Bold Storm Rising Bombshell: Data indicates that the lapsed assault rifle ban was working
“The snowflake liberals are stomping
on the 2nd amendment.
They want to confiscate my guns.”
“The NRA-fueled conservatives
care more about their guns
than our children.”
It’s called a Mexican standoff:
a confrontation amongst two or more parties
in which no strategy exists
that allows any party to achieve victory.
As a result, all participants need to maintain the strategic tension,
which remains unresolved until
some outside event makes it possible to resolve it. (4)
The outside event has happened, has actually been happening periodically since 1949. On a stranger-than-life note, a surviving student at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, is the granddaughter of a man who survived the 1949 first mass shooting shown in the list below.
Carly Novell tweeted about her grandfather, “When he was 12 years old, he hid in a closet while his family was murdered during the first mass shooting in America. Almost 70 years later, I also hid in a closet from a murderer.
“These events shouldn’t be repetitive. Something has to change.” (7)
Carly is right: something has to change. One of the major problems we have is that we have little data to prove that any of the common suggestions might be effective because we can’t research the problem.
Dr. Mark L. Rosenberg, founding director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, reminds us in a Politico Big Idea article that “… in 1996, Congress, with prodding from the NRA, stepped in. That year, the House and Senate passed the so-called Dickey amendment, which declared that none of the federal funds for the CDC’s injury center could be used “to promote or advocate gun control.” (1)
The NRA helped Congress decide that any research might promote gun control, so the only answer was no research. After the Dickey amendment, research into the causes of gun violence was reduced by over 90 percent, leaving us in uncertainty as to which possible solution to implement.
Which is, of course, exactly where the NRA wants us. Without data to support our suggestions, they can wave their hands and accuse us of trying to confiscate their guns and derail any possible solution.
When I began this article, I wasn’t looking for a solution. I wanted to challenge us to get together and talk about possible solutions. I wanted to break the “Mexican standoff.”
No one could have been more surprised than I was when the data was starkly and dramatically clear:
The assault weapons ban had worked.
Passed in 1994; allowed to lapse in 2004.
In an article from The Washington Post, Brad Plumer states: “Experts who have studied the law tend to agree that it was rife with loopholes and generally ineffective at curbing gun violence — though it might well have reduced mass shootings.”
According to Plumer, there were problems defining the weapons covered by the ban and there were many loopholes. However, the data shown below shows that there have been 20 mass shootings (including those with more than 8 deaths) since the ban was lifted while there were only 2 during the ban. Plumber’s article was written in 2012 when the data was still soft.
Since 2012, there have been 8 additional mass shootings where more than 8 people were killed, 5 involving assault rifles. I think we can safely say that banning assault rifles was … and is … a reasonable step toward protecting our children and our public places.
I think we can safely tell the NRA that we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to kowtow to their lies and fear-mongering any longer.
The evidence is “staggering” says author of “Rampage Nation”
ACTION: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) along with 22 Democratic colleagues, introduced an assault weapons ban in the Senate after the Sutherland Springs shooting in Texas, before the high school shooting in Florida. The NRA, of course, opposes any such bans with their normal litany of excuses.
ACTION REQUIRED: We need to do everything we can do
to support the assault weapons ban and
remove from office any politician who votes against the bill.
About the Research:
Using a CNN list of 34 mass shootings in the US, showing only shootings where 8 or more people were killed, I added the location of the shooting, the firearms used as well as gender and citizenship of the shooter(s) and indicators of identified mental health or domestic issues. The shootings in the list below are shown from the most recent to the earliest. Main Sources (5) (6) listed below.
Shooters: 38 Males; 1 Female
Citizenship: US — 33
Permanent Resident — 2
Uncertain — 3
Uncertain — 16
Mental health — 11
Domestic — 6
Terrorist — 3
- Some shootings are classified as both domestic and mental healt
Locations: Public — 31;
Schools — 6
Church — 3
Restaurant — 2
Entertainment venue — 3
Business/workplace — 9
Other — 8
Private homes — 3
Handguns — 18 (226 killed)
Semi-automatic rifles — 11 … (249 killed) marked with ** on the detail list.
Rifle — 9
Shotguns — 6
- Multiple weapons used in several shootings.
Points to consider:
Semi-automatic rifle used in 7 of last 10 mass shootings.
- Between 1994 and 2004 there was an assault rifle ban.
2005–2018 … 20 mass shootings, 9 using assault rifles.
1994–2004 … 2 mass shootings during the period of the ban.
1984–1994 … 7 mass shootings, 1 with assault rifle.
1949–1984 … 5 mass shootings, 2 with assault rifles.
** High school, 17 killed — February 14, 2018 — A former student unleashes a hail of gunfire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing at least 17 adults and children. Nikolas Cruz, 19, has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. Semi-automatic rifle. Male, US citizen.
** Church, 25 and an unborn child killed — November 5, 2017 — A gunman opens fire on a small church in Sutherland Springs, Texas killing 25 people and an unborn child and wounding 20 others. The shooter, identified by two law enforcement sources as Devin Patrick Kelley, is found dead after a brief chase, but it’s unclear if it was self-inflicted. Semi-automatic rifle. Male, US citizen.
** Rock concert. 58 killed — October 1, 2017 — In Las Vegas, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada, sprays gunfire on a crowd of 22,000 concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, killing 58 people and injuring almost 500. Witnesses say the gunshots last between 10 and 15 minutes. Officers breach Paddock’s hotel room to find him dead. Authorities believe Paddock killed himself and that he acted alone. Semi-automatic rifles. Male, US citizen.
** Nightclub. 49 killed — June 12, 2016 — Omar Saddiqui Mateen, 29, opens fire inside Pulse, a gay nightclub, in Orlando. At least 49 people are killed and more than 50 are injured. Police shoot and kill Mateen during an operation to free hostages officials say he was holding at the club. Semi-automatic rifle. Male, US citizen. Terrorist.
** Holiday party in public facility, 14 killed — December 2, 2015 — Married couple Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik open fire on an employee gathering taking place at Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people. Semi-automatic rifles and pistols. Male, US citizen of Pakistani origin; Female, legal US resident. Terrorists.
College campus, 9 killed — October 1, 2015 — Gunman Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer shoots and kills nine people, injuring another nine, at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The shooter dies after a gun battle with police at the college. Six weapons were recovered at the school; another seven were recovered at Harper-Mercer’s home. Handguns. Male, US citizen.
Church, 9 killed — June 17, 2015 — Dylann Roof, 21, shoots and kills nine people inside the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, South Carolina. Eight die at the scene; a ninth dies at a hospital. Roof is arrested the following day; according to police, he confesses and tells investigators he wanted to start a race war. Roof is convicted of murder and hate crimes in federal court and a jury recommends the death penalty. He would be the first person executed for committing federal hate crimes. Handgun. Male, US citizen.
Military base, 12 killed — September 16, 2013 — Shots are fired inside the Washington Navy Yard, killing 12. The shooter, identified as Aaron Alexis, 34, is also killed. Shotgun. Male, US citizen. Undiagnosed mental illness.
** Elementary school, 27 killed — December 14, 2012 — Sandy Hook Elementary School — Newtown, Connecticut. Adam Lanza, 20, guns down 20 children, ages six and seven, and six adults, school staff and faculty, before turning the gun on himself. Investigating police later find Nancy Lanza, Adam’s mother, dead from a gunshot wound. Semi-automatic rifle and bolt-action rifle. Male, US citizen, mental health issues.
** Movie theater,12 killed — July 20, 2012 — Twelve people are killed, and 58 are wounded in a shooting at a screening of the new Batman film in Aurora, Colorado. James E. Holmes, 24, dressed head-to-toe in protective tactical gear, sets off two devices of some kind before spraying the theater with bullets from an AR-15 rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and at least one of two .40-caliber handguns police recovered at the scene. On July 16, 2015, Holmes is found guilty on all 165 counts against him, 24 first-degree murder, 140 attempted murder and one count of possession or control of an explosive or incendiary device. He is sentenced to life in prison without parole. Semi-automatic rifle, shotgun, handguns. Male, US citizen. Mental illness.
Hair salon, 8 killed — October 12, 2011 — Eight people are killed during a shooting at the Salon Meritage in Seal Beach, California. The suspect, Scott Evans Dekraai, 41, of Huntington Beach, is arrested without incident as he is trying to leave the scene. The eight victims include Dekraai’s ex-wife, Michelle Fournier, 48. He is armed with three guns — a 9 mm Springfield, a Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum, and a Heckler & Koch .45 — and is wearing body armor during the shooting rampage. After a delay of several years due to allegations of prosecutorial misconduct, Dekraai is sentenced on September 22, 2017, to eight consecutive terms of life in prison without parole, plus an additional term of 232 years to life for attempted murder. Handgun. Male, US citizen. Domestic issues.
Home, 8 killed — January 19, 2010 — Christopher Speight, 39, kills eight people at a house in Appomattox, Virginia. He surrenders to police at the scene the next morning. In February 2013, he is sentenced to five life terms plus 18 years. Rifle. Male, US Citizen. Domestic.
Business warehouse, 8 killed — August 3, 2010 — Manchester, Connecticut — Omar Thornton kills eight co-workers at Hartford Distributors before turning the gun on himself. Thornton had been asked to resign for stealing and selling alcoholic beverages. Semi-automatic pistols. Male, US citizen.
** Family, 10 killed — March 10, 2009 — In Alabama, Michael McLendon of Kinston, kills 10 and himself. The dead include his mother, grandparents, aunt and uncle. Semi-automatic rifle and other weapons. Male, US citizen. Domestic.
Nursing home, 8 killed — March 29, 2009 — In Carthage, North Carolina, 45-year-old Robert Stewart kills a nurse and seven elderly patients at a nursing home. In May, the Moore County district attorney announces she will seek the death penalty. On September 3, 2011, a jury finds Stewart guilty of second-degree murder. Stewart is sentenced to 141 to 179 years in prison. Rifle, handgun, semi-automatic pistol, shotgun. Male, US citizen. Domestic.
Community center, 13 killed — April 3, 2009 — In Binghamton, New York, Jiverly Wong kills 13 people and injures four during a shooting at an immigrant community center. He then kills himself. Handguns. Male, US citizen originally from Vietnam.
Military base, 13 and an unborn child killed — November 5, 2009 — Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan kills 13 people and one unborn child and injures 32 at Fort Hood, Texas, during a shooting rampage. He is convicted and sentenced to death. Handguns. Male, US citizen. Terrorist.
College campus, 32 killed — April 16, 2007 — Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. A gunman, 23-year-old student Seung-Hui Cho, goes on a shooting spree killing 32 people in two locations and wounding an undetermined number of others on campus. The shooter then commits suicide. Handguns. Male, US permanent resident of South Korean origin. Diagnosed with mental illness.
** Shopping mall, 8 killed — December 5, 2007 — In Omaha, Nebraska, 19-year-old Robert Hawkins goes to an area mall and kills eight shoppers before killing himself. Semi-automatic rifle. Male, US citizen.
High school, 9 killed — March 21, 2005 — Red Lake High School, Red Lake, Minnesota. Sixteen-year-old Jeff Weise kills his grandfather and another adult, five students, a teacher and a security officer. He then kills himself. Handguns. Male, US citizen. Mental issues.
Assault Rifle Ban lifted.
High school, 13 killed — April 20, 1999 — Columbine High School — Littleton, Colorado. Eighteen-year-old Eric Harris and 17-year-old Dylan Klebold kill 12 fellow students and one teacher before committing suicide in the school library. Multiple weapons. 2 Males, US citizens. mental health issues.
Various locations, 12 killed — July 29, 1999 — In Atlanta, 44-year-old Mark Barton kills his wife and two children at his home. He then opens fire in two different brokerage houses, killing nine people and wounding 12. He later kills himself. Handguns. Male, US citizen. Mental issues. Domestic.
Assault Rifle Ban passed
Business office, 8 killed — July 1, 1993 — In San Francisco, 55-year-old Gian Luigi Ferri kills eight people in a law office and then kills himself. Handguns. Male, US citizen.
Church, 9 killed — August 10, 1991 — Six monks, a nun, a monk in training and a temple worker are found shot to death at Wat Promkunaram, a Buddhist temple in Waddell, Arizona. Johnathan Doody, 17, and Alessandro Garcia, 16, are later convicted of the crime and receive multiple life sentences. Shotgun and rifle. 2 Males, US citizens.
Restaurant, 23 killed — October 16, 1991 — In Killeen, Texas, 35-year-old George Hennard crashes his pickup truck through the wall of a Luby’s Cafeteria. After exiting the truck, Hennard shoots and kills 23 people. He then commits suicide. Handguns. Male, US. citizen.
Business office, 9 killed — June 18, 1990 — In Jacksonville, Florida, 42-year-old James Pough, angry about his car being repossessed, opens fire at a General Motors Acceptance Corp. office, killing nine people. Pough takes his own life. Handguns, rifle. Male, US citizen.
** Workplace, 8 killed — September 14, 1989 — In Louisville, Kentucky, 47-year-old Joseph Wesbecker armed with a AK-47 semiautomatic assault rifle, two MAC-11 semiautomatic pistols, a .38 caliber handgun, a 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol and a bayonet kills eight co-workers at Standard Gravure Corporation and then kills himself. He had been placed on disability leave from his job due to mental problems. Semi-automatic rifle, handgun, others. Male, US citizen.
Post office, 14 killed — August 20, 1986 — In Edmond, Oklahoma, part-time mail carrier armed with three handguns, Patrick Henry Sherrill, kills 14 postal workers in 10 minutes and then takes his own life with a bullet to the head. Handguns. Male, US citizen.
Restaurant, 21 killed — July 18, 1984 — In San Ysidro, California, 41-year-old James Huberty, armed with a long-barreled Uzi, a pump-action shotgun and a handgun, shoots and kills 21 adults and children at a local McDonald’s. A police sharpshooter kills Huberty one hour after the rampage begins. Shotgun and handgun. Male, US, undiagnosed mental issues.
Gambling club, 13 killed — February 18, 1983 — Three men enter the Wah Mee gambling and social club in Seattle, rob the 14 occupants and then shoot each in the head, killing 13. Two of the men, Kwan Fai Mak and Benjamin Ng, are convicted of murder in August 1983. Both are serving life in prison. The third, Wai-Chiu “Tony” Ng, after years on the run in Canada, is eventually convicted of first-degree robbery and second-degree assault. He is deported to Hong Kong in 2014. Firearms, 3 Males, citizenship uncertain, of Chinese origin.
** Business, 8 killed — August 20, 1982 — In Miami, Carl Robert Brown, 51, kills eight people with a shotgun at a machine shop. Brown, a teacher, was reportedly angry about a repair bill from the shop. After fleeing the scene on a bicycle, he is fatally shot by a witness who pursued him. Semi-automatic rifle. Male, US citizen.
** Various locations, 13 killed — September 25, 1982 — In Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 40-year-old prison guard George Banks kills 13 people including five of his own children. In September 2011, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturns his death sentence, stating that Banks is mentally incompetent. Semi-automatic rifle. Male, US citizen. Alcohol, drugs, and mental illness. Domestic
College campus, 18 killed — August 1, 1966 — In Austin, Texas, Charles Joseph Whitman, a former US Marine, kills 16 and wounds at least 30 at the University of Texas while shooting from a tower. Police officers Ramiro Martinez and Houston McCoy shoot and kill Whitman in the tower. Whitman had also killed his mother and wife earlier in the day. Rifle, knife. Male, US citizen. Mental issues. From his suicide note: “… victim of many unusual and irrational thoughts. These thoughts are too much for me.”
Neighborhood, 13 killed — September 5, 1949 — In Camden, New Jersey, 28-year-old Howard Unruh, a veteran of World War II, shoots and kills 13 people as he walks down Camden’s 32nd Street using a German-crafted Luger pistol. He is found insane and is committed to a state mental institution. He dies at the age of 88. Handgun. Male, US Citizen. Mental illness.
(1) What’s Missing From the Gun Debate by Dr. Mark L. Rosenberg
(2) Everything you need to know about the assault weapons ban, in one post by Brad Plumer
(3) It’s Time to Bring Back the assault weapons ban, gun violence experts say by Christopher Ingraham