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What do most mass shooters have in common?  They bought their guns legally.

The Biden administration renewed calls to ban semi-automatic weapons and expand national background checks in the wake of the Buffalo attack on Saturday, as it has repeatedly done after mass shootings. While White House officials have taken some executive actions — such as appointing a permanent director to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — their legislative efforts stand little chance. of success.

At the state level, hopes for new gun control measures are even dimmer.

One by one, Republican-controlled state legislatures enacted laws to overturn existing gun regulations that place restrictions on the purchase and carrying of firearms, while some states, such as Missouri , challenge the right of the federal government to impose any regulation on firearms.

The biggest threat to gun control looms on the horizon: Within the next two months, the Supreme Court is expected to strike down all or part of a New York state law that limits concealed possession of guns. firearm without a special permit, a case seen as a potential landmark ruling that could invalidate dozens of similar laws in liberal-leaning states.

“What’s infuriating is that we seem to be going backwards,” said James Densley, co-founder of the Violence Project, a nonpartisan research center that compiled the data used in the National Institute of Justice report.

While it’s hard to make sweeping generalisations, Mr Densley and his partner, Jillian Peterson, discerned several trends among gunmen in recent mass shootings. Many have clean criminal records and can buy guns legally. If they are minors or young adults, they often get guns as gifts from parents – or borrow or steal guns from their homes.

Many prefer long guns, such as AR-15s and AK-47s. Semi-automatic rifles account for less than 1% of all shootings in the United States, they found, but 25% of mass shootings.

And many of those charged with these crimes, like the Buffalo shooting suspect, see their killings as a public performance, prompting them to stealthily plan their attacks until they act, in hopes of maximizing the attention given to them. This makes them harder to detect, even in a state with relatively strict gun laws like New York.


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