifle rounds are so devastating to the human body."
- Brown, Daniel (October 27, 2018). "The Pittsburgh synagogue shooter was reportedly armed with an AR-15 — here's how it became the weapon of choice for America's mass shooters". Business Insider. Retrieved on October 28, 2018.
- A Pittsburgh synagogue, a Florida high school, a Texas church, a Las Vegas concert, a Connecticut elementary school. These are the locations of some of the deadliest mass shootings in America in recent history, and they all have something in common: The style of weapon used at each horrific scene was the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle.
- To get a perspective on how an AR-15 bullet differs from a 9-millimeter bullet, the 60 Minutes team spoke to Don Deyo, a former paramedic and Green Beret who witnessed mass casualties up close on the battlefield. He demonstrated the difference in bullets by shooting rounds into a cut of pork that's similar in size to an average adult human thigh. At first glance, the two rounds looked similar, both leaving an entry wound that's nothing more than a tiny hole in the flesh.
But flip the pork over, and the difference is stunning. The 9-millimeter exit wound was small, without much damage to the surrounding area. The AR-15 exit wound left an enormous, gaping hole and shattered the surrounding bone. Those bone fragments, Deyo explained, become projectiles that create further tissue damage....
After an AR-15 style rifle bullet blasts a large cavity through soft tissue, blood pressure then pumps that cavity with blood, causing many victims of AR-15 shots to bleed out before rescue workers can reach them.
- Domestic and family violence is a driving factor in mass shootings
The majority of mass shootings in the U.S. are related to domestic or family violence. In at least 54 percent of mass shootings (94 incidents), the perpetrator also shot a current or former intimate partner or family member. Between 2009 and 2017, at least 491 people were shot and killed as a result of mass shootings related to domestic or family violence.
When American children die by gun homicide, they often die in incidents connected to domestic or family violence.40 Mass shootings are no exception—86 percent of the 224 children killed in mass shootings in the past nine years have died in an incident connected to domestic or family violence....
The connection between mass shootings and domestic violence may be explained, in part, by the role guns play in domestic violence generally.
- Mass-shooting related homicides in the United States were reduced during the years of the federal assault weapons ban of 1994 to 2004....
Recently, 75% of members of the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma endorsed restrictions to “civilian access to assault rifles (magazine fed, semiautomatic, i.e., AR-15),” and 76% of the Board of Governors were in favor of a limit to “… civilian access to ammunition designed for military or law enforcement use (that is, armor piercing, large magazine capacity).” In 2015, the American College of Surgeons joined seven of the largest most prestigious professional health organizations in the United States and the American Bar Association to call for “restricting the manufacture and sale of military-style assault weapons and large-capacity magazines for civilian use.” This analysis adds evidence to support these recommendations....
Our results add to the documentation that mass shooting–related homicides are indeed increasing, most rapidly in the postban period, and that these incidents are frequently associated with weapons characterized as assault rifles by the language of the 1994 AWB.
...taken in the context of the increase in mass shootings in the United States, these results support the conclusion that the federal AWB of 1994 to 2004 was effective in reducing mass shooting–related homicides in the United States, and we believe our results support a re-institution of the 1994 federal assault weapons ban as a way to prevent and control mass shooting fatalities in the United States.
- DiMaggio, C; Avraham, J; Berry, C; Bukur, M; Feldman, J; Klein, M; Shah, N; Tandon, M; et al. (January 2019). "Changes in US mass shooting deaths associated with the 1994-2004 federal assault weapons ban: Analysis of open-source data.". The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery 86 (1): pp. 11-19. doi:10.1097/TA.0000000000002060. PMID 30188421.
- Since December 2015, there have been 10 incidents that killed 10 or more people. That’s more than there was in 30 years between 1982 and 2011. And five of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern American history have all happened in the last five years.
- You could have a pistol that has 30 rounds in it. As far as I'm concerned, that's an assault weapon. I don't want somebody with 30-round magazines and a pistol coming into a public place. You can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time.
- Michael Siegel, professor of community health sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health (Shabad, Rebecca (August 11, 2019). "Congress weighs gun control measures after latest mass shootings". NBC News. )
- Despite hundreds of mass shootings unfolding in America every year, Congress has repeatedly failed to pass major gun-control legislation. The hurdles to enacting stricter gun laws in the US are numerous and significant, but activists say they will not give up until change is made... This year, 213 mass shootings, defined as incidents in which at least four people were shot or killed, have already occurred in America, according to the Gun Violence Archive. In 2021, 692 mass shootings were recorded, in comparison to 610 over the course of 2020.
- Why can’t America do anything to stop mass shootings?, Joan E Greve, The Guardian, 25 May 2022
- There is one thing that not enough people are saying: Just because this is happening again, and again, doesn’t mean it will forever. I know that’s a hard thought to hold on to right now, amid all the familiar responses that add up to nothing—the shock, the public prayers, the speeches. But change so often seems impossible up until it happens. It’s only been 18 years since assault weapons were made legal (again) all over the country, and 14 years since the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution protects an individual right to bear arms. It may take decades until America (like Australia) takes action to protect children and others from high-powered weapons. But it took hundreds of years to end chattel slavery, for women to gain the right to vote, for people to be able to marry whom they love. So this is a time to keep our eye on that longer arc of history, and not get lost in the despair of the moment.
- 2011 Tucson shooting
- 2012 Aurora shooting
- 2013 Los Angeles International Airport shooting
- 2015 San Bernardino attack
- 2017 Las Vegas shooting
- Charleston church shooting
- Luby's shooting
- Orlando nightclub shooting
- Pittsburgh synagogue shooting
- Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting
- Stoneman Douglas High School shooting
- Sutherland Springs church shooting
- Umpqua Community College shooting
- Virginia Tech shooting