4 Measures That Could Have Made A Difference In Mass Shootings

The New York Times analyzed data from all mass shootings since Columbine and found four legislative measures that might have saved lives in some of the mass shootings
(photo: Maurício Mascaro/Pexels)

The New York Times took a look at the federal legislative options being considered to curb mass shootings in the U.S. by analyzing the Violence Project Mass Shooter Database.

That analysis found 4 measures currently proposed by Democrats in Congress that might have changed the course of at least 35 mass shootings that killed a combined 482 people.

Those four measures and the related data are:

• Raising the minimum age to purchase certain guns to 21: Four gunmen were under the age of 21 and purchased their weapons (military assault-style rifles) legally. Had the minimum age been raised, 56 lives might have been saved. Age-based restrictions could also help save individual lives regarding suicide, a leading cause of death among young Americans.

• Expanding background checks to cover private sales: At least four attackers purchased a weapon from a private seller in a state where background checks were not required for such sales. Had this law been in effect, 29 lives lost in those four attacks might have been saved.

• Encouraging safe gun storage and punishing people who fail to secure guns from children and criminals: 10% of mass shootings involved a stolen gun. According to the database, 86 lives might have been saved with such a law in place.

• Banning the sale of large-capacity magazines: Extended magazines were used in a fifth of shootings leading to the deaths of 311.

Two additional measures under consideration which might have saved lives:

• Expanding red-flag laws to remove guns from people in crisis: In 46 percent of shootings, an attacker expressed interest in harming others. In 36 percent, at least one attacker was previously known to be suicidal.

• Banning so-called assault weapons: 30 percent of shootings involved guns that were banned under the now-expired 1994 federal assault-weapons law.

With all of that being said, the NY Times notes: “The measure that seems most likely to achieve bipartisan support in the Senate — a broader background check law — would have had a clear influence on only a handful of shootings.”

Read the full analysis here.

Related: Death Toll Rises To 21 In Texas Elementary School Shooting

It’s worth noting that a new ABC News/Ipsos poll shows 70% of Americans think enacting new gun control laws should take precedence over protecting ownership rights.

Unsurprisingly, 90% of Democrats and 75% of independents felt new gun laws should take priority while 56% of Republicans in the poll said protecting gun ownership rights was more important.