Fact check: Dianne Feinstein's claim on school shootings

During the confirmation hearing of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, Dianne Feinstein said,”How do you reconcile what you just said with the hundreds of school shootings using assault weapons that have taken place in recent history?” (8:00)

On Second Amendment, Kavanaugh says he must side with Supreme Court regardless of personal opinion

Brett Kavanaugh said that regardless of whether he agrees with the Supreme Court’s written opinions on Second Amendment rights, he must “follow the precedent of the Supreme Court as written.” Kavanaugh was responding to Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s question on gun control and gun violence in schools.


Her question is dependent on the claim that there have been “hundreds” of school shootings in “recent history” using “assault weapons.”

While there is no singular definition of what an “assault weapon” is, most definitions, and the one Feinstein and Kavanaugh seem to be using in that context, are rifles or other firearms that are semi-automatic with detachable large capacity magazines.

Fact check: False. 

According to the Washington Post, there has been a total of 188 school shootings since 2000 including at elementary, middle school, high school and colleges and universities (They used data from wikipedia). While it was difficult to find data on which type of firearm(s) was used, data compiled by Newsweek suggests that assault weapons represent a small fraction of firearms used in school shootings (3 out of 24 shootings they looked at for 2018). Most gun crimes involve the use of handguns. Looking at the data for the past 18 years more than covers “recent history” under almost all definitions of the phrase.


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