What is an assault weapon? Assault weapons are generally defined as semi-automatic firearms that are capable of accepting a detachable magazine and that have an additional military-style feature, such as a pistol grip, folding stock, detachable stock, barrel shroud, or threaded barrel.
What is a high-capacity magazine? A high-capacity magazine is generally defined as an ammunition-feeding device capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.
Assault weapons and high-capacity magazines dramatically increase the lethality of shootings, leading to more people being shot and more fatalities.
- A review of mass shootings between January 2009 and July 2015 found that 155 percent more people were shot and 47 percent more were killed when assault weapons or large-capacity magazines were used.1
These weapons of war are not only used in mass shootings. A 2017 study estimated that, together, assault weapons and guns equipped with high-capacity magazines account for up to 36 percent of guns used in crime.2
- Everytown for Gun Safety, “Analysis of Recent Mass Shootings” (2015), available at https://everytownresearch.org/documents/2015/04/analysis-of-recent-mass-shootings.pdf. ↩
- Christopher S. Koper and others, “Criminal Use of Assault Weapons and High-Capacity Semiautomatic Firearms: an Updated Examination of Local and National Sources,” Journal of Urban Health (2017): 1-9, available at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11524-017-0205-7. ↩