If the gun control measures now being considered in Congress had been planned since 1999, 91 Texans killed in eight shootings since Columbine could be alive today, according to a recent analysis by the New York Times.

Four of the gunmen could have been prevented from stealing their guns if gun owners were required or encouraged to store their guns properly, the newspaper reported. Two of the gunmen were allegedly not allowed to legally purchase the high-capacity magazines that turned their guns into assault weapons and helped them kill a total of 38 people.

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The Times also reported that the 18-year-old gunman who killed 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde on May 24 would not have been allowed to legally purchase an expanded magazine. Proposals to raise the legal age to buy guns to 21 would also have prevented him from legally buying the guns used in the elementary school shooting.

Roses on chairs with the names of those killed in the shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, which has been turned into a memorial to honor those who died, November 12, 2017.

DREW ANTHONY SMITH/New York Times

These and other measures “may have changed the course of at least 35 mass shootings – a third of such episodes in the United States since the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado”, found the Times. These 35 mass shootings killed a total of 446 people.

Here are the mass shootings in Texas:

  • Irving, March 2000: The shooter stole a firearm and killed five people and injured one at a car wash.
  • Sash, August 2005: The shooter stole a gun and killed four near a church.
  • Killeen, November 2009: The Shooter used extended magazinekilling 13 and wounding 32 at Fort Hood.
  • Tennessee Colony, November 2015: A gunman used a stolen weapon to kill six people at a campsite.
  • Sutherland Springs, November 2017: The shooter used an extended magazine to kill 25 people and injure 20 at a Baptist church.
  • Santa Fe, May 2018: The suspected shooter used a stolen weapon to kill 10 people and injure 13 at a high school.
  • Odessa, August 2019: The attacker purchased a firearm from a private seller, with no background check required, and killed seven people and injured 23 others in multiple locations.
  • Uvalde, May 2022: The 18-year-old shooter legally bought a gun and used an extended magazine to kill 21 people and injure 17 at an elementary school.

The Times reported that most of the mass shootings may not have been affected by the bills currently before Congress because the guns were purchased illegally or obtained by elderly people who used guns that are not subject to any proposed restrictions.

Law enforcement officials evacuate students and staff from Robb Elementary School after a gunman entered a classroom and began shooting Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

Law enforcement officials evacuate students and staff from Robb Elementary School after a gunman entered a classroom and began shooting Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

Pete Luna /Uvalde Leader-News

Other proposed measures, including a ban on the sale of military-style assault weapons, ‘could conceivably have had a greater impact’, as the weapons have been used in 30% of shootings since the expiry of the ban on the sale of such weapons in 2004, the Times reported. Shootings involving military-style assault weapons left nearly 400 dead, according to the analysis.

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“No law would be guaranteed to prevent anyone from shooting, and America already has more guns than people, leaving a motivated individual with many avenues to violence,” the newspaper reported.

But experts who study gun violence told The Times that deterring a third of mass shootings would be significant.

“There is no such thing as a 100% perfect and effective policy or set of policies,” Garen Wintemute, director of the violence prevention research program at the University of California, Davis, told The Times. “But there is a chance to make a real difference.”

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