Despite Calls for ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban, Most Active Shootings Involve Handguns
Do you think handguns should be banned?
by Countable | 8.12.19
With a recent poll indicating widespread support among Democrats for a ban on “assault weapons” and Democratic presidential candidates advocating for a national gun buyback program, here’s a look at recent trends in active shooting incidents using federal data and graphics compiled by USAFacts.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines an active shooter as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated space,” although open-space active shooting incidents are included in this data. As this chart from USAFacts shows, active shooting incidents have been on the rise over the last two decades, with a peak of 30 incidents in 2017.
Casualties from active shooting incidents have been on an upward trend since 2000 and hit an all-time high of 138 killed and 591 wounded in 2017 ― most of which occurred in an October 2017 shooting at a Las Vegas, Nevada music festival where 58 people were killed and 489 wounded. That shooting prompted the Trump administration to ban “bump stocks” which can accelerate a semi-automatic rifle’s rate of fire to approximate that of a fully-automatic weapon (which aren’t commonly available to the public). In 2018, there were 85 killed and 128 wounded in active shooting situations overall, roughly equal to the 83 killed and 131 wounded in 2016.
Each year since 2000, handguns have been the most frequently used type of firearm in active shooting incidents, exceeding rifles & shotguns. The gap between handguns and rifles reached its narrowest point in recent years in 2016, when handguns were used in 16 active shootings and rifles in 13 shootings. Most recently, 2018 saw handguns used in 24 active shootings versus six rifles used in active shooting incidents.
Deaths from active shootings represent a small proportion of overall firearm deaths in the U.S. When deaths from active shootings reached their all-time high of 138 in 2017, there were 14,542 homicides, meaning that deaths from active shootings represented 0.95% of firearm homicides.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / InkkStudios)
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