While semiautomatic rifles killed fewer people in U.S. mass shootings than handguns or rifles in the last 17 years, a new study shows they bring a higher risk of injury or death in those shootings, reports Courthouse News Service. Researchers at Harvard University compared the number of people wounded and killed by semiautomatic weapons between 2000 and 2017 with the number of people killed where a semiautomatic weapon was not used. The study found semiautomatic weapons were used in about 25 percent of the 248 active shooter incidents; the remaining 75 percent of incidents involved handguns, shotguns or rifles, according to the study. In those shootings, 898 people were wounded and 718 were killed.
Sales of semiautomatic rifles, which fire a round each time a shooter pulls the trigger and reloads after each shot, were banned in 1994. Congress allowed the ban to expire in 2004. Although 44 percent of people wounded in active shooter incidents died of their injuries, more people were wounded and killed in incidents where semiautomatic rifles were used compared with incidents involving other firearms. The study was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.