On a sunny Tuesday morning, Patrick Purdy, 24, sets his station wagon on fire, then walks onto the playground at Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, Calif., and opens fire with a Type 56 Assault Rifle (a Chinese copy of the AK-47), killing five children before taking his own life. Legislative reaction: It took nearly five years, but the shooting led to the first major federal legislation on military-style assault weapons. The Federal Assault Weapons Ban was enacted in 1994 and expired in 2004. Also, in 1989, President George H.W. Bush signed an executive order banning the import of semi-automatic assault weapons.
Oct. 16, 1991 - Killeen, Texas
Dead: 24, including the shooter
George Hennard, 35, drives a pickup truck through the wall of a Luby's cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, fatally shoots 23 people and wounds more than 20 others before killing himself. According to eyewitness accounts, Hennard methodically chose his victims, most of whom were women, before he was wounded by police and shot himself.
Legislative reaction: No direct legislative reaction. However Reagan publicly pressured President George H. W. Bush, who had been his vice president, to get behind gun legislation that would impose a five-day waiting period on the purchase of a handgun. Known as the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, the legislation also required local law enforcement to conduct background checks. Reagan's support came at the behest of his wife, former first lady Nancy Reagan. The bill was named for Reagan's press secretary, James Brady, who was left paralyzed and with brain damage as a result of the 1981 assassination attempt on the president. A 1997 Supreme Court case later determined the background checks in the Brady Bill to be unconstitutional.
April 20, 1999 - Littleton, Colo.
Dead: 15, including the two shooters
High school seniors Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold use an Intratec TEC-DC-9, 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, two 12-gauge sawed-off shotguns and a Hi-Point 9-mm carbine rifle to kill 13 people and wound 23 others at Columbine High School before taking their own lives.
Legislative reaction: Legislation at both the state and federal levels was enacted following the Columbine massacre. At the federal level, the U.S. Senate passed a bill requiring background checks for firearms sold during gun shows. The bill passed by one vote, with then-Vice President Al Gore breaking the 50-50 tie in the Senate. At the state level, Colorado Gov. Bill Owens reauthorized the state's "InstaCheck" program that required background checks with firearm purchases. Another state bill, that would have allowed local officials to enforce a federal law that banned gun dealers from selling firearms to anyone under 20 years old, failed in the Colorado House.
April 16, 2007 - Blacksburg, Va.
Dead: 33, including the shooter On the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va., 23-year-old student Seung-Hui Cho goes on a shooting rampage, killing 32 people in two locations and wounding an undetermined number of others. Cho later killed himself. Cho had been declared mentally ill and "an imminent danger" to himself by a Virginia special justice, and the shooting sparked a discussion of gun control and mental illness.
Legislative reaction: President George W. Bush signed legislation in 2007 to enhance compliance with reporting requirements after the shooting to keep mentally ill people from accessing firearms.
March 10, 2009 - Kinston, Ala.
Dead: 11, including the shooter Michael McLendon, 28, sets out on a rampage through three Alabama towns, killing 10 people before turning his weapon on himself. It was the deadliest crime in Alabama state history. Police said they believed McLendon used at least 200 rounds to kill his victims, using an SKS rifle, an AR-15 made by Bushmaster, a 12-gauge shotgun and a .38-caliber handgun.
Legislative reaction: No legislative reaction could be found.
Aug. 3, 2009 - Binghamton, N.Y.
Dead: 14, including the shooter Jiverly Antares Wong walks into an American Civic Association immigrant center, where he guns down 14 people and wounds four. Wong, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from South Vietnam, used two types of semi-automatic pistols to take his victims' lives. Wong then turned the gun on himself.
Legislative reaction: No legislative reaction could be found.
Nov. 5, 2009 - Fort Hood, Texas
Wounded: 32 Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, 39, allegedly opens fire at a military processing center at Fort Hood, killing 13 and wounding 32 others. Hasan was paralyzed from the waist down after police officers exchanged fire with him. Hasan allegedly used a FN 5.7 mm pistol, a semi-automatic gun and a revolver to target his victims. Hasan is a Muslim who had told his family he had been taunted after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Investigations tied to the Fort Hood shootings found he had been communicating via email with Anwar al-Awlaki, the prominent and radical Yemeni-American cleric killed by a U.S. drone attack in 2011.
Legislative reaction: None directly to the Fort Hood shootings. Following the Fort Hood shooting, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence released a statement highlighting legislation already in the works that some interpreted as making it illegal for commanding officers to inquire about their troops' personal weapons. Former Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli told Stars and Stripes he opposed the legislation on the grounds that it could make it difficult for commanding officers to communicate with troops who might be mentally unstable, particularly in the face of high military suicide rates. Legislators are looking to amend the language in 2013.
Jan. 8, 2011 - Tucson, Ariz.
Dead: 6 Jared Lee Loughner, 22, opens fire during a "Congress on your Corner" event held outside a supermarket in Tucson. Loughner was armed with a 9 mm Glock 19 semi-automatic pistol with a 33-round magazine. Loughner was wrestled to the ground after he tried to change to a second magazine, which didn't work. By the time Loughner was subdued, 20 people had been shot, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head. Six of the victims died.