Public Release: 

Lethality of active shooter incidents with vs. without semiautomatic rifles


Bottom Line: Semiautomatic rifles, which have been used in some of the largest shootings by individuals in U.S. history, were banned in 1994 under the federal assault weapons ban, but that expired in 2004. This study compared the number of people wounded and killed during active shooter incidents (defined by the FBI as an individual killing or attempting to kill people in a confined or populated area) with, and without, semiautomatic rifles from 2000 through 2017. Of 248 active shooter incidents, a semiautomatic rifle was used in about 25 percent of the shootings, while the rest involved handguns, shotguns and rifles that weren't semiautomatic; 898 people were wounded and 718 were killed. Active shooter incidents with semiautomatic rifles were associated with a higher risk of people being wounded and killed. Limitations of the study include the lack of data on specific injuries, demographics and other details of the incidents.

Authors: Adil H. Haider. M.D., M.P.H., Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, and coauthors

To Learn More: The full study is available on the For The Media website.


Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.


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