Here’s an “inconvenient truth” that today’s crop of gun-banners wishes you’d ignore…
If you listen to the current crop of Presidential candidates, it would be very easy to assume that America is currently drowning in the blood shed by AR-15s; after all, each one of them has made banning the sale of black rifles a central plank in their platforms…with some even going so far as to call for confiscation for ARs already in circulation (lookin’ at you, Beta O’ Dork). However, every party needs a pooper and that’s why we invited the FBI, which has recently come out with their 2018 crime report. It contains something interesting that every last one of the aforementioned Presidential hopefuls would very much like for you to ignore:
Violent crime is down. Homicide rates are down. Murders committed with firearms are down. And, finally, the number of murders committed with any kind of rifle–AR-15 or Granddad’s old Winchester .30-30–aren’t just down, they’re vanishingly small.
Let’s take a moment to review the figures, straight from the Fibbies (the link is here if you’re having trouble reading the numbers in this screenshot):
See that? In 2018, there were 297 homicides committed with rifles of any kind…what kind of rifle isn’t specified. But, just for the sake of argument, let’s pretend that every one of those 297 homicides was committed with a scary-looking black rifle with a shoulder thing that goes up and a double-barreled magazine extended clip. And we’ll pretend that every one of those homicides was a murder…and oh, yes, there’s a difference.
“Homicide” simply means killing a person deliberately. Not all homicides are murders; after all, the legal term for killing someone in self-defense is “justifiable homicide.” Officer-involved shootings also qualify as homicides. And although rifles in general are usually considered less-than-ideal for home defense due to overpenetration worries, they absolutely do get used for self-defense. For example, in this recent article, there are three Bad Guys who were justifiably killed by homeowners with rifles. Had those events taken place in 2018, all three of those justifiable homicides would have appeared on that chart, and the number would have been 300 instead of 297.
So, here we are being generous and pretending that all 297 homicides committed with rifles were actually AR-15 rifles, and none of the shootings were justified. That still means that only 62 more people died from an AR-15 bullet than from a hail of buckshot, given that 235 people were killed with shotguns. It also means that the average American is twice as likely to be murdered with someone else’s bare hands than they are with an AR-15 (again, if you can’t see the chart, 672 people were punched or kicked to death in 2018). The average American is also five times more likely to be cut or stabbed to death than they are to die from a rifle shot.
Of course, this is nothing new. Crime rates in the United States spiked in the mid-1990s and have been in a general (and quite sharp) decline since then. Although there’s been–and will continue to be–endless debate about why this happy trend is taking place, the fact that it is happening is not a secret. However, even back in the 1990s, when President Clinton’s Assault Weapons Ban was instituted, crimes committed with rifles of any kind were quite rare. They stayed rare throughout the length of the ban, and kept on being rare after it sunsetted in 2005.
So, if all of this is public knowledge and has been for quite some time, why all of the focus on modern sporting rifles? Sadly for Second Amendment supporters, the gun-grabbers have done a pretty good job of conflating the civilian-legal, semi-automatic black rifle with full-auto machine guns in the minds of the uninformed public. The reason they’ve done that is because they see AR-15s as being the low-hanging fruit of gun control; they know perfectly well that AR-15s and their law-abiding owners aren’t the problem. What they want is to have that precedent of banning a particular class of firearm, so that when they come back for the rest of the guns they want to ban–which, just so you know, is all of them–the public will have already accepted this as a thing they must tolerate.
It isn’t, and we won’t. Molon Labe, anti-gunners.