On the same day as the 631st mass shooting of 2023, this time at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Senate Republicans blocked efforts by Senate Democrats to pass an assault weapons ban and universal background checks legislation. Over the weekend, the United States broke the record for the most mass shootings in a single year. Next week will mark the 11th anniversary of Sandy Hook, when twenty children and six staff members were killed in Newtown, Connecticut.
A Gallup poll conducted in June 2022 found that 92 percent of Americans favor requiring background checks for all firearm sales. According to a survey conducted in February 2023, 53 percent of all registered voters in the United States strongly supported banning assault-style weapons, the weapon of choice in mass shootings because of their capability of firing far more bullets, far faster than other rifles.
According to Everytown for Gun Safety, "From 2015 to 2022, mass shootings with four or more people killed where an assault weapon was used resulted in nearly six times as many people shot, more than twice as many people killed, and 23 times as many people wounded on average compared to those that did not involve the use of one."
The evidence is clear: a ban on these weapons and high-capacity magazines leads to a marked reduction in both the incidence and severity of public mass shootings. During the decade of the 1994 federal assault weapons ban, it's estimated that least 11 public mass shootings were prevented. Furthermore, analysis suggests that if this ban had remained in place from 2005 through 2019, an additional 30 mass shootings, which took 339 lives and injured 1,139 individuals, could have been averted. (Everytown)
Mass shootings -- like the one that just unfolded at UNLV -- are a uniquely American problem. So is Republican inaction, funded in large part by the NRA and gun lobby.