It posed an interesting challenge, given the reams of data to examine. The Fact Checker obviously takes no position on proposed gun-control laws. But given the attention of recent mass public shootings, is Rubio correct that none of the major shootings in recent years would have been prevented by new gun laws? The Facts First of all, we should note that there is an unbridgeable gap in opinion about efficacy of various gun proposals, particularly regarding assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
There are already more than 5 million AR-type rifles in circulation in the United States, ownership of which would have been grandfathered under proposed bans. The evidence is mixed on how effective that ban was, with both sides often cherry-picking from the most comprehensive report on that law, written in by Christopher Koper of George Mason University. This video demonstrates the difference. Meanwhile, an experienced shooter, as shown in this video , can change a magazine in just two to four seconds.
That calls into question whether such a ban would significantly reduce the death toll. A new study by Gary Kleck of Florida State University studied news accounts of 23 shootings between and in which more than six people were killed or wounded and large-capacity magazines were used.
In only one case was a shooter stopped as he tried to reload. In all of these 23 incidents, the shooter possessed either multiple guns or multiple magazines, indicating that a determined shooter would not have been deterred by smaller magazines.
We developed the following list of 12 mass shootings since catalogued in the Mother Jones database of U. We will look at whether proposals might have made a difference in how the guns were obtained, or whether existing laws worked as intended. Mass Shootings since Dec.
The guns were purchased legally and the rifles were purchased legally by a former neighbor. The transfer of the rifles to the suspects may have violated California and federal laws. California has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, dating from , and specific types of AR and AK style rifles are banned. Ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 bullets are also outlawed, though older, larger magazines are grandfathered. There are indications that the suspects illegally modified their California-compliant weapons.
In any case, the laws did not thwart them. All were purchased legally. No proposed laws would have prevented these purchases. He had multiple round magazines, news reports said. Officials said the gun was obtained legally; other weapons were obtained through Armslist. The Senate bill to extend background checks would have included online sales.
But because Abdulazeez purchased his other weapons legally, thus passing a background check, a crackdown on online sales likely would not have made a difference in this case. Dylann Roof killed nine people with a. Roof legally purchased his gun from a store, but the FBI said he should have failed the background check because he had been charged with possessing Suboxone without a prescription.
However, because of clerical mistakes, the FBI said the examiner did not get hold of the report before the three-day waiting period ended, and so the store went through with the purchase. This appears to be an example of an existing law that apparently failed, though some analysts believe Roof actually would have passed the background check if it had been done correctly. The FBI statement incorrectly referred to a felony drug charge, but it was actually a misdemeanor for possession; he did not admit to being an addict.
The pistol belonged to his father, who was the subject of a permanent protection order. That should have prevented the purchase of the gun, but the order had not been entered in the system and so his father passed the background check. The father was later found guilty of knowingly purchasing six firearms he could not legally possess. This is an example of an existing law that failed. She used a 9mm semiautomatic handgun and stabbed a person with a butcher knife when a second gun apparently jammed.
Rhoades killed her brother, niece, nephew and another tribal member, so some might say this is a family dispute, not a mass public shooting.
There is no indication new gun laws would have made a difference. Aaron Alexis, who had been treated for mental health issues but never committed, killed 12 people with a Remington shotgun at the Washington Navy Yard.
He had tried to buy a handgun at a Virginia store but changed his mind after he was told it would have to be delivered to his home state through another federally licensed dealer. But he was able to purchase a shotgun. He passed state and federal background checks; he had been arrested three times but not convicted.
The shooter purchased his weapon legally. There have been various legislative proposals at the federal level to help people with mental health issues and to encourage states to submit mental health data for use in background checks. Pedro Vargas set fire to his apartment in Hialeah, Fla. Vargas bought his handgun legally and had a concealed weapons permit. Most of the deaths took place in an apartment complex, not a public space, so some say this should not be considered a public shooting.
John Zawahri killed five people in Santa Monica, Calif. He also had multiple round magazines — which are illegal in California — and during the rampage had dropped a bag which contained additional loaded magazines, a handgun and the upper receiver for a semiautomatic rifle.
He also appeared to have made some weapons that are illegal. Investigators later found a letter from the Department of Justice informing Zawahri that he was not eligible to purchase a firearm.
Zawahri was determined to circumvent the law. The weapons were obtained legally, and he had a concealed pistol license. Kurt Myers killed four people and wounded two with a shotgun in neighboring towns in Herkimer County, N. The shotgun apparently was obtained legally. The Bushmaster XM would have been banned under the proposed assault weapons ban of which failed in the Senate.
But the Savage Mark II would have been exempted, as well as the handguns. The Pinocchio Test This is certainly a depressing chronicle of death and tragedy. Notably, three of the mass shootings took place in California, which already has strong gun laws including a ban on certain weapons and high-capacity magazines. It is possible that some gun-control proposals, such as a ban on large-capacity magazines, would reduce the number of dead in a future shooting, though the evidence for that is heavily disputed.
But Rubio was speaking in the past, about specific incidents. He earns a rare Geppetto Checkmark.