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After the tragedy of the Sandy Hook school shooting on Dec. 14th, 2012, we have been bombarded by the media and politicians that we need to ban "assault weapons" in order to prevent this tragedy from ever occurring again. This chart was compiled from the list of school shootings from 1900 through 2012 on wikipedia (1). There are currently some gaps in the data, especially in the mid 90s around 1993-1994 on wikipedia.
The first national gun law to pass was the National Firearms Act (NFA) on June 26th, 1934 (2). This law imposed a $200 tax ($17,000 in today's currency) on short-barreled shotguns and rifles, sound suppressors, and machine guns (guns that can fire more than one round per operation of the trigger). This law is still in effect.
The second major national gun law to pass was the Gun Control Act (GCA) on October 22nd, 1968 (3). According to the Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO), this law was a translated copy of the gun control laws passed in Nazi Germany (4). This law is still in effect.
The machine gun ban of 1986 was amended to the Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA) on May 19th, 1986 (5). This law made it illegal to transfer machine guns to individuals after May 1986 and only the machine guns registered under the NFA can be transferred to individuals.
The Brady Campaign was able to pass a law in 1993 that requires all gun sales to undergo a background check (NICS) but this law did not take effect until the end of 1998 (6).
The Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) was passed on September 13th, 1994 with a 10-year sunset clause and expired in 2004 (7). This law prevented individuals from acquiring new magazines that could hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. It is interesting to note that one of the shooters at the Columbine High School used 13 magazines for a semi-automatic carbine and each magazine could only hold 10 rounds of ammunition (8). The NICS background check overlaps the AWB on the chart and creates a darker shade.
The question is: How effective have these laws been at preventing this sort of violence?Sources:
Our thanks to SDShooters.com, South Dakota's Premier Shooting Community
JPFO note:To clarify - this analysis includes colleges as well and it should be noted the figures shown are for "casualties" - a total which includes the deaths involved, and so sometimes apparently very large figures. Also it is believed the mass killings in the 1960s/70s were generally police or military caused.
Regarding two incidents: April 16, 2007: Seung-Hui Cho, age 23, offender in Virginia Tech University shooting. 32 students and faculty were killed, along with another 17 students and faculty injured in two separate attacks on the same day. February 14, 2008: The Northern Illinois University shooting was a school shooting that took place on February 14, 2008, during which Steven Kazmierczak shot multiple people on the campus of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, United States, killing five and injuring 21, before committing suicide.