U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Armed private citizens fatally shot 334 people last year, continuing a gradual upward trend in the United States while the number of justifiable homicides by police declined, and murders also dropped, including those involving firearms, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report (UCR) for 2019.
The report was released Monday but was overshadowed by presidential politics, including the release of President Donald Trump’s tax history.
Remarkably, the 334 criminal suspects killed by private citizens equals the number killed by police, the FBI report said. While police reportedly committed 340 justifiable homicides in 2019, private citizens killed 386 suspected felons during the commission of a felony, the FBI said.
The annual FBI UCR traditionally is released on the last Monday in September, showing data for the previous full year. There are plenty of details in the report, including state-by-state homicide breakdowns, types of weapons used, comparisons with previous years and reports from individual cities.
“In 2019,” the FBI said in a news release, “violent crime was down 0.5% from the 2018 number. Property crimes also dropped 4.1%, marking the 17th consecutive year the collective estimates for these offenses declined.”
Interestingly, while homicides declined last year, gun ownership continued to rise. The 2019 UCR tends to refute the long-running argument that more guns will result in more violent crime; an argument that has been repeated over the years in an attempt to justify more gun control demands.
Data for this year will not be available until September 2021, and it will be scrutinized with an eye on how this year’s COVID-19 pandemic shutdown affected murder and assault cases.
Once again, data shows a fraction of all homicides were committed with rifles of any kind, or shotguns. According to the FBI, last year saw an estimated total of 13,927 murders, of which 10,258 involved firearms. But of all those slayings, rifles of any kind (including semi-autos, lever- and bolt-actions, and single-shots) were identified as the murder weapon in only 364 cases. Shotguns were identified as the weapon of choice in 200 other cases.
This compares favorably by a slight margin with the 10,445 gun-related slayings in 2018, a year in which the total number of homicides was 14,446, according to this year’s data. That year, 305 people were killed with rifles of any kind, while shotguns accounted for 237 more.
The news isn’t good for the gun prohibition lobby, because once again far more people were murdered with knives or “blunt instruments” than were killed with rifles, including so-called “semiautomatic assault rifles.” In 2019, the FBI UCR data shows 1,476 people were stabbed or slashed to death and blunt instruments accounted for another 397 lives.
Indeed, more people were stomped, beaten or choked to death last year (597) than were killed with rifles or shotguns.
As in the past, a number of gun-related murders did not specifically identify the weapon. In 2019, there were at least 3,281 slayings committed with firearms “not identified,’ the FBI data shows. In 2018, that number was 3,056.
Handguns still are the favored firearm for personal defense, according to the new FBI UCR data. In 2019, armed citizens stopped 237 criminals with handguns, 16 more with rifles and 8 with shotguns.
Likewise, police officers used handguns 248 times to stop criminals, 32 more shootings were done with rifles and only 2 felony suspects were killed with shotguns.
Historically, the number of murders has gone up and down. For example, in 2016, FBI data shows there were 15,355 total slayings. This translates to a decline of 1,428 homicides over the short span of three years.
California reported the most murders (1,679) with Texas reporting 1,379 killings.
Golden State killers used firearms in 1,142 of last year’s slayings with the overwhelming choice of handguns (762) to stop confrontations. Down in Texas, 1,064 people fell to handguns, another 72 to rifles and 21 to shotguns.
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.
Gun rights activists now have fresh data from a reliable source to use against the gun prohibition lobby. This information could come in handy during 2021 legislative sessions when lawmakers consider a new wave of gun control legislation.
About Dave Workman