With this week’s release of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR) for 2019, the gun prohibition lobby is once again faced with an uncomfortable truth: Their crusade to ban so-called “assault rifles” doesn’t pass the smell test.
Continuing a pattern that dates back decades, the number of homicides involving rifles of any kind amounts to a fraction of all the murders in any given year. By far, handguns are used in more slayings in any given year.
In 2019, according to the UCR, there were an estimated 13,927 homicides, of which 10,258 involved firearms. But the report only positively linked 364 of those slayings to rifles, and there has never been a breakdown on the types of rifles, whether they were all semi-auto, or bolt-action, lever-action, pump-action or single-shot models.
Granted, the FBI report says 3,326 murder cases involving firearms did not specify the type of gun used, but if that number breaks down along the same pattern as the specified data, the number would not rise significantly.
In 2018, only 297 of the reported 10,265 homicides involving guns were listed specifically as involving rifles of any kind. That year, the UCR noted 3,130 crime guns were not identified. Going farther back, there were 403 cases in 2017 linked to rifles, and only 374 cases in 2016 known to involve rifles.
Second Amendment activists have known this, and question the logic of the gun prohibition movement for demanding a ban on so-called “assault rifles.”
Why, they wonder, is there such urgency to take certain rifles from law-abiding citizens when those guns are used in such a small number of murders in any given year? What’s the point?
Last year, according to the FBI data, knives and other cutting instruments were used in 1,476 slayings, slightly more than four times the number of rifles used to kill people. Blunt objects such as hammers, crowbars, golf clubs, bricks, lamps and baseball bats were used in 397 murders. Also last year, people murdered 597 individuals with just their hands, feet and/or fists.
But we never hear reporters or news anchors mention “knife violence” or “golf club violence” or “fist violence,” activists complain. There are daily references, however, to “gun violence,” as though it were the gun’s fault when someone is fatally shot.
As noted by Ammoland, the FBI notes in its news release, “Last year, according to the FBI UCR, “Of the 18,667 federal, state, county, city, university and college, and tribal agencies eligible to participate in the UCR Program, 16,554 agencies submitted data in 2019. Translation: While the FBI data may not be complete, it does paint an improving picture in a country where this year saw at least 5 million new gun owners due to the coronavirus outbreak and long-running civil disturbances.”
There seems little doubt that murders will be up this year. Chicago and Seattle, for example, have already surpassed last year’s body counts in both cities. But that data will not be available until September 2021.
However, activists can expect renewed efforts to ban “assault rifles” regardless of the evidence such a ban—even if it is ruled constitutional, which does not seem likely—will amount to much.
But that, according to Second Amendment advocates, essentially sums up the entire gun prohibition movement.