Gun control likely to be debated could have limited impact on preventing mass shootings, Harry Wilson of the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College tells NPR. The federal government banned certain types of semiautomatic weapons from 1994 to 2004. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), is reintroducing it, but it would not remove from circulation existing weapons would have limited effect, says Wilson, author of Guns, Gun Control and Elections.
There are already plenty of weapons already out there — and likely to be more in the coming days and weeks, as gun owners rush to stock up either for personal protection or to invest in weapons that would become more valuable following a ban. “The assault-weapon ban will be reintroduced, but I’m not sure it can pass the Senate,” Wilson says. “It certainly won’t pass the House.” Attempts to close the so-called gun show loophole (allowing sales without background checks) have been attempted in Congress repeatedly in recent years, without success. “That’s going to come up,” says Wilson. “But if you look at mass shootings, they get their guns legally, or they steal them from someone who got them legally.”