The FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2018 shows a slight decline in the number of homicides committed with firearms and a drop in murders overall, suggesting that a push for more restrictive gun control laws may not be necessary.
As noted by the FBI in a Monday news release, “For the second consecutive year, the estimated number of violent crimes in the nation decreased when compared with the previous year’s statistics, according to FBI figures released today. In 2018, violent crime was down 3.3 percent from the 2017 number. Property crimes also dropped 6.3 percent, marking the 16th consecutive year the collective estimates for these offenses declined.”
According to FBI data, last year there were 14,123 reported murders in the United States, down from, the 15,129 reported in 2017. In 2018, an estimated 10,256 slayings involved firearms, down slightly from the 10,982 posted by the FBI in its crime report for that year.
Last year, the FBI report says, an estimated 6,603 of those killings involved handguns while 297 were committed with rifles and 235 involved shotguns. There were 3,130 involving firearms not specifically identified.
In 2017, handguns were known to have been used in 7,032 murders while 403 involved rifles and another 264 were known to have been committed with shotguns. Another 3,283 involved unidentified or unknown firearms, the FBI report for that year says.
In Washington State, which has become a hotbed of gun control politics, Democrat Sen. Kamala Harris was in Seattle recently to pitch for more gun restrictions, including a ban on so-called “assault weapons.”
However, thanks to the FBI’s update on crime, last year only two homicides were known to have been committed in the state with rifles of any kind, a fraction of the 138 killings involving firearms. There were 76 slayings involving handguns, up one from the 75 involving handguns the previous year, when 134 gun-related murders were logged in the state. And this was four years after passage of Initiative 594, requiring so-called “universal background checks” that were supposed to reduce homicides.
Yet, between the end of August 2017 and the end of August 2018, the state added more than 5,100 concealed pistol licenses. Far more impressive is the rise in CPLs from August last year to this year, more than 34,200. A month-end report on CPLs in the Evergreen State will be available Tuesday from the Department of Licensing.
If gun control proponents stuck to the data, it might be a hard sell pushing more gun control in the Evergreen State, and it might throw water on repeated claims of a “gun violence epidemic.”
Nationally, the FBI data shows continuation of a trend in the number of slayings involving knives and other cutting instruments. In 2018, the report shows 1,515 murders with knives or other cutting instruments, far more than the number of killings involving rifles and shotguns combined. In 2017, it was the same story, with 1,591 murders committed with knives and sharp instruments, again more than three times the number of homicides committed with rifles and shotguns combined.
Even if one adds the number of killings with unidentified firearms in both years on the ratio compared to handguns, fatal stabbings and slashings still far outnumber murders involving rifles and shotguns.