President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that he was looking to reinstate a ban on “assault weapons” in response to the recent mass shootings, but crime data show that handguns are used most often in such situations.
The president’s call to ban assault weapons came after 10 people, including an officer of the law, were murdered in a mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, on Monday.
Biden called for a ban on “assault weapons and high-capacity magazines,” similar to the one he worked to pass while in the Senate.
“I got that done as a senator. It brought down mass shootings, we can do it again,” Biden said. “We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again.”
The Boulder suspect, 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, is reported to have used an “AR-15 style weapon” in his rampage that left 10 dead. Statistics show, however, that the most common weapons used in mass shootings are handguns.
According to analytics firm Statistica, “handguns are involved in about 78% of mass shootings” in the United States between 1985 and 2021, making them the most common weapon used in such tragedies.
FBI crime data also illustrate that handguns were the most commonly used weapon in mass shootings between 2000 and 2015.
However, assault weapons have been used in the worst mass shootings in American history, which has led to rigorous debate over whether or not American citizens should be allowed to purchase such weapons for personal use.
“Since 1985 there has been a known total 47 mass shootings involving rifles, mostly semi-automatics,” the Statistica analysis note. “This figure is underreported though, as it excludes the multiple semi-automatic (and fully automatic) rifles used in the 2017 Las Vegas Strip massacre – the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, killing 58 and wounding 546.”
“In fact, semi-automatic rifles were featured in four of the five deadliest mass shootings, being used in the Orlando nightclub massacre, Sandy Hook Elementary massacre and Texas First Baptist Church massacre,” the analysis notes.
“The Senate is going to debate and address the epidemic of gun violence in this country,” Schumer said.