Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday night that the lower chamber would move on legislation aimed at banning the sale of assault weapons like the AR-15 or similar styles in the U.S. Weapons of the type were used in two deadly shootings in the past two and a half weeks. Ten people died May 14 at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., before the nation was rocked once more when 19 elementary school students and two adults died in the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. in ten years on May 24 in Uvalde, Texas.
Both shooters purchased their guns legally. In a third shooting that left four and the assailant dead Wednesday in Tulsa, Okla., a long gun and a pistol were used.
Data collected by Mother Jones shows that during an earlier assault weapons ban that lasted from 1994 to 2004 in the U.S., fewer Americans became victims of mass shootings than in the ten years prior. Since the ban lapsed, the number of shootings has risen each decade, while the number of victims skyrocketed. Mother Jones has tracked shootings with more than four victims other than the perpetrator consistently since the 1980s, but the effect of the assault weapons ban becomes even more visible when looking at shootings with six or more victims, like done by Stanford University or author Louis Klarevas of the University of Massachusetts.
The AR-15 is a civilian version of the military grade M16 and M4 family of rifles that are designed to deliver small sized bullets at high velocity in order to inflict catastrophic and lethal wounds. The semiautomatic weapons therefore can inflict more harm on more people in a shorter period of time.
Klarevas, who published his book Rampage Nation in 2016, told The Washington Post: "You would see drastic reductions in what I call gun massacres” if the 1994 federal assault weapons ban was reinstated.