U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- As it has done consistently for several years, the FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2020 once again undercuts the campaign by gun prohibitionists to ban so-called “assault rifles.”
FBI data showing rifles of any kind are the “weapon of choice” in a fraction of homicides simply do not support the anti-gun effort.
In any given year, rifles—including semiautomatic modern sporting rifles demonized as “weapons of war” by the gun control crowd—are involved in 2 to 4 percent of all murders. Last year, according to the FBI data, rifles were used for sure in only 454 of the 13,620 gun-related murders listed in the annual crime report.
The FBI acknowledges in its crime report for last year that its estimates “are based on data received from 15,875 of 18,623 law enforcement agencies in the country.” It is admittedly not complete, but it is telling.
Yet, the gun prohibition lobby and its allies on Capitol Hill and in the White House still want to ban an entire class of firearms as a strategy to reduce so-called “gun violence,” a term invented by anti-gunners to demonize firearms by deflecting blame away from the actual perpetrators.
At some point, the Second Amendment community just might call this “fraud,” and they would have data from a clearly impartial source to back up such an assertion.
As illustrated by FBI’s “Expanded Homicide Data Table 8,” (below) far more people are murdered annually with knives or cutting instruments than are killed with (not “by”) rifles by nearly a 400 percent margin. Last year, 1,732 victims were murdered by stabbing or slashing.
Yet, nobody in the media calls this “knife violence.” There are no demands to ban knives or machetes, and nobody is even promoting background checks for what apparently is one of the most lethal products on retail shelves. Anybody can buy a knife. Ammoland checked briefly with the Seattle Police Blotter and with minimal searching found four recent incidents in which people were stabbed or threatened by someone with a “cutting instrument.” In one incident, a man wielding an axe swung it at a car, then tried to enter two different homes in the same neighborhood.
Back in 2019, again according to FBI data, rifles were identified as the murder weapon in only 375 of that year’s 10,537 criminal homicides. In 2018, rifles were involved in 304 of the 10,484 slayings posted that year.
The numbers apply to rifles of any kind, not just semi-auto models. The FBI crime report does not get into that much detail, but the numbers clearly do not support the hysteria generated by gun prohibitionists to lobby for a complete ban.
Amy Hunter, spokesperson for the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, summed up the antis’ reason for targeting the most popular rifle in the U.S. today: Cosmetics.
“AR-style firearms are widely misunderstood by the media, anti-gun proponents and people who simply aren’t educated about firearms,” Hunter told Ammoland via email. “These guns are excellent tools for self-defense—and that’s why millions of Americans own them. They are lightweight, versatile and ergonomic. They’re excellent for use in competitions and sport.
“What’s more,” she continued, “these firearms are used in less than 2 percent of crimes committed with firearms.”
“Unfortunately,” Hunter observed, “the mainstream media ignores these facts and focuses instead on cosmetic features that do not impact the function of the firearm, but make it look ‘scary’ to folks who aren’t familiar with them.
“Anti-gun politicians often introduce bans on these types of firearms even though they know a ban…would have no impact on crime,” she said.
Long story short, it’s not about the internal workings of a semi-auto rifle—they function essentially the same as a classic Browning Auto 5 shotgun generations of hunters have used for waterfowl and upland game—it’s because the modern sporting rifle looks like something it really isn’t, and the gun control lobby uses that to confuse people.
When Joe Biden was on the campaign trail in 2020, he certainly had access to the FBI data, yet in his “plan to end our gun violence epidemic,” the Delaware Democrat included this on his wish list:
- Ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Federal law prevents hunters from hunting migratory game birds with more than three shells in their shotgun. That means our federal law does more to protect ducks than children. It’s wrong. Joe Biden will enact legislation to once again ban assault weapons. This time, the bans will be designed based on lessons learned from the 1994 bans. For example, the ban on assault weapons will be designed to prevent manufacturers from circumventing the law by making minor changes that don’t limit the weapon’s lethality. While working to pass this legislation, Biden will also use his executive authority to ban the importation of assault weapons.
- Regulate possession of existing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act. Currently, the National Firearms Act requires individuals possessing machine-guns, silencers, and short-barreled rifles to undergo a background check and register those weapons with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Due to these requirements, such weapons are rarely used in crimes. As president, Biden will pursue legislation to regulate the possession of existing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act.*
- Buy back the assault weapons and high-capacity magazines already in our communities. Biden will also institute a program to buy back weapons of war currently on our streets. This will give individuals who now possess assault weapons or high-capacity magazines two options: sell the weapons to the government, or register them under the National Firearms Act.
- Reduce stockpiling of weapons. In order to reduce the stockpiling of firearms, Biden supports legislation restricting the number of firearms an individual may purchase per month to one.
*As revealed by Biden in his now-infamously candid remark during the CNN Townhall program in July, not only does he still want to ban semi-auto rifles, he would also like to halt the sale of 9mm pistols. The sharp-eared folks at the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms picked up on that and slammed Biden in a scathing advertisement for acknowledging essentially what the gun rights community has known for a long time.
At the time, CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb was blunt: “This was no Biden gaffe, for which he is famous. It was an admission, whether unintentional or completely candid, that his hope is to ban 9mm handguns owned and used by tens of millions of Americans, including thousands of police officers.”
While gun prohibition advocates will likely keep pressing for a ban on semi-auto rifles, the data is not in their corner. If crime patterns continue as they have been, the data never will be on their side.
About Dave Workman