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More Hurt, Killed in Shootings With Semiautomatic Rifles

Similar percentage of people died if wounded in incidents with versus without semiautomatic rifle

assault rifle

FRIDAY, Sept. 21, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- More people are wounded and killed in active shooter incidents in which semiautomatic rifles are used, according to a research letter published in the Sept. 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Elzerie de Jager, M.B.B.S., from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues compared the number of persons wounded, killed, and either wounded or killed during active shooter incidents with and without semiautomatic rifles.

Seventy-six of the 248 active shooter incidents involved a rifle; a semiautomatic rifle was involved in 61 incidents (24.6 percent). The researchers found that 898 and 718 persons were wounded and killed, respectively. A higher incidence of persons wounded (unadjusted mean, 5.48 versus 3.02; incidence rate ratio [IRR], 1.81; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.30 to 2.53), killed (mean, 4.25 versus 2.49; IRR, 1.97; 95 percent CI, 1.38 to 2.80), and wounded or killed (mean, 9.72 versus 5.47; IRR, 1.91; 95 percent CI, 1.46 to 2.50) was seen in active shooter incidents with versus without the presence of semiautomatic rifles. The percentage of persons who died if wounded was similar in incidents with versus those without a semi-automatic rifle (43.7 versus 44.9 percent; IRR, 0.99; 95 percent CI, 0.60 to 1.61).

"Semiautomatic rifles are designed for easy use, can accept large magazines, and fire high-velocity bullets, enabling active shooters to wound and kill more people per incident," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the medical technology industry.

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